“It doesn’t change our stance that we want Bruce Pearl to be our basketball coach for months and years to come,’’ Hamilton told the News Sentinel on Thursday. “The bottom line is the nature of what came to light in the (NCAA) investigation warranted termination of his previous contract as determined by legal counsel.
“That, coupled with the fact we are making changes to the compensation, led to the necessity of a new contract which he has in his hands already. We’re in the final stages of getting that signed.’’
UT announced at a Sept. 10 news conference it had received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA and that the men’s basketball and baseball teams were under investigation along with the football program.
As a result of preliminary findings in the basketball case — which included Pearl misleading NCAA investigators in a June 14 interview about a picture taken of him at his house with a recruit on an unofficial visit — UT announced Pearl would forfeit $1.5 million of his pay over the next five years.
Hamilton said Pearl knew his previous contract would be terminated as a matter of course before the Sept. 10 press conference took place.
Until Pearl’s new contract is signed, he’ll be working under what’s known as a “Letter of Appointment,’’ which is similar to other UT employees. Under those terms, Pearl could technically be fired or quit at any time, according to a WBIR TV report.
Pearl has told the News Sentinel that “No way” does he plan to resign.
Hamilton said the new contract is another five-year deal, but he said he was not at liberty to discuss the terms of the new contract because it has not yet been signed.
According to a Sept.10 UT release detailing the self-imposed sanctions, Pearl’s salary would be reduced $500,000 from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, and by another $600,000 from 2011 to 2012.
From 2012 to 2013, Pearl’s salary would be decreased $200,000, and there would be a $100,000 salary reduction from 2013-2014 and again from 2014-2015.
Additionally, the $500,000 retention bonus Pearl was due to get in 2012 is now scheduled to be paid out in 2015.
“Bruce had the new contract in his hands two weeks ago,’’ Hamilton said. “His lawyers have needed time to review it.’’