UT commitments sticking with embattled coach Bruce Pearl

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl talks to media about his penalty for misleading NCAA investigators in June of this year. At right is Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek. The press conference was held Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 in the Stokely Family Media Center in Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Michael Patrick

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl talks to media about his penalty for misleading NCAA investigators in June of this year. At right is Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek. The press conference was held Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 in the Stokely Family Media Center in Neyland Stadium.

Bruce Pearl comments on NCAA investigation

Athletic director, chancellor address NCAA investigation

University of Tennessee men's basketball Coach Bruce Pearl

Photo by Michael Patrick // Buy this photo

University of Tennessee men's basketball Coach Bruce Pearl

Bruce Pearl won't be allowed to make off-campus recruiting visits for one year, but two of his commitments for the signing class of 2011 are sticking with the embattled Tennessee men's basketball coach.

"Of course I am,'' said guard Kevin Ware of Rockdale County High in Conyers, Ga., who arrived in Knoxville for his official visit Friday, hours after UT announced multiple self-imposed penalties to the men's basketball program after receiving a letter of inquiry from the NCAA. "I know what kind of person Coach Pearl is, and Tennessee is a family to me - it's not just basketball.''

Chris Jones said he has no doubts about his decision. Jones led Memphis Melrose High School to the state championship last season before transferring to Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy .

"I'm still with Tennessee, and it doesn't affect me in any way,'' Jones said. "My relationship with the coaching staff is strong.''

Pearl admitted during Friday's news conference that he provided misleading information to the NCAA in his initial interview on June 14 before going to his administration a few days later to request another meeting with collegiate sports' governing body.

Pearl and his assistant coaches were interviewed by the NCAA again on Aug. 5 about a violation involving excessive phone calls.

The misleading testimony and phone violations led to self-imposed penalties that include a $1.5 million reduction in salary for Pearl over the next five years and a one-year suspension from off-campus recruiting duties. UT's assistant coaches also were subjected to a 25 percent pay cut and off-campus recruiting suspensions ranging from three months to a year.

The NCAA Enforcement staff is expected to send a letter of allegations to UT by the end of December, and from there the case goes into the summary disposition process or before the infractions committee.

"I should have been completely honest, and had I done that the severity of these penalties would have been considerably less,'' Pearl said. "It's not so much what we did; the worst thing was how we handled it.

"I think our team will respond to this adversity . . . (but) it will present some challenges, there's no question.''

Many have wondered how it will affect prospects, specifically, 6-foot-6 Memphis Melrose star Adonis Thomas.

Thomas made his official visit to UT this weekend.

Jones said he spoke with his former Melrose teammate by phone Saturday.

"I don't know what Adonis will decide, but I don't think what happened will affect him,'' said Jones, a 5-11 guard. "I know he told me he's having a nice time on his visit.''

Ware said he's hoping to talk with Thomas about joining the signing class.

"I know Tennessee is the best fit for me, and hopefully it will be a good fit for him,'' said the 6-3 Ware. "As for what happened with Coach Pearl, I appreciate it that he came out and was honest about the whole thing. He did the right thing in my eyes, and I'm proud to be a Vol.''

Jones, who heard about the news conference from his coach, agreed.

"That's the kind of guy Coach Pearl is,'' Jones said. "You know he's going to do the right thing, and I think it's a good thing he came back and told the whole story.''

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Comments » 88

cwbytruckers writes:

He did the right thing in the end. Thats all that matters right now. Keep it real CBP. Keep the cub-bard loaded and lets play some ball. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

tennrich1 writes:

Obviously, I wished it had never happened, but I am extremely please with the way Bruce has handled this....By the way, this is what the recruits love about him....His sincerity....You cant doubt that!

BillsBrother writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Still reading with the blue glasses on, huh catscratch?

Have someone read the article to you again.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I see your true colors have finally come out. You had some good, classy posts last yr. and now have done an about face. Did you not read that he admitted to Hamilton back in July what he had done? Just like Calimari, you have selective memory loss.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It bothers me that he did it. It bothers me that he lied about it. It bothers me that all of the assistants were involved. It bothers me that this is far from being over.

Bigger_Al writes:

I am with Bruce. He has been loyal to us, and I will be loyal to him. Everyone makes mistakes. Bigger Al has. Maybe even CatScratch isn't perfect.

