UT penalizes Pearl, staff; salaries cut for giving inaccurate information to NCAA

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, left, Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek, center, and Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton during a press conference Friday, Sep. 10, 2010 to discuss the 'Letter of Inquiry' from the NCAA concerning basketball recruiting. The press conference was interrupted and by a fire alarm and then resumed.

Photo by Michael Patrick

University of Tennessee Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, left, Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek, center, and Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton during a press conference Friday, Sep. 10, 2010 to discuss the "Letter of Inquiry" from the NCAA concerning basketball recruiting. The press conference was interrupted and by a fire alarm and then resumed.

"I have no tolerable answer for why I didn't tell the truth. ... I let my family down, I let the university down, I let our fans down and I let my players down."

Bruce Pearl

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

The NCAA delivered its letter of inquiry to the University of Tennessee, and it didn't read well for the men's basketball program.

Head coach Bruce Pearl will lose $1.5 million in salary over the next five years and the $500,000 retention bonus he was due to receive in November 2012 will be deferred until June 2015 as part of UT's self-imposed penalties announced Friday.

"I provided incorrect and misleading information to the NCAA," a teary-eyed Pearl said at a hastily called news conference Friday afternoon at Neyland Stadium. "I have no tolerable answer for why I didn't tell the truth. ... I let my family down, I let the university down, I let our fans down and I let my players down.

"I have a responsibility to lead by example, and I should expect more from myself and so should you."

The news was better for the football program. There was no further disclosure of improprieties or self-imposed sanctions related to the investigation of the football Vols, and UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said he has been notified that the investigation is "substantially complete" unless other matters of substance come to light.

Pearl and members of his staff provided the inaccurate and incomplete information to the NCAA in interviews that centered around the basketball program making an excess of phone calls to prospective recruits.

The letter of inquiry listed the time frame for the possible recruiting violations as primarily during the 2008-09 through 2009-10 academic years.

Pearl, uncomfortable with his misleading testimony of June 14, approached the UT administration within days of that initial NCAA interview to confess to what Hamilton referred to as a "misstep in judgment."

Hamilton said he anticipates the NCAA will levy unethical conduct charges against Pearl and several members of his coaching staff.

Pearl and his staff underwent a second round of interviews with the NCAA on Aug. 5, after which Hamilton and UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, working under the counsel of attorney Mike Glazer of the Bond, Schoeneck and King law firm, set to work on a series of self-imposed sanctions.

"As soon as Mike Hamilton discovered the mistakes our basketball coaches made, he realized the seriousness of the instances, and together we began to work on a proactive plan to address the violations," Cheek said. "Bruce is our coach. We value the great work that he has done on the court and off the court. I have confidence that he will do the right things in the future.

"... But he has made some serious mistakes. As you can see, he is paying a heavy penalty for those mistakes.''

So are Pearl's assistant coaches. The three involved - associate head coach Tony Jones and assistant coaches Steve Forbes and Jason Shay - will suffer a 25 percent reduction in salaries. They will not be allowed to recruit off campus for periods ranging from three months to a year, depending on the coach.

Other self-imposed recruiting restrictions pertaining to Tennessee's 2010-11 recruiting calendar include a 33 percent reduction in permissible official visits, a 20 percent reduction in off-campus recruiting opportunities and no official visits will be allowed during the next two home football weekends (Florida, Sept. 17-18, and UAB, Sept. 24-25).

Hamilton indicated that in other such cases the NCAA has shown a "presumptive penalty" of a potential one-year suspension from coaching activities, though he noted that has been rare.

"It could be that more penalties will be levied against us," Hamilton said. "We certainly hope we have taken very strong action that will be viewed in the right way ... substantially enough to justify (the NCAA) not doing any more.

"There are no guarantees."

The NCAA enforcement staff has the intention of completing its investigation by December, according to the letter of inquiry.

"The second part is a potential notice of allegations," Hamilton said. "After notice of the allegations the process involves either a summary disposition (NCAA and the institution work together to arrive at final penalties) or (an appearance before) the committee on infractions."

Hamilton said if the process includes the committee on infractions, the potential dates for resolution would be February 2011 and April 2011.

"We won't know where we stand in that regard until that time comes," Hamilton said. "If anything else were to come to light they (NCAA) can continue the investigation as long as they feel they need to do so. But we have been given the indication that they (NCAA) are nearing conclusion."

The news conference was interrupted for several minutes Friday after a fire alarm went off in Neyland Stadium.

Pearl, meanwhile, was left with precious little time to prepare for one of his most pivotal recruiting weekends of the season.

