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UT declines to release documents on Mo Couch, Tyler Bray case in response to public records request

Evan Woodbery, Knoxville News-Sentinel • Updated Nov 28, 2013 at 1:07 AM

(MCT) – Tennessee declined this week to provide any documents shedding light on possible NCAA infractions committed by former football players Maurice Couch or Tyler Bray.

UT released 28 pages of documents on Tuesday in response to a broad public records request by the News Sentinel seeking the university’s correspondence with the SEC or NCAA.

None of the documents included information related to Couch or Bray.

UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Wednesday that all documents were released except “those protected by FERPA.” FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law designed to protect student privacy.

Tennessee announced on Nov. 1 that Couch had been declared permanently ineligible after being implicated in a report by Yahoo Sports that alleged several SEC football players had accepted impermissible cash benefits from a man acting as a liaison to NFL agents.

The decision, which UT said it would appeal, effectively ended Couch’s career with the Vols.

Couch, a senior defensive tackle, was the only active player named in the report. The story also alleged Bray, a UT quarterback who left after the 2012 season, accepted cash benefits from the same individual, former Alabama player Luther Davis.

Bray, now a reserve quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, has not publicly addressed the allegations. Couch has politely declined requests for interviews but has commented on the allegations through Twitter. "I apologize to the Volnation for what I did, but I'm a father first!" he wrote on Oct. 26.

The News Sentinel made a broad request for NCAA-related documents from UT on Nov. 1. Tennessee’s public records law typically requires a response in seven business days.

UT responded on Nov. 15 that it would need more time to prepare the documents. They were released to the News Sentinel on Tuesday afternoon. Summaries of UT’s self-reported secondary violations were posted on UT’s compliance website later that evening.

Several of the secondary violations in the batch of documents released to the News Sentinel include references to current or prospective student-athletes. Those names are blacked out, or redacted.

UT did not say why some documents were determined to be protected under FERPA and others that included references to student-athletes were released.

Of the eight new secondary violations released this week, only one was related to football. In August, a recruit received a mailing with a label that caused the letter to exceed the maximum number of logos allowed in recruiting correspondence.

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