Vols trying to keep Brown from missing games

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Tennessee is trying to make one final plea on behalf of freshman running back Bryce Brown with the hope of keeping him from missing any games this season.

The NCAA has been investigating his amateur status dating back to his high school days in Wichita, Kan., and Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday that the NCAA has handed down its initial ruling.

Tennessee isn't saying for sure what that ruling is, but it sounds like Brown could be suspended for a game or two and have to make restitution for any funds or extra benefits he might have received back in high school as part of his relationship with his adviser, Brian Butler.

Tennessee officials have gone out of their way to clarify that the Vols aren't under investigation. This issue deals with Brown's amateur status and goes back to before Tennessee was even recruiting him.

The whole thing has weighed heavily on Brown and angered Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who feels that Brown is being singled out.

Freshmen have enough distractions just trying to acclimate themselves to practice and college life their first year. But when you start having to answer questions from the NCAA during the middle of camp, it really gets hairy.

Nothing is final in this matter, and Tennessee is still trying to present enough facts and other information to the NCAA that would keep Brown from having to miss any games.

A final verdict should come in the next couple of weeks. The Vols open the season Sept. 5 against Western Kentucky.