Trial set for Ayers, Mayo

And now for today's installment of "As the Docket Turns" ...

Tennessee football players Robert Ayers and Jerod Mayo have been given an Aug. 1 trial date for their alleged participation in a March altercation at the University Center.

Both are redshirt freshmen. Both face aggravated assault charges related to a fight that erupted during a fraternity party.

Ayers, a 6-3, 251-pound defensive end, has admitted he struck a student during the melee. He is currently suspended from the Vol program.

Mayo, a 6-2, 222-pound linebacker, claims he was misidentified and did not participate in the brawl. He has not been suspended. Head coach Phillip Fulmer is on record saying he believes Mayo was a victim of ''mistaken identity.''

Two UT football players already went to court this summer. Receiver Bret Smith and former quarterback Brent Schaeffer appeared June 9 on misdemeanor assault charges, stemming from an April incident at a school dormitory. The charges were reduced to ''offensive touching assault'' and the players were released after agreeing to pay court costs, pay the victim's medical expenses and accept judicial diversion (stay out of trouble) for six months.

Another Vol, defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, gets his day in court Aug. 16 on charges of aggravated assault related to a fight that occurred during a pickup basketball game on campus last winter.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer laid down the law (no pun intended) following the arrest of Ayers and Mayo. There have been no serious incidents reported involving UT football players since that time.

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