Vanderbilt AD addresses concerns over student athletes - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Vanderbilt AD addresses concerns over student athletes

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Vanderbilt Athletics Director David Williams Vanderbilt Athletics Director David Williams
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Vanderbilt University Athletics Director David Williams is speaking publicly for the first time since news of a sex crimes investigation surfaced on campus.

Williams, a vice chancellor at the private university, said the letter he sent last week to Commodores student athletes advising them to no longer visit Nashville bar Tin Roof had nothing to do with the investigation by Metro police into four former football players' possible involvement in an alleged crime.

"Since there were student athletes that were going to the Tin Roof, we were concerned there may be a NCAA compliance issue or one brewing," Williams told the Channel 4 I-Team.

The letter, dated July 17, reads, "Effective immediately, the athletics department has declared the Nashville bar Tin Roof off limits," and Williams went on to write the university was informed of concerning behaviors at the bar, including underage drinking and students using fake IDs.

"Since we really didn't have any mechanisms to get down to the bottom of it in a short period of time, we took the position of putting the Tin Roof off limits until we can determine what's actually going on," Williams said.

The athletic director also said the letter was not just about one Vanderbilt team in particular. Rather, he says officials have received what the school considers reliable information about different athletes drinking at the bar.

The Tin Roof owner said last week he had read the letter sent out by the athletic director and said he's not aware of any ongoing underage drinking issues going on at his bar, adding they are doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen there.

When asked about the ban at Tin Roof, Williams said that's the only bar for which they received that information and said this isn't the first time the university has put a place off limits for students.

The university said Cory Batey, Brandon Banks, Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie and Brandon Vandenberg are no longer on the football team and have also been banned from campus. The four are at the center of a Metro sex crimes investigation after an alleged sexual assault inside a campus dorm last month.

The university named the players last week ahead of SEC Media Days, saying they were dropped from the 2013 roster for "violation of team rules."

None has been charged with a crime.

"It's an investigation and I'm not allowed to comment on it," Williams said.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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