Can't wait for Vols Hoops!

utfan15govols writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Look for news about Kentucky and NCAA investigation into basketball program next week. Involves a player they recruited but he didn't sign with UK, and it's not a talking on the phone too long either ;)

VOLKING writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yawn. Next loper please. Move along.

andy112382#209793 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A kentucky fan commenting on questionable recruiting? Funny stuff there given who your coach is....

CUSA_NEWS writes:

You guy really thought ya had a chance at landing Adonis?? HA!

walt23tn writes:

in response to andy112382#209793:

A kentucky fan commenting on questionable recruiting? Funny stuff there given who your coach is....

Thank you. It's so ironic a KY fan would make any comment, that it makes it hard to really come up with something. I'm in shock. A KY fan gets on an UT site and makes a comment about recruiting violations when Kanter is under investigation, and Bledsoe is being investigated. Nice touch Catscratch...idiot.

richvol writes:

There is no joy in Mudville...

newtonrail writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did your Mother drop you on your head as a baby?

BustaRhymes writes:

Bruce should be fired - and so should Hamilton - Pearl, Kiffin and that moron running our baseball program... We're quickly gaining the reputation as Scumbag U.

ChatBleu writes:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

proudveteran writes:

in response to cwbytruckers:

He did the right thing in the end. Thats all that matters right now. Keep it real CBP. Keep the cub-bard loaded and lets play some ball. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pearl had been on an "ego trip" since arriving at Tennessee. He knew what he was doing, lied to the NCAA about it, realized he was about to be exposed that would lead to his firing, then ONLY admitted his wrongs to save his butt with the big "tears display". I hope the NCAA pelalizes Pearl by supsending him from coaching UT for at least one year without pay. Worse yet was Pearls appearance at Thompson-Bowling areana yesterday "dragging" Pat Summit into it to help restore his image. Frankly, I would have hoped Summit would have told him, "You dug your own hole, now you get out of it!"

doh writes:

in response to ChatBleu:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

Hasn't been that successful? Has UT ever had success like this before he came? I dont think so.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to ChatBleu:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

Considering what the Vols went through in the '80s and most of the '90s, I'd definitely consider an elite eight in a 5 year period a success.

96VolGrad writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Does it not bother you that you are misinformed. He ratted himself out back in June on this. He didn't get caught.

ChatBleu writes:

in response to 96VolGrad:

Does it not bother you that you are misinformed. He ratted himself out back in June on this. He didn't get caught.

Well someone withheld the facts for 3 months since it happened in June and it's just now been made public. Personally if the NCAA hadn't started asking questions again and requesting more information I don't think it ever would have been made public and Pearl wouldn't have made his public apology.

TKO writes:

Shame someone could not have blamed it all on Raliegh.

Vol4life77 writes:

in response to ChatBleu:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

You wouldn't call an Elite 8 in 5 yrs a success? Seems like your bowling ball for a brain forgot that this was the 1st one in team history??? No one else has got us there and it takes a few yrs to get his own team in and get things rolling. This isn't KY who has had previous success and is easy to recruit to but he has done an excellent job building this program..seems to me that your a typical, cant never please me, fair weather vol fan..do us all a fav and find another team!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I ordinarily don't waste the time to reply to a DA like you, but this is ridiculous! USC got what they got because they were playing a key player who was paid to play. Pearl's infractions did not involve any players who played last season, and a few illegal phone calls are nowhere the same as six-figure payments and free housing for a player's family.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

I have been Bruce Pearl's biggest fan and supporter, but this lying sack of phooey has embarrassed The University of Tennessee and deserves to be fired. As my Dad used to say, " a man is only as good as his word."

FIELDGOALTN writes:

Cheaters R Us.

TommyJack writes:

in response to VOLKING:

Yawn. Next loper please. Move along.

docking "a little pay"? Are you serious. How about you go to work tomorrow and boss says we're docking you 25% this year? Hmmm?

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

I am with Bruce. He has been loyal to us, and I will be loyal to him. Everyone makes mistakes. Bigger Al has. Maybe even CatScratch isn't perfect.

Can't wait for Vols Hoops!

Pearl lied to the NCAA three times and is the only coach in America in any sport who did not get fired for doing the same thing. Disgraceful. Mike Hamilton should be fired with him.

