If Passley is convicted on the misdemeanor charge only, he probably will be allowed to rejoin the basketball team. The redshirt sophomore transferred to UT from Wisconsin-Milwaukee last fall, then sat out the 2005-06 season. His younger brother, Cordell, is a heralded high school basketball star in Indianapolis and already has committed to be part of Tennessee's signing class of 2008.
Smith, who attended Knoxville's West High School, played just four minutes for the Vols in 2005-06.
Pearl told The Knoxville News-Sentinel he is "embarrassed by this issue" and that "dismissal is still an option." The coach added that Passley's future "isn't necessarily hinging solely on the outcome of the case. There are other factors involved, and Tony has an opportunity to prove to me he wants to be here."
Tommy Hindman, the attorney who represents Passley, believes his client will be cleared of the felony drug charge.
"My client had only been inside that vehicle for less than five minutes, and he did not ride in that vehicle,'' Hindman told The News-Sentinel. "Others have said he had no knowledge of (cocaine) being in that vehicle. Those are the facts, and the facts are what they are without any legal manipulating."