Tennessee defensive lineman Mo Couch now has two reasons why he's unavailable to play against Oregon on Saturday.
UT coach Butch Jones told a radio program that Couch has been declared ineligible by the school and will not make the trip with the Volunteers to face the No.2-ranked Ducks, according to al.com. The decision comes in the wake of a scandalous story from Yahoo! Sports detailing five college football players, including Couch, who allegedly received money from a former Alabama player who was acting as a "concierge" on behalf of multiple agents.
NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from accepting money or things of value from agents while they are still eligible.
"We have declared him ineligible for this game," Jones said on Nashville's 104.5 FM The Zone. "Our compliance office is looking into the logistics of the situation."
Just hours after the story broke, Jones indicated Couch would be unavailable to play at Oregon due to heat exhaustion, a curious coincidence that drew plenty of sarcasm on social media. Couch is the only player among the five named in the report who is still in college. That makes the report potentially a bigger NCAA issue for Tennessee than other schools involved. Other players named were offensive lineman D.J. Fluker (Alabama), quarterback Tyler Bray (Tennessee), and Fletcher Cox and Chad Bumphis, who both played for Mississippi State.
"It's not a distraction," he said. "I'm focused, it's not on my mind. I came to practice, and whatever happens happens."
Couch has seen significant playing time in Tennessee's first two wins over Austin-Peay and Western Kentucky, making two tackles for loss and a sack among four stops. If Couch misses an extended number of games, the timing for the Volunteers will be most unfavorable. UT faces Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama in four of the next six weeks.