Former Vol Maurice Couch admits to accepting money due to financial hardship: ‘I was going to lose my family'

Former Tennessee defensive tackle Maurice Couch said he accepted impermissible cash benefits during his playing career because he was financially struggling and wanted to keep his young family together.

In an interview Monday morning with Tennessee Sports Radio, Couch spoke publicly for the first time about the allegations that caused him to be ruled ineligible for the final 11 games of the 2013 season, effectively ending his career.

"I wasn't a normal student-athlete," Couch said. "When you have a young one, there's more you have to bring to the table. I was at a point where I was going to lose my family. I wasn't going to be able to focus without knowing my family was taken care of."

Couch, who is married with a young daughter, was first held out of action before Tennessee's game at Oregon on Sept. 14 after Yahoo Sports reported that he was among several SEC players who accepted impermissible payments from a man acting as a liaison to NFL agents.

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.