Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch has been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits from an agent. The Volunteers plan to appeal the ruling, according to the Volunteers' official Twitter feed:
The ruling stems from a Yahoo! Sports story that implicated five college football players for accepting improper benefits from agents, but Couch figured to be in worse trouble for his involvement because he was the only one of the five who still had remaining NCAA eligibility when the story broke in September.
The story alleged that Couch accepted $1,350, a violation of NCAA rules if provided by an agent or an agent's representative. Tennessee, in the days following the Yahoo! report, declared Couch ineligible while the alleged violations could be investigated. Though the school plans to appeal, Couch issued a tweet in which he seemed resigned to the outcome being the end of his college career.
Couch last played in UT's win over Western Kentucky and was pulled from the team before the Volunteers' road loss at Oregon. Couch (6-2, 305 pounds) is a fifth-year senior from Orlando. He made 79 tackles in 26 career games for the Vols.