Vanderbilt dismisses four from team
Vanderbilt has identified the four players dismissed from the team for an incident last month that is being investigated by police as a possible sex crime.
Coach James Franklin released a statement Monday saying defensive back Brandon Banks, safety Cory Batey, receiver Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and tight end Brandon Vandenburg are no longer on the roster after violating team rules.
Vanderbilt dismissed the players June 29 and kicked them off campus for an incident being investigated by the Metro Nashville Police Department’s sex crimes unit, but university officials had not identified them.
Vanderbilt will be releasing its 2013 media guide at SEC Media Days in Alabama this week. The players will be listed in the media guide, but have been removed from the team’s official roster online, the school said.
Franklin had not commented on the incident or the dismissals until Monday when he said playing at Vanderbilt is a privilege and not a right, something he and his coaches try to make sure every player understands.
"We insist on high standards of personal responsibility and integrity, and there are consequences when those standards are not met," Franklin said.
"In dealing with this matter, the Commodores football team will continue to hold itself to the same high standards of responsibility and integrity Vanderbilt demands of all of our students.
The sex crimes unit of the Nashville Police Department opened an investigation June 26 after being notified by campus police about "a matter that is alleged to have occurred at a Vanderbilt University dormitory" June 23. Evidence was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab for testing.
None of the four played a snap for Vanderbilt last season. Batey, a Nashville, Tenn., native, came in last season as a receiver and redshirted behind Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd before switching to safety this spring. His attorney Worrick Robinson declined to comment because of the pending investigation.
Banks, from Brandywine, Md., also redshirted as a freshman last season. Attorney Grover Collins said Banks is innocent of any and all wrongdoing.
"We are fully cooperating with the police in this investigation and have appealed the decision by the university," Collins told The Associated Press.
McKenzie, from Natchez, Miss., redshirted in 2012, but the 5-foot-8 receiver had four catches for 83 yards in the Commodores’ spring game — the most yards receiving in the game. His attorney, Jodie Bell, did not immediately return a message by the AP. The 6-foot-5 Vandenburg from Indio, Calif., was considered one of the top junior college tight ends nationally coming out of Xavier College Prep, and he became the first junior college transfer at Vanderbilt since Jordan Rodgers in 2010.
The Commodores went 9-4 and won the Music City for their best season since 1915.
Vanderbilt opens the season Aug. 29 hosting Mississippi.