Tennessee running back Bryce Brown asked coach Derek Dooley for a release from his scholarship specifically to transfer to Kansas State, Arthur Brown, Bryce's father, said Friday.
But Vols coach Derek Dooley said Friday that he will not release Brown from his scholarship.
"I have a lot of respect for Bryce as a person and a player," Dooley said. "This is a professional decision, not a personal one."
Dooley said he makes decisions on who to release based on three criteria: what was the player's personal investment into the program; what harm the player's departure would cause the program; and how the player handled the situation as a person.
"I have an obligation to protect the program," said Dooley, who has released some players and declined to release others since taking over the Vols. "Bryce can still go to Kansas State but I'm not releasing him."
Arthur Brown acknowleged his son asked Dooley via a text message sent on Tuesday night, after Bryce returned from Knoxville to Wichita, Kan. Arthur Brown said he was disappointed his son did not meet with Dooley this Monday or Tuesday, as he had instructed.
But Arthur Brown said reports that Bryce has not met with Dooley recently are inaccurate.
"Bryce met with Coach Dooley on Saturday for about 30 minutes and Dooley asked him not to tell anyone they talked," Arthur Brown said. "I'm really not sure why."
Dooley acknowleged he met with Brown on Saturday but said he was not asked for a release.
Arthur Brown also said his son, one of the nation's top recruits entering last season, did not ask Dooley for a release at that meeting. This week Dooley said that the reason Bryce has not been released is because he "has not come to me, looked me in the eye and said, 'I want a release.'"
Arthur Brown said that's because he has repeatedly told Dooley since April that he has wanted his son released from his scholarship.
"I've tried to cooperate with Coach Dooley's request not to divulge information in the media," Arthur Brown said. "But I have told Coach Dooley since April, every time we've talked, that we want Bryce taken out of Tennessee. This is our family decision."
Bryce Brown has been criticized for not meeting with Dooley again before leaving Knoxville. Arthur Brown said he purchased an airline ticket for Bryce to return to Knoxville this Thursday but that Dooley texted, "No need to come back out here."
Dooley said that was accurate.
Arthur Brown said that when Bryce texted Dooley to ask for a release, Dooley replied "something like, 'I don't know.'"
Arthur Brown said that he has asked the NCAA for help.
"We can request an appeal and a hearing," he said before the release was denied. "They have to give us a letter rejecting our request for release.
"All we want is a release," he added. "I can't imagine any reason why they shouldn't. I once asked Coach [Lane] Kiffin [who signed Brown], 'If Bryce decided he wanted to leave, would you release him?' And he said, 'Yes, I'd do that.'"
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.