Four Vanderbilt football players dismissed amid sex crimes investigation

By Brian Haas

Four Vanderbilt football players have been dismissed from the team and placed on interim suspension from the university amid a sex crimes investigation by Metro police.

Vanderbilt announced the dismissals and suspensions for violation of team rules this morning. The players were not identified.

“The well-being of our students is of paramount concern to us, and we will not tolerate any actions that threaten student safety and security,” said Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs, in the release.

Metro police and Vanderbilt’s administration were keeping a tight lid on details of the incident, and no arrests had been made as of Friday night.

“I can confirm that the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit began an investigation on Wednesday in regard to a matter that was alleged to have occurred at a Vanderbilt University dormitory,” said Don Aaron, spokesman for Metro police. “Our sex crimes detectives became involved as the result of a notification to us on Wednesday from Vanderbilt University police. The investigation remains very much in progress.”

Aaron said he couldn’t elaborate on details of the investigation, but he confirmed it was related to a 5:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday announcement by Vanderbilt University that detailed that the players were suspended.

“Vanderbilt University (on Friday) announced that four members of its football team were suspended earlier this week for violation of team rules,” read the announcement. “As additional facts become known, Vanderbilt will take further action, if and as warranted. Because of Vanderbilt’s ongoing investigation, the university will offer further comment when appropriate.”

Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin did not return messages left on his cellphone.

Fortune declined to give any additional information about the players.

“Because it’s an ongoing investigation, we will not be releasing names or other information about those suspended,” she said.

She said the university was cooperating with Metro’s investigation.

Brian Haas writes for The Tennessean in Nashville, a Gannett affiliate.

© 2013 USA TODAY. All rights reserved.

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