Vol AD agrees with suspensions

University of Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday he signed off on the suspensions leveled by Vols football coach Phillip Fulmer after three players were arrested early Sunday morning at a Knoxville nightclub.

``Based on what I was told by Phillip Fulmer and the police, the punishment is reasonable,'' Hamilton said.

``It's an embarrassment and it shouldn't have happened.''

Starting tailback Arian Foster was suspended for the first half of the Arkansas game this Saturday. Safety Antonio Wardlow was suspended for two games and fullback David Holbert was suspended for one game. Wardlow and Holbert are backups.

Each player was charged with underage consumption of alcohol and disorderly conduct. Wardlow was also charged with public intoxication.

Hamilton said Foster's suspension was not as severe because his role was less serious.

Fulmer said only that Foster was acting as a peacemaker when Wardlow and Holbert engaged in a fight. Hamilton said he was aware Foster was involved in an altercation with a non-football player, but it was wasn't a fight, only shoving.

``I asked police was he belligerent,'' Hamilton said. ``I was told no. I asked if he was disrespectful to the police. I was told no. I asked if it was more serious than I was initially told. I was told no.''

Hamilton said he realizes the perception will be that Foster was given a lighter suspension because he's a starter.

``When we first released it, I told Tiffany Carpenter (UT spokesman for athletics), `Everybody will assume that because Foster is a starter, he got less punishment,''' Hamilton said. ``But we can't make decisions based on that.''

Hamilton said he reserved the right to hand out more punishment if he finds additional information incriminating to the football players involved.

Hamilton said he was told that about 25 to 30 football players were at the scene.

``I tell our athletes all the time, you have to assume a greater burden of responsibility,'' Hamilton said. ``You're held to a higher accountability.

``If you stand in the end zone and accept accolades, you will be held to a higher standard.''


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