HOOVER, Ala. -- Vanderbilt made the only call it could make, not to mention the right call in releasing the names of the four players dismissed from the team last month amid a sex-crimes investigation into an alleged incident at a campus dormitory.
With SEC media days set to begin later Tuesday, it would have been terribly unfair to put the three players who will be representing the Commodores at the annual preseason event in a position where they would be peppered with questions about the identities of their former teammates.
What’s more, no charges have been filed, and the investigation remains open. So it’s not something that Vanderbilt coach James Franklin can talk about, either.
But at least this way, there won’t be any speculation about which players were dismissed from the team and barred from campus. According to a release Monday from the university, they were redshirt freshmen Brandon Banks, Cory Batey and Tip McKenzie and junior college newcomer Brandon Vandenburg.
None of the four has ever played a down for the Commodores, but that doesn’t make this whole ordeal any less painful for Franklin and the entire Vanderbilt community.
The gains Vanderbilt has made on the field under Franklin have been immense, but making this kind of news off the field is a blow to any program.
You can read Franklin’s statement in full here.
Just because Vanderbilt has released the names of the players dismissed doesn’t mean Franklin will avoid any tough questioning on the matter when the Commodores take their turn Thursday at the SEC media days.
That’s just part of the deal, and I’d say Franklin is more than ready to defend his program.
The tricky part, though, is that there’s only so much he can say at this point.
But I also know the way Franklin rolls. He’s an in-your-face, bite-back kind of guy. He doesn’t back down, which has been a trademark of his first two teams at Vanderbilt.
In other words, Thursday could be interesting.