TommyJack writes:

in response to FIELDGOALTN:

Cheaters R Us.

in the finals for dumbest post of the day.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to TommyJack:

docking "a little pay"? Are you serious. How about you go to work tomorrow and boss says we're docking you 25% this year? Hmmm?

He should have been fired for lying to the NCAA and disgracing our great school. He is very fortunate to still have a job.

speedkillz17 writes:

glad these guys are sticking with us. true vols. coach pearl made a stupid decision and i'm not making any excuses. but i think he is a really good guy. even good guys make poor choices. to the bone-heads calling for him to be fired, give me a break. pearl is a great coach and the best thing to happen to the bball program at ut. he did the right thing in coming forward even though had he been honest from the start all this could have been avoided. he deserves the punishments he's receiving. hopefully we don't get slammed to hard from the ncaa.

UkJarhead writes:

Funny how you people can't do anything without commenting on Kentucky... Change your school colors to green. Oh, that would not be appropriate with the beating the green just gave you at Neyland. It is quite enjoyable watching the Big Orange implode on all fronts.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

in response to TommyJack:

in the finals for dumbest post of the day.

Not dumb at all. That is exactly what Bruce and staff did. CHEATERS AND LIARS. If this had been any other school, you would be calling for their head. Bruce has disgraced our school and I want him gone. The only reason why you people are supporting him is that he has brought more success to Tennessee than any other coach. Now we know how. CHEATERS!

UkJarhead writes:

The painful truth is, Cal has NEVER been accused or found to have broken one single rule. ZERO infractions. Coach Pearl has already done more than that. You can make all the accusations you want. NO PROOF!!!!! Rose and Camby screwed up on their own and the school had to be held accountable. Cal didn't take Rose's ACT and Cal didn't buy Camby a necklace. It's just bad luck. But Cal is innocent. I have the t-shirt. It's not even going to be enjoyable ending the losing streak this year against this football team. Bad times in Rocky Top for sure.

FIELDGOALTN writes:

FIREBRUCEPEARL.com

aoneil66 writes:

Don't let Rose's brother flying on the UK charter for free (another violation that made D Rose ineligible) get in the way of a good argument defending Cal, huh? I'm sure Cal didn't see him on the plane. That must have been all D Rose too, just like the ACT test accusations.

Cal was dirty at Pitt, dirty at UMass, dirty at Memphis, and dirty at UK. What a coincidence that allegations and/or sanctions hit the schools Cal is coaching. At least he is smart enough to get out ahead of time, usually.

aoneil66 writes:

Correction - memphis charter, not UK

bbm writes:

"Pearl admitted...that he provided misleading information to the NCAA in his initial interview on June 14 before going to his administration a few days later to request another meeting with collegiate sport's governing body.

Pearl and his assistant coaches were interviewed by the NCAA again on Aug. 5..."

June 14 to August 5. If there was a significant delay between the time Pearl "fessed up" and the time UT reported it, they're screwed. Ditto if they were using unregistered phones, which shows malice aforethought.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to Vol4life77:

You wouldn't call an Elite 8 in 5 yrs a success? Seems like your bowling ball for a brain forgot that this was the 1st one in team history??? No one else has got us there and it takes a few yrs to get his own team in and get things rolling. This isn't KY who has had previous success and is easy to recruit to but he has done an excellent job building this program..seems to me that your a typical, cant never please me, fair weather vol fan..do us all a fav and find another team!!

Pearl has been very sucessful by any standards. He has been wildly sucessful by Tennessee standards.

He has failed miserably, as it turns out, in terms of matching my standards as a human being. I was his biggest supporter with the qualifier that 'you can't ever really know a celebrity.'

Turns out Pearl isn't so different form Kiffin or Calipari or Sampson. Justify it how you will, but my enthusiasm for Tennessee Basketball has been dulled tremendously. Honestly I believe he should be fired for ethical breach of contract (I assume they have a morality clause)as a statement for what the university stands for. Not the athletic department. The university. As a supposed place of elightenment, its time to back up what they teach in those ethics classes.

Bruce might eventually earn back my trust; we all make mistakes after all. I won't simply give him a pass on this though just as I don't give Calipari a pass.

Hopefully Hamilton can get things back under control at the university. If Hamilton is the root of the problem, then I hope he is gone within the week. I don't know Hamilton. I don't know if this is happening behind his back. But I sure hope its not systemic because I want to take pride in my university.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's obvious that you naysayers are going to knock anything that Tennessee does.

