NCAA rules Tennessee DT Maurice Couch permanently ineligible

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

The NCAA has declared Tennessee senior defensive tackle Maurice Couch permanently ineligible, the school announced on Friday.

Couch was the only active football player named in a Yahoo! Sports report on improper benefits provided to SEC players. Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, former Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis and former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker were also named in the report.

The Yahoo! Sports report alleges that Couch received four payments from former Alabama defensive lineman Luther Davis, who has reportedly been serving as a middle man between NFL-bound SEC stars and the agents/financial advisers looking for new clients. Records indicate that four transfers totaling $1,350 were made to Couch.

The school is planning to appeal the decision, likely citing their cooperation and willingness to suspend Couch once the news broke. In total, Couch has already missed six games of action. Recent precedent suggests that could suffice if the NCAA only alleges the $1,350 in improper benefits. By comparison, former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended four games for profiting $1,000 off the sale of his game-worn bowl jersey in 2010.

As for the response from Couch, a husband and father of two:

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