Banks Gets 3-Game Suspension

James Banks' most recent misadventure cost him his spot on the UT football roster ... but for three games, not the entire season.

Banks, who already had been on suspension since March, had the suspension extended through the first three games of the 2004 season — Nevada-Las Vegas, Florida and Louisiana Tech.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer made the announcement at 2:19 p.m. on Tuesday. The disciplinary action is a response to Banks' latest misadventure. The junior receiver was cited by Knoxville police last Friday morning for underage consumption of alcohol and a violation of the city's noise ordinance outside a campus-area convenience store.

Banks can be reinstated to the team in time for Game 4 (Oct. 2 vs. Auburn) if he fulfills certain conditions imposed by Fulmer. These include completion of an alcohol counseling program and 25 hours of alcohol-related community service.

Fulmer's complete statement, released by the UT sports information office, follows:

''Our goal as a coaching staff is to serve as an extended parent away from home for our players, and help our young men grow in a positive fashion through their college experiences.

''Sometimes there are maturity factors and other issues that interrupt this progress, and we try to work with them to help them through these issues when we can. We have many success stories we all are proud of as coaches, but players have to want to help themselves and sometimes they can't or won't be helped.

''I don't believe James Banks is a bad person, but obviously he is immature and there are some issues that he needs to address if he truly wants to be a part of our program.

''He has a wonderful and loving mother and father and excellent family support. In the last two months, he made excellent strides in fulfilling requirements set by me to get off the indefinite suspension he was on. However, now we have another issue that has embarrassed this team and the university.

''After much discussion with university administration, coaches and leaders on the team, I will extend the suspension through the first three games and see how he does. He will practice, run, lift, go to class, and study, but not play in the games. Among the conditions for his reinstatement to the team, James will be required to complete 25 hours of alcohol-related community service work and participate in extensive alcohol counseling sessions with a professional.

''We have always tried to help our young players succeed both on the field, in the classroom and in life after college. My hope is that James will succeed on and off the field; however, we will work our plans without him until he shows he understands what it means to be a member of our team.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories