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Ex-UT WR Arnett To Michigan State By Next Week

It didn’t take long for DeAnthony Arnett to make up his mind after Tennessee cleared him to transfer anywhere he liked.  The sophomore-to-be receiver — the #12 prospect in America at his position last year — will transfer to Michigan State where he expects to start classes next week. 

He will apply for a hardship waiver from the NCAA in an attempt to play for the Spartans next season.

As everyone knows by now, Arnett planned to transfer from Tennessee in order to get closer to home, closer to family.  His father’s health has been in sharp decline in recent months.  MSU is just about an hour from his hometown.

Derek Dooley, however, initially gave Arnett a waiver that nixed Michigan and Michigan State as potential landing spots.  More than likely he felt there had been some contact between those programs and a player still on his roster and coaches don’t respond well to tampering.  But whether tampering was involved or not, there was no way Dooley could win this particular PR battle.  Two words would always trump him: sick father.

So Dooley backtracked this week and told Arnett he was free to move about the country.  It didn’t the player long to make his decision.  And that likely validates any suspicions Dooley might have had about contact between Sparty and Arnett.

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Writer: New UT A.D. Can Only Lead Cheers

When it comes to selling its vacant athletic director’s position, Tennessee officials have a lot of positives to tout — a top 10 athletic budget nationally, a tradition of winning, top of the line facilities and a passionate fanbase.

On the other hand…

This might not be the best time to be searching for a new AD.  In addition to likely NCAA probation in football and basketball and a relatively new chancellor (ie: boss) with little in the way of a proven track record, the school has two newly hired coaches in its two biggest sports.  That means Derek Dooley and Cuonzo Martin are likely untouchable in Knoxville for a while.

John Adams of The Knoxville News Sentinel believes that will make the Vols’ AD position a tougher sell to candidates wanting to prove their worth on a large stage:

“No matter how poorly the football or basketball programs might do in the next couple of years, a new athletic director won’t shove their coaches in hopes of making a heroic hire.  The last thing either program needs at this juncture is another change.  So Dooley and Martin shouldn’t have to worry about a quick hook, especially when you consider their challenges could be exacerbated by potential NCAA sanctions.

Their new boss can only hope they are successful.  But he won’t get credit for it.  That’s not much incentive for someone trying to make his mark or make the most of a second chance.”

Perhaps that’s why a number of rumored candidates have said they’re not interested in the job even before being contacted.

Logic would suggest that a job at a major SEC university with the bank account and history of Tennessee would be appealing to someone.  Somewhere.  But in 2003 — the last time the UT AD’s gig came open — the Vols found themselves turning things over to internal/fallback candidate Mike Hamilton. 

Whether UT can lure in an outsider — and a big name — this time around or not, Adams is correct regarding the new guy’s relationship with the coaches he’ll be inheriting:

“Whatever progress UT makes in its three top men’s sports will be up to its coaches — Dooley, Martin and whomever it hires in baseball.  All the new AD can do is cheer them on.”

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