The father of embattled running back Bryce Brown said former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin promised his son an unconditional release from his scholarship if he wasn't satisfied at the school.
Arthur Brown Sr. told CBSSports.com on Thursday that family medical issues had forced his son to request a transfer from Tennessee after his freshman season. Bryce Brown was rated the No. 1 running back in the country when he signed with the Vols in 2009. He applied for admission Wednesday at Kansas State, Brown Sr. said. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, though, has denied to release Brown from his scholarship.
"So much has happened between when Coach Kiffin recruited him and him going there," Brown Sr. said by phone from the family home in Wichita, Kan. "All the changes taking place, so many other things muddied the water. Coach Kiffin had told me personally if Bryce came there and did not want to stay there after some time, he wouldn't have a problem giving him an unconditional release."
Brown Sr. said family formally appealed to Tennessee for release on Aug. 6. The process could take up to 15 days, or until Aug. 21. There was a teleconference between Arthur Sr., Bryce and Tennessee compliance officer Todd Dooley (no relation to the coach) on Wednesday. Todd Dooley is listed on the Tennessee website as assistant AD for compliance and operations.
If the appeal is not granted, Brown would have to pay his way to Kansas State for a year before getting back on scholarship in 2011.
"It would be a setback," Brown Sr. said. "definitely a [financial] burden."
Brown Sr. added that health issues with himself, his father, his wife and her 14-year-old nephew has caused "too much stress on the family." Bryce's brother Arthur Jr., a top recruit at Miami two years ago, already has transferred to be closer to home and is enrolled at K-State.
Derek Dooley has given a variety of reasons for not releasing Brown, including wanting to meet face-to-face with the running back. In his only season at Tennessee, Brown rushed for 476 yards on 101 carries.
"Bryce has done everything that has been expected of him," his father said. "He has been a model student. He has been a real supporter of his program. I can't answer what is going through Coach Dooley's mind."
The NCAA is interested in speaking to Bryce Brown about Kiffin's recruiting practices at Tennessee, according to a report. Kiffin left Tennessee for USC in early January after one 7-6 season.