Letter details Pearl's possible NCAA violations

New UT president remarks on Pearl issue

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl expresses remorse for giving misleading information to the NCAA during an investigation in June of this year. The press conference Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 revealed that Pearl's compensation will be reduced by $1.5 million over the next five years.

Photo by Michael Patrick

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl expresses remorse for giving misleading information to the NCAA during an investigation in June of this year. The press conference Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 revealed that Pearl's compensation will be reduced by $1.5 million over the next five years.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A letter notifying Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl that his previous contract was being terminated details how Pearl knowingly committed violations and planned to hide details from the NCAA.

The multiple violations that have been at the center of the NCAA probe into the men’s basketball program involve the Sept. 20, 2008, visit to Pearl’s house by then UT commitments and unofficial visitors Aaron Craft, Josh Selby and Jordan McRae. McRae is now a UT freshman; the other two players went elsewhere.

A “notification of termination of employment agreement” letter, dated Sept. 9 from Mike Hamilton to Pearl and obtained through an open records request, states that Pearl told the prospects and their families that their presence at his home was a violation of NCAA rules.

Pearl also told them that he was not going to tell anyone about the violation, and he asked they not tell anyone, either.

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton reiterated this morning that Tennessee was aware of all of the details of the case and that, “It’s important for people to know that Bruce is our coach.’’

UT has offered Pearl a new 5-year contract that reflects the loss of $1.5 million in salary as part of self-imposed sanctions announced in a Sept. 10 press conference. Pearl’s attorney is reviewing the contract and he’s expected to sign it shortly, Hamilton said.

Hamilton announced in the Sept. 10 press conference, which acknowledged an NCAA letter of inquiry, that Pearl had likely committed an unethical conduct violation by misleading the NCAA during a June 14, 2010, interview.

In part, the unethical conduct violation involved Pearl and his assistant coaches telling the NCAA that they could not identify the location of a picture taken of Pearl with Craft at his home on Sept. 20, 2008.

The picture of Craft and Pearl that was shown to the UT basketball staff — taken within Pearl’s home with assistant coach Jason Shay’s wife in the background — was described as black-and-white and grainy, according to a source close to the investigation.

Pearl also told the NCAA in the June 14 interview that he could not identify Shay’s wife.

Pearl requested another interview with the NCAA, on Aug. 5, during which he admitted to knowing the photo was taken at his home and that he could identify Shay’s wife.

The Sept. 9 notification letter involving Pearl’s contract also states that Pearl called a prospect’s father on June 14, 2010, before and after Pearl interviewed with the NCAA.

Three sources have confirmed that the phone call was made to the father of Craft.

When contacted by the News Sentinel, Craft, now at Ohio State, texted that he has been told not to discuss the case.

Pearl told UT that he called Craft’s father to remind him that he had informed him that coming to his house would be a violation and that he had given him the choice to attend.

“At the very least your calls to the father created the appearance that you were trying to influence the father’s statements to the NCAA,’’ the letter states.

The notification letter also charges Pearl with failing to protect the integrity of the NCAA investigation by meeting with his assistant coaches and talking about their NCAA interview before meeting with them himself.

The assistant coaches informed Pearl that the NCAA had a picture of Pearl and Craft, and assistant coach Steve Forbes told Pearl that he thought the photo was taken at Pearl’s house.

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Comments » 88

ktm589 writes:

Time to move on!!!!! I'm still behind the Vols!!!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say second installment of same story rehash...
Bones never lie.

TommyJack writes:

Tennessee needs Bruce.

FearlessFreep writes:

I know much of this already came out, but not these details. I will say this - If Pearl was not as successful he'd already have been fired for this. Just some moral fruit to chew on before you dismiss this entirely.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say lets change this up a bit...
REALISTICALLY (we have enough idiot responses)
What will the NCAA do to Tennessee and Pearl?

Witch Doctor say 2 years probation, loss of two schollys for two years and Pearl suspended for 4-6 games in the 2011-12 season.

Bones never lie.

Alt_news (Inactive) writes:

Bones may never lie, but Bruce does.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say KNS could "Poll" this.
Bones never lie.

