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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The NCAA has ruled Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch permanently ineligible following a September report that he received improper benefits.

Tennessee's football program released a statement through its Twitter account Friday that Couch had been ruled ineligible and that it plans to appeal.

Couch tweeted that "at the end of the day, what's most important is I have my family, my degree and love n support from the Volnation."

Couch hasn't played since a Sept. 11 report by Yahoo Sports that Couch, former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and former Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis received payments from Luther Davis, who acted as a go-between for the players with agents and financial advisers.