Memphis Melrose forward Adonis Thomas, widely considered the top in-state prospect in the Class of 2011, arrived in Knoxville for his official visit Friday evening.

"We're still going to take our official visit, and Adonis will visit the campus, meet people and enjoy a good football game," said Eric Thomas, the father of the star prospect. "We haven't had a chance to talk about everything as a family; that's something we'll discuss in private."

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Comments » 96

KC_Vol writes:

The guy did what every Division I staff in the country does....made more phone calls to recruits than is allowed. It happens everywhere, every day and twice on Sunday. He screwed up when he lied. My mama told me to never lie.....but my daddy said, "Don't ever lie...unless you are pretty danged sure you're not going to caught" I'm upset with Pearl and his staff for lying (you know they all got together before the interviews and decided what they would say, but I stand behind Pearl and the whole staff. I believed with all the good that Pearl has done for UT and college basketball in general that the NCAA should accept the self-imposed penalties and end it there.

jack_2222#231746 writes:

Sounds like he knew he did wrong and then fessed up. Now he's accepting responsibility.

Tgordon writes:

I'll be the first to say Coach Pearl has done wonders for the program. By the same token he has been known to lay on the shady side of the tree now and again. Just sayin............

justincredible369#357762 writes:

Who Cares Go Vols

VOLKING writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Then he admitted it and is paying the price. Wish I could say the same for Slick Calimari. Remember when you were a decent poster? Me neither.

LiveFaith writes:

Ouch. Busted. Might as well accept it and humbly move ahead hoping for mercy.

VolCrazy writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kentucky fan casting the first stone. That's adorable.

Tgordon writes:

The NCAA is a joke that is becoming less and less funny. Why not just cut a check to college players for the real reason they are at the school. The day is fast coming when the college player is one who lacked the talent to jump from high school into the pros.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like I said on another post, you have to be kidding. Right? Your coach has had two schools put on probation due to his unethical behavior. Jeez. The pot calling the kettle black.

rudy123 writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I like Bruce but I don't think his conscious bothered him. I think that he knew that the NCAA would prove that he lied and he would be fired. He decided to come clean before he lost his job and was working at a Junior College next season.
Not the right reason to confess, but more a damage control move.

drfaustin writes:

Although a fan of another SEC school, I have always believed that Coach Pearl is a very good coach and a fine man. As regrettable as these events are, my opinion of him has not really changed because I believe he is sincerely sorry and he is a human being who makes mistakes like the rest of us. He will accept whatever punishment comes his way and then will continue to represent the University of Tennessee well.

Tgordon writes:

in response to SoCalGuy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your just a lowly troll hanging under our bridge. You have our pity and nothing else ;)

EaTn writes:

The honorable thing would be to resign.....

Tgordon writes:

in response to EaTn:

The honorable thing would be to resign.....

Yeah ok, lets execute the man for jaywalking. Your out of your depth anyway for bringing the word honorable into a discussion of college sports. Did you stray from the KNS political stories and end up here?

chbradshaw writes:

As of this morning, I would say 5 of the 7 "Most Embarrassing Days in UT Sports History" have occurred in the last 10 months.

In reverse chronological order...

1) September 10, 2010 - Bruce Pearl violations
2) July, 2010 - Bar Knoxville Brawl
3) January, 2010 - Lane Kiffin Departure
4) January, 2010 - Basketball Traffic Stop
5) November, 2009 - Pilot Armed Robbery
6) November, 1992 - Johnny Majors Firing
7) January, 1986 - Tony Robinson Arrest

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to EaTn:

The honorable thing would be to resign.....

Not when you fess up. It'll take more of a man to walk out and face the crowd every day. Resignation's too easy and frankly cowardice - a trait we Americans have become used to displaying.

Sauce writes:

That's it. I'm over it... I waited 10 years for UT to get from the sweet 16 to the elite 8.... it doesn't matter any more. Everybody cheats...now we do too. Ray Mears started something Woodruff and Dickey always hated. ....now we are done....

OwensboroVol writes:

Bruce Pearl is a good man who will be crucified for a small mistake at a big school. The truth is Tennessee is damn lucky to have him. I am a UT Grad and a Fan since 1958. I've seen them come and go. It should be Tennessee's honor to have him as their coach. I for one am proud to say that Bruce Pearl is our Basketball Coach.

HOSSFLY writes:

this is a storm to be weathered....albeit one we did not need. VOL fans have always had thick skin, and it's been thicken lately by football, baseball, and even the womens' basketball short commings. i am behind COACH PEARL, and hope he stays put and finishes the job he has started. i think he is smart enough to learn from his mistake. with that said, the ncaa is not done with us..... be prepared for a spanking.

