The University of Tennessee's football program is not the only Southeastern Conference team with off-the-field problems this summer.
Florida coach Ron Zook suspended linebacker Channing Crowder and safety Jarvis Herring for the season opener (Middle Tennessee State) after both Gators were arrested earlier this summer for scuffling with police outside a Gainesville nightclub.
Crowder, last year's SEC freshman defensive player of the year, was charged with disorderly conduct. Herring was charged with resisting or obstructing without violence.
Along with their incident, another of Zook's linebackers was arrested at an off-campus party and charged with aggravated battery (a second-degree felony). UF athletics director Jeremy Foley immediately suspended the 19-year-old Taurean Charles from the team.
Foley said Charles' status would be determined "as we gather more information."
Ole Miss
The SEC suspension stories don't end with rivals Tennessee and Florida.
Mississippi running back Jamal Pittman and linebacker Ken Bournes were suspended indefinitely after their arrests over the weekend in Memphis, Tenn. According to police, both Rebels displayed guns.
Pittman was booked early Sunday morning on charges of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and resisting official detention. He was being held on $50,000 bond.
Bournes faces a misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of a weapon. He was released after posting a $1,000 bond.
Police said Pittman was waving a pistol at the occupants of a car and at other people walking in the area. He allegedly waved the weapon at police and would not drop it until police used pepper spray.
LSU
On a higher note, the positive attention in Baton Rouge, La., is not going away.
Since Louisiana State won college football's national title last season, the athletic department has seen season-ticket sales reach an all-time high. Only 50 season tickets remain for the 2004 season at Tiger Stadium (65,500 have already been sold).
Along with increased fan support, the Tigers are also reaping the financial benefits of playing on national television.
ESPN will broadcast LSU's 5 p.m. opener on Sept. 4 against Oregon State. Two weeks later, CBS has scheduled a national broadcast of the clash between SEC West foes Auburn and LSU (who returns 15 starters - including four preseason All-Americans - from its 2003 championship team).
-Matt Giles is the sports editor for The Daily Beacon. He can be reached at mgiles@utk.edu