BigOrangeBill writes:

Let's take our lumps whatever they may be..and stay with Bruce and his team. I don't think anyone thinks Coach Pearl is not a really good man! He just made a ridiculous mistake which has cost him huge (and I don't mean just the loss of money). I'm confident the future will not have any repeats of these problems with Coach. Tennessee basketball is where it has never been before and we could never find anybody who could repeat the progress Coach Pearl has made. If he was a lesser man, I would not be so benevolent but this is a good man who has worked harder than any of us probably ever could if we were in his shoes. I'm not going to give up on him and urge all Vol fans to take his back ...but (that said) expect better from him in the future.

elbtenn#502977 writes:

No matter what the outcome, let's just kick butt this season!!!

GerryOP writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say lets change this up a bit...
REALISTICALLY (we have enough idiot responses)
What will the NCAA do to Tennessee and Pearl?

Witch Doctor say 2 years probation, loss of two schollys for two years and Pearl suspended for 4-6 games in the 2011-12 season.

Bones never lie.

W_D, this thing has spun so far out of control it's hard to even guess. I suspect 1 year suspension for Pearl plus review by NCAA for any school that wants to hire him. This ranks right up there with the Kelvin Sampson stuff.

As far as the program, certainly probation, possible tournament suspension, and some sort of scholly reduction. Behind the scenes (and I hope these idiots are smart enough to not put it in writing!) I suspect punishments may depend on whether or not UT keeps Pearl. As much as I love that Pearl-dude-guy, I fear he has suddenly become an albatross. Messin' with recruits and their parents is serious stuff.

I would settle for your guess if your bones ain't lyin'!

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

I like Bruce Pearl but wrong is wrong and he really should be fired and Mike Hamilton as well. If we win with a cloud over us then it really is a hollow victory. Alabama will beat Tennessee this weekend in football but it will be because they are just more talented and hopefully not because they had a advantage by lying to recruits.

volposter writes:

Probably waiting for the new President to make the decision. From an email we alumni got yesterday, apparently there will be an announcement on the new president today if the Trustees reach an agreement.

GerryOP writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

pl3, sounds like you're getting the same bad feelings I'm getting. This simply isn't a good thing.

Futurecoach16 writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We're at war overseas and the economy is down is "old news", but you don't go around telling CBS, NBC, CNN, or FOX News to stop reporting on that do you? Sheesh, if you don't want to read it, don't. This is the biggest thing on campus right now. If you don't like it, tough luck, cause it is, but no one is forcing you to read it. What is put in the news is based on what people read/watch. Negative stories get more views than anything. If you want the writers to stop, quit commenting on them. That's the only way you'll get them to "MOVE ON".

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to GerryOP:

W_D, this thing has spun so far out of control it's hard to even guess. I suspect 1 year suspension for Pearl plus review by NCAA for any school that wants to hire him. This ranks right up there with the Kelvin Sampson stuff.

As far as the program, certainly probation, possible tournament suspension, and some sort of scholly reduction. Behind the scenes (and I hope these idiots are smart enough to not put it in writing!) I suspect punishments may depend on whether or not UT keeps Pearl. As much as I love that Pearl-dude-guy, I fear he has suddenly become an albatross. Messin' with recruits and their parents is serious stuff.

I would settle for your guess if your bones ain't lyin'!

Witch Doctor say it is just a guess but I think I'm about 95% IF(IF) nothing new comes out...these are slow timed releases by the UT AD dept. Witch Doctor say they are slowly defusing the stories bit by bit. Witch Doctor believe if they were going to fire, they would want a huge impact in Dec. to allow the "shock and awe" to work in their favor to fire Bruce withoug alienating the strong booster support he has...Witch Doctor guessing(?)BUT Witch Doctor admit that! lol.
Bones never lie.
*New President is a fool if he touches this hot potato..prolly let chips fall and the comment AFTER the NCAA does.

crappieking writes:

I support you coach. You made a mistake. We all do. GBO!!!

jomo11 writes:

Pearl will be suspended by the NCAA for the 2011-2012 year, remember that the NCAA suspended Dez Bryant for lying to the NCAA , can't imagine that the NCAA would not hold a coach to these standards if not higher.....HE WILL BE SUSPENDED for at least a year

Vol86 writes:

CBP's teams put many fans in the stands. Even hamilton can see this. We will take our punishment and go on. Many fun seasons to come just ride out the storms in BB and FB.

JDL211 writes:

Tick, tick, tick.....

Vol86 writes:

Check out CBP's mug at to of age. You can go many ways with it. He cracks me up.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to JDL211:

Tick, tick, tick.....

Witch Doctor say in the immortal words of Aerosmith

"dream on, dream on, dream on."

Bones never lie.