BUT, this hamilton guy....is he the man for the job anymore ?? i'll be looking with great anticipation to the day PAT is ad.

GBO

Sauce writes:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... Same as it Ever Was......

give_him_6 writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LoL! And your coach Calamri has done far worse everywhere he goes. If I were you I'd stop worring about UT and focus on what he's done to your program there skippy!!

HOSSFLY writes:

in response to SoCalGuy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

get lost "sausage smoker"...........

Tennfan4075 writes:

All of this over to many phone calls, give me a break, with all that's going on in college athletics today the NCAA is investigating phone calls. Granted BP lied about something and he should not have done the lie, but the lies were brought on by insignificant and useless rules from the NCAA. How many phone calls is to many should be determined by the person receiving the calls. Everybody has cell phones and or caller ID, if the person or persons receiving the call thinks he or she is getting to many then don't answer the phone. How Mickey Mouse can the NCAA be? BP should not have lied, but after telling the lie stick to it man. GO BB VOLS AND BP.

Sauce writes:

What a precedent.... when is the last time a major college basketball program disciplined the head coach like this?.... this is bizarre........where are you Dr. Bizarre?

Kasey writes:

in response to jack_2222#231746:

Sounds like he knew he did wrong and then fessed up. Now he's accepting responsibility.

He's only accepting responsibility because he got caught. Mike Hamilton came up with this plan to short circuit the NCAA fines and punishment. I hope the NCAA sees it for what it is. Mike Hamilton needs to go. Too many of these problems under his watch. Pearl needs to accept whatever the NCAA dishes out and move on.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to Kasey:

He's only accepting responsibility because he got caught. Mike Hamilton came up with this plan to short circuit the NCAA fines and punishment. I hope the NCAA sees it for what it is. Mike Hamilton needs to go. Too many of these problems under his watch. Pearl needs to accept whatever the NCAA dishes out and move on.

Basically, the NCAA has had a microscope on the UT athletic department every since Mike Hamilton let Lane Kiffin and his merry band of mercenaries run crazy on the hill for 14 months. The NCAA started looking at us for the antics of Kiffin and Orgeron, then they started looking at everything else because in their eyes, Mike Hamilton is creating a culture of "lack of institutional control". More to come from this.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

Bruce Pearl is a good man who will be crucified for a small mistake at a big school. The truth is Tennessee is damn lucky to have him. I am a UT Grad and a Fan since 1958. I've seen them come and go. It should be Tennessee's honor to have him as their coach. I for one am proud to say that Bruce Pearl is our Basketball Coach.

I dont think the NCAA is after Pearl as much as they are making Mike Hamilton pay for not keeping a muzzle on Lane Kiffin and a sharp eye on Ed Orgeron. They perceive a "lack of institutional control", and when they sense that, they will hit every program you have. The NCAA has had a hard on for Ed O for years thanks to his stops at Miami, Ole Miss and USC.

utclassof1992 writes:

in response to SoCalGuy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Uhh, you guys hired Lane Kiffin. He's got your soul now! GTFO!

oneshot writes:

He provided "incorrect and misleading information". Isn't that a nice way of saying that he LIED??

garycg writes:

in response to EaTn:

The honorable thing would be to resign.....

Hopefully you will resign from coming here

elizabeths963 writes:

in response to rudy123:

I like Bruce but I don't think his conscious bothered him. I think that he knew that the NCAA would prove that he lied and he would be fired. He decided to come clean before he lost his job and was working at a Junior College next season.
Not the right reason to confess, but more a damage control move.

I agree! I think we've just seen the "real" Bruce Pearl. Interesting that he came clean (in June) during the Republican primary and after endorsing Mayor Haslam in which he technically broke the state's Little Hatch Act. But, UT let him get away with that and you have to wonder if UT timed the press conference after the election.

zqvol writes:

in response to chbradshaw:

As of this morning, I would say 5 of the 7 "Most Embarrassing Days in UT Sports History" have occurred in the last 10 months.

In reverse chronological order...

1) September 10, 2010 - Bruce Pearl violations
2) July, 2010 - Bar Knoxville Brawl
3) January, 2010 - Lane Kiffin Departure
4) January, 2010 - Basketball Traffic Stop
5) November, 2009 - Pilot Armed Robbery
6) November, 1992 - Johnny Majors Firing
7) January, 1986 - Tony Robinson Arrest

Not bad except that I would replace the John Majors firing with the John Majors hiring.

