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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Vanderbilt assistant suspended after DUI

By Chris Low

This is not the way Derek Mason had hoped to go into his first spring/offseason at Vanderbilt.

The university on Tuesday announced that Mason had indefinitely suspended defensive line coach Vavae Tata, who was arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage on Sunday in Nashville.

Mason and Tata worked together on the Stanford staff, and Tata followed Mason to Vanderbilt.

According to police reports, Tata blew a .18 percent on the breathalyzer test, which is more than twice the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08 percent in the state of Tennessee. Tata, 37, was arrested Sunday morning when police found him a few blocks away from an accident where he had crashed into two parked vehicles. Tata told police he was trying to walk back to his hotel. He's scheduled for a court appearance March 5.

Vanderbilt released a statement saying the university would continue its investigation into the matter. The Commodores are scheduled to begin spring practice March 11.