In an email to members of the media, Arnett discussed his father's health issues and the financial issues his family is having.
"I want to play football but I NEED to be here for my Dad and with my family," Arnett said in the email.
Arnett also said in the email that he is seeking a release to all schools in the state of Michigan. He said Tennessee will release him to a Mid-American Conference school in Michigan, but won't grant him an unconditional release to Michigan or Michigan State. If he wants to attend either school, Arnett said he'd have to pay his own way.
Arnett said in the email that he wasn't sure if his family would be able to pay to play at one of the Big Ten teams. He added in the email that he thought Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was hindering him by "not allowing me to compete at a bcs level!"
A Tennessee spokesman told ESPN's Joe Schad that Arnett isn't being denied the opportunity to be released to play at the FBS level, but that the school has a policy of not releasing players to schools Tennessee plays or recruits against.
Neither Michigan nor Michigan State are on Tennessee's current or future schedule, but there is no doubt that Tennessee crosses paths with both on the recruiting trail.
Since Arnett's release paperwork hasn't been processed yet, there could still be time for a change of heart on both sides. The tough deal for Arnett is that this is the school's policy and it's probably something players are told before they arrive on campus. It's unclear if Arnett knew about the policy, but if he was, he has to realize that options could be limited.
Whether Tennessee's policy is right or wrong is up for debate, but those are the rules that are set there. Still, extreme circumstances can sometimes create exceptions to those rules.
Losing Arnett would be a blow to Tennessee's passing game. His 24 receptions this season tied for the second-most by a freshman in school history and he was fifth on the team with 242 receiving yards and had two touchdowns.