Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and current senior defensive lineman Maurice Couch allegedly received impermissible benefits from a former athlete who was acting as an intermediary between NFL agents and college players, according to a Yahoo! Sports story published Wednesday.
Between May 17 and Nov. 10, 2012, six Western Union transactions were made to either Bray or Couch, per the Yahoo! report.
Those alleged transactions totaled $2,250, the report stated.
First-year UT coach Butch Jones said Couch is unlikely to play Saturday at Oregon, but that his uncertain status for the game is not related to the allegations in the Yahoo! report.
"Mo Couch had an injury in practice with heat exhaustion and he didn't even practice today due to that," Jones said on the Vol Calls radio show Wednesday night. "We expected him back but he couldn't go. So right now it looks like he probably won't be able to play and that's injury related."
Before Jones addressed the issue, Tennessee officials said they are exploring the report's accusations.
"We are aware of the article and are examining all of the relevant facts, and we will not comment further," Jimmy Stanton, UT senior associate director for communications, said in a statement.
Jones was head coach at Cincinnati when the benefits were allegedly dispersed.
"All I can speak to is the football program that we have in place," Jones said Wednesday night. "I think if you at look at our track record of myself and our coaching staff it speaks volumes. All I can tell you is this: we're well aware of it, we've been educating our players since we walked in the door."
Three other SEC players were mentioned in the report, most notably former Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, as well as former Mississippi State players Fletcher Cox and Chad Bumphis.
According to Yahoo! Sports, former Alabama player Luther Davis acted as a "concierge" between the five student-athletes and NFL agents. Davis didn't comment in the story, but Yahoo! reportedly obtained "a web of financial and text message records" from Davis that were included in the report.
Fluker started all 14 games in the Crimson Tide's 2012 championship run and reportedly received more than $33,000 in impermissible benefits from Davis. Fluker also started every game of Alabama's 2011 national championship campaign.
Bray, Fluker and Cox are all currently on NFL rosters, while Bumphis is a free agent.
Through two games, Couch has recorded two tackles for a loss and sack this season.
Tennessee remains on NCAA probation until Aug. 23, 2015.
More details as they develop online and in Thursday's Daily Beacon.