Head coach Bruce Pearl did not specify the nature of Wingate's transgression except to say it was a violation of team rules and university policy. The coach said the 6-foot-10, 250-pound post player will be disciplined internally over the next few months. Part of his penance will involve community service work with the Boys & Girls Clubs. Wingate's suspension is not expected to affect his availability for any games during the 2006-07 season.
"Major has done so many wonderful things this year, on and off the court, it pains me to have to do this,'' Pearl told The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "But at the same time, there's a culture that has been allowed to exist that can't be tolerated.''
Wingate averaged 10.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game during the 2005-06 season, helping the Vols win 22 games and the SEC East title. He and JaJuan Smith shared the Most Improved Player award presented at last Friday night's UT Awards Banquet.