ANYTHING Bruce Pearl does is nothing, compared to Calipari.

NOTHING.

Pearl did not pay the players money, did not provide money, houses and freebies to either recruits or players, and he certainly didn't not permit contact with sports agents.

So he made too many phone calls, didn't report it and got caught once the audit caught it.

Despite WHEN he came clean, he did.

Now, naysayers.. move on, or move over.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

With Tennessee self-reporting phone calls, I wonder if we are reporting more serious violations in other programs.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to us43137415#376444:

It's obvious that you naysayers are going to knock anything that Tennessee does.

ANYTHING Bruce Pearl does is nothing, compared to Calipari.

NOTHING.

Pearl did not pay the players money, did not provide money, houses and freebies to either recruits or players, and he certainly didn't not permit contact with sports agents.

So he made too many phone calls, didn't report it and got caught once the audit caught it.

Despite WHEN he came clean, he did.

Now, naysayers.. move on, or move over.

Tried to edit out the extra "audit" in my post.. The N-S refused to let me take it out.. guess they thought it was good emphasis, so it's "audit audit."

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

The painful truth is, Cal has NEVER been accused or found to have broken one single rule. ZERO infractions. Coach Pearl has already done more than that. You can make all the accusations you want. NO PROOF!!!!! Rose and Camby screwed up on their own and the school had to be held accountable. Cal didn't take Rose's ACT and Cal didn't buy Camby a necklace. It's just bad luck. But Cal is innocent. I have the t-shirt. It's not even going to be enjoyable ending the losing streak this year against this football team. Bad times in Rocky Top for sure.

You know, I wanted to be a Marine, but I passed the ASFAB.

Cal is a cheatin fool, and to say that he's never been accused of infractions is about as truthful as saying that UK has a chance in hell of ever winning an SEC football championship.

TopTenn writes:

in response to ChatBleu:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

Name five coaches who have been to five straight tourneys in their first five years?

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

All of us have made mistakes. Most of us are lucky in the fact that we are not high profile and few if anyone ever finds out. It's a shame that CBP lied to the NCAA. However, there is probably none of us that knows the entire story. He is entitled to a second chance and an opportunity to redeem himself. Hopefully he will and continue to make Tennessee basketball successful in the future!

TopTenn writes:

Any one who has never lied raise your hand.

Nuthinbutorange writes:

in response to BigOrangeFreak:

You know, I wanted to be a Marine, but I passed the ASFAB.

Cal is a cheatin fool, and to say that he's never been accused of infractions is about as truthful as saying that UK has a chance in hell of ever winning an SEC football championship.

Nice post, BOF. BTW, it's ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). I'll salute this brick's service to his company, but he's in denial if he thinks Calimari is the paragon of virtue that UK fans seem to be fixated with. Truth is, UK fans would sign Satan to a five-year exclusive contract if it would get them a guaranteed Final Four appearance. Oh, wait, maybe they're already there....

murrayvol writes:

in response to FIELDGOALTN:

He should have been fired for lying to the NCAA and disgracing our great school. He is very fortunate to still have a job.

Naffy, is that you?

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I cant believe your even posting on here with that POS Ky has as a coach.what is Calimaris favorite move ? Just when the hammer gets ready to come down on a school he leaves.Sound familiar ? Ky will soon find that out.
Cal has left how many programs that has ended up on Probation ???

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to ChatBleu:

Pearl needs to go. He's caused enough damage and embarrassment to UT and to be truthful he hasn't been that successful. I wouldn't call one Elite Eight in 5 years a success. I don't know where everyone gets off saying he's a great recruiter. He is not. He's letting Calipari and a rookie coach in Memphis eat his lunch in recruiting battles.

Troll alert , I mean Idiot alert.
A rookie coach ate Pearls lunch in recruiting ? Where did that get Mempuss last year ?? A beat down in Mempuss by Pearl and what Tourney did the kitten get into last year ??

EMBuckles writes:

Back in the '70s, I often heard a number of things about MANY major college teams which left anything Coach Pearl was alleged to do in the dust! Even nowadays, I would risk a guess that there are probably still MANY teams doing things that the NCAA would not approve of and leaving anything that UT may have done or be doing "in the dust". I think that UT needed to do what it has done and then let Coach Pearl keep on being the excellent coach that he is and helping the Vols win basketball games.

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