GerryOP writes:

W-D, heard that HBO has a new soap in the works: "The U of T." Maybe you could script a theme song for it? I can hear thh program promo now ... "In the high offices of 'The U of T,' in rooms that the common fans never see, hearing story after story about how the fan fav coach continues to make a mess of his live and career ... millionaire sports managers and supporters power up the spin machine to cover the tracks of sin and crime so that fans will continue to pack the stadiums and sports halls of ... da dum, da dum, da dum dum ... 'The U of T!'" (Scheduled for release soon.)

My concern is that every time we say "...95% IF(IF) nothing new comes out..." -- well, lo and behold, something new comes out. I said that after the 'phone caper was announced ... and after the house party was revealed ... and after the staff collusion was brought out ... and now after telling the kid's parents to lie for him surfaced. Me thinks the faithful are starting to get restless. But wait, maybe ... just maybe, this is all a diversionary tactic to keep our minds off of THE GAME on Saturday. Ya' think maybe?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to GerryOP:

W-D, heard that HBO has a new soap in the works: "The U of T." Maybe you could script a theme song for it? I can hear thh program promo now ... "In the high offices of 'The U of T,' in rooms that the common fans never see, hearing story after story about how the fan fav coach continues to make a mess of his live and career ... millionaire sports managers and supporters power up the spin machine to cover the tracks of sin and crime so that fans will continue to pack the stadiums and sports halls of ... da dum, da dum, da dum dum ... 'The U of T!'" (Scheduled for release soon.)

My concern is that every time we say "...95% IF(IF) nothing new comes out..." -- well, lo and behold, something new comes out. I said that after the 'phone caper was announced ... and after the house party was revealed ... and after the staff collusion was brought out ... and now after telling the kid's parents to lie for him surfaced. Me thinks the faithful are starting to get restless. But wait, maybe ... just maybe, this is all a diversionary tactic to keep our minds off of THE GAME on Saturday. Ya' think maybe?

Witch Doctor say UT AD working the "news-cycles" it appears..let story come out on "water-cooler" friday. After the Bama game story is slowly losing steam come Monday and all but gone. Witch Doctor know these kinda things are thought out and not random. VERY measured indeed.
Bones never lie.
*Witch Doctor say bust a groove GerryOP..pretty dang good.

GerryOP writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BBob, I've got my standards, and they are really pretty low standards, but this Pearl-dude-guy is starting to scrape raw my last nerve.

It's kind of like the guy who has a new girl friend? Every date she reveals something new ... she's married ... her husband is mean and bigger than you ... she has three kids -- by three differnet men ... she has the clap ... and on, and on, and on ... but you hop back in the sack with her anyway! Nothing good is going to come out of this!

thevoice writes:

in response to andforhisnexttune:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sadly, I fear you're about right on.

GerryOP writes:

W_D, yup familiar with the "water cooler" Friday gimmick. Break the bad news at a staff meeting at 3 PM on Friday ... then give 'em the rest of the day off.

I hate it, but the tarnish on "The Pearl" is starting to overwhelm the shine. May be getting toward time for UT to cut their losses and start over. Ya' know, kind of like UT DIDN'T do with Big Ol' Doofus after the '05 season?

Did you see the other thread? Sounds like the NCAA called Mikey this morning and asked if "The Pearl" was still there. Mikey said "Yup!" The NCAA said "Oh BTW, we've declared McRae ineligible for the season. Have a nice weekend. (click)"

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to GerryOP:

W_D, yup familiar with the "water cooler" Friday gimmick. Break the bad news at a staff meeting at 3 PM on Friday ... then give 'em the rest of the day off.

I hate it, but the tarnish on "The Pearl" is starting to overwhelm the shine. May be getting toward time for UT to cut their losses and start over. Ya' know, kind of like UT DIDN'T do with Big Ol' Doofus after the '05 season?

Did you see the other thread? Sounds like the NCAA called Mikey this morning and asked if "The Pearl" was still there. Mikey said "Yup!" The NCAA said "Oh BTW, we've declared McRae ineligible for the season. Have a nice weekend. (click)"

Witch Doctor say Selby lost an entire year and there is MUCH more to come out about him before its over(not Tennessee either)Witch Doctor say the first code of the NCAA is like Dexters "Dont get caught". lol.
Bones never lie.

AncientVol writes:

I predict the new, reduced contract will be executed and Pearl will coach the coming season. Then he will go elsewhere. Next year we'll have a new BB coach.

arkyvol writes:

holy s---!

why, bruce, why?

