Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton and men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl will begin talks this afternoon about Pearl's existing contract at UT.
Hamilton said Pearl has told him he is not interested in the Memphis coaching vacancy and is expected to issue a release this afternoon.
“Bruce is my coach and I trust him,'' Hamilton said. “We have shown in the past we will compensate him fairly and we will continue to compensate him fairly.
"I can tell you that I have no reason to believe Bruce Pearl is going to be anywhere other than Knoxville next year. He has told me he's not interested in anything else and I've got to take him at his word.''
UT officials said they are not aware of a report today by Memphis television station WMC that Pearl has been offered a seven-year, $21 million contract to fill the coaching vacancy at Memphis.
The Commercial Appeal reported on its Web site that Memphis officials are expected to officially ask for permission to talk to Pearl today.
Hamilton repeated Thursday that Memphis has not contacted him asking permission to talk with Pearl.
"I would deny them permission, but I don't necessarily think that means they're going to ask," said Hamilton. :The reality is that's kind of an archaic way of dealing with these changes in the last few years.''
But there are no stipulations in Pearl's contract that would enable Hamilton to deny Memphis access to talk with Pearl.
Memphis spokesman Bob Winn told the Associated Press he conferred with athletic director R.C. Johnson at approximately 10:30 a.m. Central Thursday morning about Pearl.
“To the questions of is he coming here to be interviewed and have we made an offer? No and No,” Winn said.
Pearl has not made public comments since Monday, when he indicated he was looking forward to the coming season with UT and competing with new Kentucky coach John Calipari, who left Memphis.
“It doesn't take much to get my batteries re-charged,'' Pearl said. “Not playing last weekend was enough.
“But this ... John Calipari will bring another level of energy to this league.''
Pearl is in Detroit today to introduce Louisville coach Rick Pitino as the Adolph Rupp national coach of the year Award winner.
Pearl won the award last year.
Hamilton has said he keeps a pulse on market value and is pleased with the job Pearl has done at UT.
Pearl makes $1.6 million per year and is due a $500,000 retention bonus next season.
Calipari just signed an eight-year deal at Kentucky that will pay him $3.7 million annually, Florida's Billy Donovan makes $3.5 million annually and Alabama recently hired Anthony Grant for a reported $2 million a year.
All indications are that Georgia is willing to pay its next coach in the $2 million range when it fills its coaching vacancy.
Grant's salary bumps Pearl from the third-highest paid coaching slot in the SEC – a salary position Pearl has said repeatedly he is comfortable with as UT's coach.