NCAA looking at Bryce's trainer

Questions regarding the eligibility of Tennessee freshman tailback Bryce Brown stem from unofficial visits to college campuses trainer/manager Brian Butler arranged while Brown was attending Wichita East High School.

The NCAA has been investigating Brown since February because he was among a group of players who visited several universities on funds reportedly raised by Butler, according to a source close to the situation.

The NCAA continues to investigate Butler, who can be seen in a sound byte saying there was "nothing illegitimate" about the campus visits he arranged for 10 high school players, including Brown. Butler insisted the visits were for "academic purposes" and that the players met with academic advisors, not college coaches. Furthermore, he says he did not benefit, noting: "No money was slipped in my pocket."

Butler says he raised money for the trips by holding fund-raisers at Sam's Wholesale Club. He also raised money by providing recruiting information on Bryce Brown (for a membership fee of $9.95 per month) on a website but dropped the fee after being contacted by the NCAA.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the 10 high school players Butler refers to also included Bryce Brown's brother Arthur, now attending the University of Miami; Blaize Foltz (Texas Christian), Jaydan Bird (Oklahoma) and Chris Harper, who began his college career at Oregon but has since transferred to Kansas State.

Tennessee was not recruiting Brown at the time of the trips (Brown's sophomore and junior seasons of high school), so the Vols appear to be in the clear. Still, his eligibility at UT could be affected if the NCAA rules that his amateur status was compromised by the unofficial college visits Butler arranged for him.

Brown was rated the No. 1 prospect in America by after rushing for 1,872 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior at Wichita East High School last fall. He originally committed to the Miami Hurricanes in 2008 but signed with Tennessee last spring.

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