SATCHMOE writes:

People, please stop all the surmizing. Bruce said he did not want to leave and won't. It's a shame that the rules are so petty, but they are what they are and where broken. I love my University and hope that she stands behind our coach and defends him because he has done something no other has before him. I think its time that we work and support those that are in adversity instead of judging,persecuting,and kicking them to the curb. I for one am tired of all this, but it does seem that we are receiving more attention (NCAA) than others. Those who sling chit will eventually get hit by what they throw
...

Gorillas1 writes:

in response to crappieking:

I support you coach. You made a mistake. We all do. GBO!!!

He didn't make a mistake, HE LIED and asked others to lie as well.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Selby lost an entire year and there is MUCH more to come out about him before its over(not Tennessee either)Witch Doctor say the first code of the NCAA is like Dexters "Dont get caught". lol.
Bones never lie.

Pearl needs to go to "The Calpari School of DeNile" and Dooley needs to attend "The Lil' Urbie School of Football Felons."

Be well and have a great weekend!

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to FearlessFreep:

I know much of this already came out, but not these details. I will say this - If Pearl was not as successful he'd already have been fired for this. Just some moral fruit to chew on before you dismiss this entirely.

And I say, "right on". There is no moral issue here. Bruce didn't kill anybody, no money changed hands, there was obviously no competitive advantage, and it's not as if anybody was harmed - this is NCAA silliness after all. If Pearl and the university are found guilty and sanctioned at whatever level, and the UT administration is willing to take the punishment and keep Bruce on as coach because of his stellar record, then so what? If his coaching ability and record outweigh the punishment, then negotiate a contract, keep him and move on. If Bruce continues to defy the NCAA, at some point the punishment will outweigh his benefit to the program and he will be gone. If he were Buzz Peterson and this happened? Use it as an excuse to fire him with cause and go find a guy with Bruce's skills. It's simple really and not a moral issue at all. Every school violates NCAA rules and when caught, the piper must be paid. But claiming moral high ground in firing a great coach who's willing to pay for his relatively minor offenses? I can't make that leap. Go Vols!!!

shipperman#280095 writes:

I am ALL VOL, however, keep a couple of things in mind folks, this is not the first offense by Pearl. This is the third school where he has been investigated. Much as I love him as coach, there is a major problem here.
And to those who are calling for Hamilton's head, get over it. Big Jim likes him, and he is good at raising money, so don't bet the farm that Hamilton is going anywhere. Bruce on the other hand, if he gets suspended by the NCAA, is done.

I_cannt_spull_viry_woll writes:

The thing that KILLS ME about this whole situation is that this kind of stuff happens at EVERY SINGLE TOP 25 Program!!!!!!!!!

Pearl HAS to pull shenanigans like this to remain competitive. Some of you people need to pull your heads out of the sand and take a look around at College Athletics (Mostly Football and Basketball).

EVERY TOP 25 PROGRAM IN BOTH FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL BREAKS EVERY RECRUITING RULE!!!!

REGULARLY!!!!!!

Volumnus writes:

hmmmm, wonder what the NCAA has that no one knows about??? That is what worries me...

Dec. is bad timing....

Rather get this over and get on down the road...

miketn6 writes:

I like Pearl a lot, and he is a better game coach than a lot of people give him credit for. He didn't get his 80% winning percentage by playing inferior teams. It is disturbing that more bad information keeps leaking out. Today, for the first time, we find out Pearl knew it was a violation, told the kids before the violation was committed, and asked them to keep it to themselves, and then lied about it to the NCAA. That is just dumb. Pearl had to know he was busted before "coming clean". As much as I hate to say it, Pearl will probably be gone in 12 months. If so, hopefully Hammy takes the fall with him and we get a real AD.