SEC1 writes:

OK Fulmer you can return to the witch doctor to reverse the curse on ut athletics.

vol88 writes:

Pearl really let us down on this one. I will get over it, but it will take more than a teary presser to do it.

vol98champ writes:

Which costs more? Too many phone calls or expensive sports cars and free room and board at a million dollar condo? Everybody lies. It takes a real man to come clean and not try to cover it up. If usc got off with what I call minor slaps on the wrist, we should get a medal for bringing sunlight into the dirtyest business in the country, NCAA sports.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stop with the "copy/paste" nonsense.

nola_vol writes:

in response to Nivram:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nobody can keep their personal and professional affairs separate. Really.

The most notable exception would seem to be politicians... but then again, their profession IS deceiving people.

Keeping something out of the media is not the same as keeping it personally contained. A wise, old book says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

elmoe writes:

in response to chbradshaw:

As of this morning, I would say 5 of the 7 "Most Embarrassing Days in UT Sports History" have occurred in the last 10 months.

In reverse chronological order...

1) September 10, 2010 - Bruce Pearl violations
2) July, 2010 - Bar Knoxville Brawl
3) January, 2010 - Lane Kiffin Departure
4) January, 2010 - Basketball Traffic Stop
5) November, 2009 - Pilot Armed Robbery
6) November, 1992 - Johnny Majors Firing
7) January, 1986 - Tony Robinson Arrest

Tennesee RB Reggie Cobb finally getting kicked out of school after his fourth positive drug test in 1989. "Not even great running backs at UT get a fifth chance," quipped one writer.

EaTn writes:

in response to garycg:

Hopefully you will resign from coming here

Oh I read the section every now and then to get a laugh from folks who obviously don't read much of anything else.

tenecvol4 writes:

in response to SoCalGuy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must be kidding - Get the Heisman out of the trophy case

The case centered on the actions of two former Southern California athletes, the football player Reggie Bush, a winner of the Heisman Trophy, and the basketball star O.J. Mayo. The athletes, both of whom now play in the professional leagues, were accused of accepting cash and other gifts from sports agents in violation of NCAA regulations.

The NCAA said the university, meanwhile, was lax in its oversight of its coaching staff in the football and men's basketball programs and the overall environment in the athletics department. For this reason, it imposed a four-year probation on the Trojans' entire athletics program for a lack of institutional control.

Duh - and now you have Lame -- it will get real bad for The Land of the Fruits and Nuts

cloudodust writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Spoken like one that truly knows alot about lying, cheating coaches. Thanks for your input. We appreciate your first hand knowledge on the subject.

vol_till_i_die writes:

in response to EaTn:

The honorable thing would be to resign.....

Why would he resign when he made one TINY mistake? That would make this situation SO much harder. Besides, Bruce Pearl is the greatest basketball coach in TN history.

N_Knox_Vol writes:

Enough is enough from the UT athletic Department.

1. Revoking my scheduled contribution in protest.
2. HIRE A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT! No oversight of the AD spells trouble, OBVIOUSLY!
3. Fire Hamilton.
4. Fire Pearl.

CCLC writes:

in response to johnmessner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't want to hear it.

CCLC writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

In all honesty, there wasn't too much Hamilton could do after it came out Pearl lied to the NCAA during the investigation. You can do all kinds of stuff, like beat down people (but not sell jerseys) and not draw much institutional ire from the boys in Indy. Lying to them, that is a whole different ball of wax.

The result:

"Hamilton is reducing Pearl's pay by $1.5 million over five years and prohibiting him from participating in off-campus recruiting for one year."

The assistants are taking 25% pay cuts and will have recruiting restrictions, too.

The upside for Georgia is obvious. Pearl has made a living recruiting the Atlanta AAU circuit. Now, he'll not be doing any of that, nor does it look like many of his assistants will, either. The door is wide open for Coach Fox to make significant inroads in that area now.

skm writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and then turned himself in and took penalties. your coach will never admit his cheating now will he?

btw, you're a loser

cloudodust writes:

Another nail for Hammy. Like it or not, the AD is building a solid resume for dismissal. GBO and goose a Duck...

literate writes:

In both his personal and professional lives he is a liar and a cheat.
The community needs fewer people of such inferior character and integrity in positions of authority or power.
Be gone Pearl. You are a toad.

schymtz writes:

in response to zqvol:

Not bad except that I would replace the John Majors firing with the John Majors hiring.

Amen

lahvolman2 writes:

I just saw the coach pull up in front of the athletic department....Pat got out ..walked in and came back out carrying the GLASS SLIPPER... got back in the coach and rode off.... no one will ever REALLY trust him again.... Mike Hamilton is a travesty to college sports in general and to UT in particular.....

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