Vanderbilt University vice chancellor David Williams said the university has begun an internal investigation of its football program in relation to charges of improper conduct levied by the University of Maryland through the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“We have been informed by the Southeastern Conference that the Atlantic Coast Conference has filed a formal complaint involving Vanderbilt University football on behalf of one of its members,” Williams said in a brief statement issued by the university on Wednesday. “We are complying with SEC and Vanderbilt procedures and are conducting an investigation on the matter.”
The Washington Post reported earlier in the day  that Maryland football coach Randy Edsall has expressed concerns that Vanderbilt coach James Franklin had improper contact with three Maryland football players who recently announced their plans to transfer.
Consequently, Maryland filed a formal complaint with the Atlantic Coast Conference, which then brought the matter to the Southeastern Conference.
Franklin, through an athletics department spokesperson, declined to comment. He was the offensive coordinator at Maryland before Vanderbilt hired him a little more than a year ago.
Edsall initially released quarterback Danny O’Brien, offensive lineman Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson from their scholarships on the condition that they not transfer to Vanderbilt in addition to all current and future ACC members. He since has backed off that stipulation.
None of the players has expressed publicly a desire to transfer to Vanderbilt. O’Brien was the 2010 ACC freshman of the year under Franklin but lost his job as a starter last fall under Edsall.