FrostyVol writes:

CBP has made us relevant again in college hoops, for which i have waited it seems almost a lifetime. I do NOT want to return to the deep pool of mediocrity. I know you all remember those days. Crappy recruits, half filled arena etc.. Am i disappointed in what CBP did? heck yeah. Am i willing to overlook/forgive these transgressions because i want a winning hoops program? dang right. The primary offenses are straight NCAA BS technicalities. You can have a senior recruit at your home, but not a jr.? C'mon man. And the extra calls are a dime a dozen. The coverup was the big mistake, but it's hard for me to get real motivated over it. We all know why he did it, and many of us have been guilty of the same. We try to do better in our personal lives, and i trust Bruce will as well.

jakethevolguy writes:

I've know guys that have lied to their wives about that "pair of panties" in the back seat and didn't catch this much flack. Good grief. Give it a rest already. It's only the NCAA. Not a court of law.

tnseamstress writes:

I am very dissappointed in Bruce Pearl, should he be fired, I don't know. Seems the consequences he's already recieved is very severe. I've lost most respect for him now though. I thought he was beyond this. Guess I am really nieve!

bessy writes:

Good Grief! LET IT GO... Bruce is a good man, give him some peace and lets get ready to watch him what he does best...WIN!

Vol86 writes:

in response to jakethevolguy:

I've know guys that have lied to their wives about that "pair of panties" in the back seat and didn't catch this much flack. Good grief. Give it a rest already. It's only the NCAA. Not a court of law.

Say it turns out to be your wife's underwear, who would be in trouble than.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to Vol86:

Say it turns out to be your wife's underwear, who would be in trouble than.

If he had to keep her it would be him!! lol

orangeman1 writes:

in response to I_cannt_spull_viry_woll:

The thing that KILLS ME about this whole situation is that this kind of stuff happens at EVERY SINGLE TOP 25 Program!!!!!!!!!

Pearl HAS to pull shenanigans like this to remain competitive. Some of you people need to pull your heads out of the sand and take a look around at College Athletics (Mostly Football and Basketball).

EVERY TOP 25 PROGRAM IN BOTH FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL BREAKS EVERY RECRUITING RULE!!!!

REGULARLY!!!!!!

Care to provide proof that every top program breaks every recruiting rule? Everyone else is doing isnt an excuse after you get caught, by the way. Thats something you tell yourself before you get caught.

orangeman1 writes:

I love Bruce Pearl as UT's basketball coach, but I cant believe an adult who is supposed to be looking out for "his" players would knowingly tell Mcrae that he has violating NCAA rules by coming to his house , then leave it up the the 16 year old to make the decision. That just seems pretty low down. He jeopardized this kids future for his own personal gain knowingly. That just doesnt sit well with me and shouldnt sit well with any future recruits or their parents. If I had a kid being recruited, this incident would not make me feel comfortable that my 17 years olds best interests were being looked out for by the coach thats recruiting him

collegegrad writes:

Sorry,but after all that has happened with UT, I can not support a joke of an institution. In fact, I'm glad that I didn't attend it and went to a smaller college instead. If they'd had the guts, Pearl and Hamilton would've been fired and blacklisted from future coaching jobs for these violations.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to collegegrad:

Sorry,but after all that has happened with UT, I can not support a joke of an institution. In fact, I'm glad that I didn't attend it and went to a smaller college instead. If they'd had the guts, Pearl and Hamilton would've been fired and blacklisted from future coaching jobs for these violations.

We're glad you didn't attend UT as well. Good riddance.

Volfantm writes:

Wonder why some SEC boosters don't club together and put a private investigator on world wide Wes. Think that would dig up some dirt?

KevDVol writes:

Lying to the NCAA is one thing. Telling our recruits to lie is on a completely different level. He compromised his credibility and his job while also encouraging young adults to compromise their eligibility.

We have become just like any other "win at all costs" unethical program that we once criticized. Hamilton wants to save Pearl's job because basketball is the only major sport that has not become a disaster on his watch. His two biggest hires (Pearl and Kiffin) have brought the NCAA through our door and into our underwear drawer.

Because Pearl brought B-ball back from the dead, I'm willing to wait and see what the NCAA thinks first. But Hamilton gets no such pass. Baseball is basically dead. Football is on life support (hopefully on the mend). And, basketball is headed to jail.

Now that we've concluded our search for UT president, a new A.D. must be a consideration.

I_cannt_spull_viry_woll writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Care to provide proof that every top program breaks every recruiting rule? Everyone else is doing isnt an excuse after you get caught, by the way. Thats something you tell yourself before you get caught.

Well.....look at Memphis with Calipari or Oklahoma with Kelvin Sampson to start. Michigan with Steve Fisher.....Bill Self got to Kansas before he could be busted at Illinois....you could look at Pete Carroll at USC in Football....

and those were the guys that got caught. And that's off the top of my head in less than 5 minutes.

So if you're going down the road of 'It doesn't happen until I see it on Sportscenter'....that's extremely sheltered and just not based in reality.

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