Former Wichita East running back Bryce Brown might be headed for Kansas State, but he won’t be receiving his release from Tennessee.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Friday that he will not release Brown from his scholarship.
Brown doesn’t need a release to transfer to another school, but he can’t receive a scholarship from a new school this year without a release.
"I'm not mad at Bryce," Dooley told the News Sentinel. "I've got a lot of respect for Bryce as a person, and I have a lot of respect for the family. This is not a personal issue.
"It's a professional issue, and it's not because he didn't come see me. I used the same evaluation process that we used for the other guys, and I have an obligation to protect our organization."
Attempts by The Eagle to contact the Brown family on Friday were unsuccessful.
Also Friday, ESPN.com reported that Kansas State is Brown’s preferred destination, as has been rumored for months. Brown’s older brother, Arthur, transferred to Kansas State in the spring after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.).
ESPN, quoting the Browns’ father, Arthur Brown Sr., said that Bryce met with Dooley last Saturday for about 30 minutes, conflicting earlier reports that the two had not met. Dooley confirmed that meeting on Friday. Brown did not ask for his release at that meeting. Arthur Brown Sr. told ESPN he was disappointed that Bryce did not attend a follow-up meeting Monday or Tuesday, and instead sent Dooley a text message Tuesday, after returning to Wichita, asking for his release.
Earlier this week, Dooley said that the reason Brown has not been released is because he "has not come to me, looked me in the eye and said, 'I want a release.’ ”
But Arthur Brown Sr. said that he has told Dooley repeatedly that his son wants his release.
"I've tried to cooperate with Coach Dooley's request not to divulge information in the media," Arthur Brown Sr. said to ESPN. "But I have told Coach Dooley since April, every time we've talked, that we want Bryce taken out of Tennessee. This is our family decision."
Brown played his freshman season at Tennessee last fall. He did not participate in spring practice after former coach Lane Kiffin left to become coach at Southern California.
"As with the other players who have asked for a release, I went through the same process with the same criteria with Bryce," Dooley told the News Sentinel. "These are the three key factors: What their personal investment into the program was, did they have their heart into it and did they give it a good, fair shot. No. 2, the harm that their departure creates for the organization. No. 3, how they handle it as a professional.
"I've done that with every one of these guys. . . . So now my decision based on those three factors with Bryce is not to release him."