Tennessee coach Derek Dooley reiterated Friday that he's felt for some time that running back Bryce Brown would not be playing for the Vols this season.
Nonetheless, Dooley said he has no plans to give Brown a release now that he's asked for one.
"This is not personal against Bryce, but I'm always going to do what I feel like I need to to protect this program," Dooley said. "It's a business decision."
Brown's father, Arthur Brown, told ESPN's Joe Schad, that his son wants a release from Tennessee to be able to transfer to Kansas State, and Arthur Brown said he's repeatedly made those wishes known to Dooley since April.
Dooley confirmed that Brown did come to see him last Saturday, but that Brown was still sorting through what he wanted to do at that point and that a release was never discussed. On Wednesday of this week, Dooley said he received a text from Brown requesting a release.
"The only reason this thing has dragged out as long as it has is because Bryce never came to me and told me what he wanted," Dooley said.
Since taking the job at Tennessee, Dooley said five players, including Brown, have requested a release. He said he's given two of those players unconditional releases (quarterback Nick Stephens and receiver Todd Campbell). He said he released offensive tackle Aaron Douglas conditionally and declined to release quarterback Nick Lamaison and Brown.
"I consider three factors when players ask for a release -- what they've invested in the program, the harm their leaving will do to the program and how they've handled the situation," Dooley said. "In this case, Bryce is free to go wherever he wants, but I'm not releasing him. He can pay his own way that first year or go to junior college."
Brown, the crown jewel of Lane Kiffin's only recruiting class at Tennessee, skipped spring practice earlier this year and has not taken part in any team activities since March. He rushed for 460 yards last season as a freshman, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and served as Montario Hardesty's backup. Nearly half of Brown's yards (215) came in nonconference wins over Western Kentucky, Ohio and Memphis.