Happy Hour?

Enough is enough. Derek Dooley let his frustrations show Friday as his team completed the first session of specific game preparations for its season opener just eight days away against UT Martin. It's not his team that he is frustrated with, it's the NCAA Clearinghouse. Go "Inside" to read why and what Dooley had to say.

It's 6 p.m. Eastern time. The location is Knoxville, Tenn., where the University of Tennessee football team has finished its practice in preparation for the season opener in just eight days.

Derek Dooley just completed fall camp at Tennessee in his first year as head coach of the Vols, and while he is aware of the challenges that await his young team, it's the things he can't control that are creating the most frustration.

Incoming freshman wide receiver Justin Hunter entered fall camp and participated for 14 days before being taken off the practice field after not being cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Therein lie the problem and the issues that are causing Dooley's frustration. The head coach and his staff have exhausted their attempts to get an answer from the NCAA branch that handles eligibility, and it's those roadblocks and hurdles that are causing the new head coach a lot of headaches.

"I feel totally helpless," Dooley told the media Friday, just eight days from the season opener against Tennessee-Martin for his young ball club, which held its first game preparation session. "We have done everything you can think of to push the process. We have gotten our athletic director, Mike Hamilton, involved and haven't had any luck getting anything accomplished."

Dooley appeared frustrated and admitted that what he thought was going to be solved in a couple of days is taking much longer than he anticipated.

"We have been confident since this occurred it was just going to be a matter of a day or two before we got him back," Dooley said. "While I'm still hopeful, I'm really getting frustrated with this situation. They won't tell us anything except that there are a pile of files sitting on their desk, and they will get to it when it's his turn."

With the young man's college education and football career resting in the NCAA Clearinghouse's hands, Dooley wasn't satisfied with that answer.

"I don't know anything," Dooley said. "I am sure they are not burning the midnight oil to get it done either. That's my guess. That's not an attack. But Friday at 5, it's probably Happy Hour. There's probably no file-reviewing going on right now in Overland Park."

Dooley was referring to Kansas, where the clearinghouse is located.

Hunter qualified academically and for the most part has good grades and a good test score. It appears that the clearinghouse is questioning an online course based on what InsideTennnesse.com has learned.

One veteran out-of-state college football coach shared Dooley's frustrations.

"I have been in the business for over 24 years, I have seen on more than one occasion how the clearinghouse has ruined or delayed some young men's education and football careers," the coach said. "It's truly frustrating to know that you have done everything the right way and the young man is still punished because the clearinghouse doesn't act in a timely manner.

"There isn't the accountability on their part. If they don't expedite a young man's paperwork in time, so be it, they show no remorse or concern."

In Hunter's case, Dooley is uncertain how much time the freshman wideout has to get officially cleared.

"Since he is already enrolled in school we aren't completely sure when the final deadline will be," Dooley said earlier this week. "We have tried to remain positive in this matter, but this is getting crazy, how it's dragging out."

Eddrick Loften was ruled ineligible this Wednesday by the clearinghouse after it flagged one of the safety's test scores. With Friday being the last day to enroll at the University of Tennessee, the Texas native will have to wait until January to possibly enroll at UT.

What is wrong with this scenario? The criminally accused are given the constitutional right to a speedy trial, while students and prospective athletes aren't guaranteed a speedy process to ensure their college careers start on time.

Someway, somehow, the NCAA needs to be held accountable. Dooley doesn't have the answer, but his frustrations are apparent, and rightfully so.

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