UT details two free tickets given to player's mother

Former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl didn't have direct involvement in the final secondary violation that led to his firing on March 21, according to information obtained Monday by the News Sentinel through a public records request.

Former director of basketball operations Ken Johnson provided two tickets to the mother of a current player for the March 6 home game against Kentucky, according to the school's report of institutional violations sent to the SEC office dated March 25.

“None of the coaches were aware that Ken was going to provide (the player) with tickets,'' the report states.

Pearl had been under intense scrutiny since Sept. 10 when UT revealed it had received a Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA.

Pearl's contract was terminated and he was suspended from off-campus recruiting for a year after it was disclosed he had provided false and misleading testimony to the NCAA in a June 14 interview involving impermissible contact with a recruit on an unofficial visit on Sept. 20, 2008.

Pearl requested and received another interview with the NCAA on Aug. 5, at which point he admitted he committed a violation by having three junior prospects at his West Knoxville home for a barbecue. One of the prospects, current Ohio State freshman Aaron Craft, had a picture of him and Pearl together, which served as the primary evidence in the NCAA's case.

After disclosing the contact violation – and Pearl's subsequent unethical conduct violation – UT athletic director Mike Hamilton and chancellor Jimmy Cheek said they would stand behind Pearl so long as there weren't any other major violations committed.

The NCAA later released a Notice of Allegations charging Pearl with what's commonly known as a “bump violation'' that allegedly occurred on Sept. 14 at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

The NCAA enforcement staff interpreted the bump as “major,'' providing another serious, unprecedented twist in the mounting case against Pearl.

UT plans to appeal the bump violation when it goes before the NCAA Committee on Infraction on June 10-11 in Indianapolis.

The ticket violation, however, has been settled.

UT players receive four complimentary tickets for home games, but the player - whose named was redacted - had already assigned his tickets when his mother called Johnson the morning of the game asking for two more.

According to the report, the player wasn't aware that Johnson provided his mother with tickets.

When the tickets were scanned, it was discovered that they were originally designated to Lady Vols basketball staff members.

Joe Arnone, UT's assistant athletics director for tickets, testified that Johnson requested the tickets because the Lady Vols were away competing in the SEC tournament.

Arnone told Johnson that he couldn't reprint the tickets unless the Lady Vols made the request.

Kathy Harston, the director of Lady Vols basketball operations, told Arnone that he could reprint their tickets and provide them to Johnson.

Johnson, however, didn't tell Arnone or Harston who the tickets were for.

When questioned on March 8 by Brad Bertani, UT's associate athletic director for compliance, Johnson cooperated fully and admitted who was provided the two tickets.

The report states “this was an isolated error,'' and that Johnson had never had prior issues nor violations with the NCAA.

“Ken confirmed that he was not directed to provide the tickets by anyone, and that this was the only time he has ever provided hard tickets to the family member of a student-athlete,'' the report said.

The player repaid the value of the two tickets ($60), and the money was donated to a charity. The player's eligibility has been reinstated based on his repayment in accordance with NCAA bylaws.

The report said the secondary violation could have been easily avoided; the player could have obtained complimentary tickets from two walk-on players who each only used two of their allotted tickets.

The UT compliance office met with players on March 7 and then the coaching staff on March 8 as a result of the violation to review the rules on complimentary tickets.

Pearl has not made any public comments since he was fired. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 122

Gbovol writes:

Heaven forbid. Call out the riot squad, they comitted the unpardonal sin.They (the NCAA) deserve the death sentence for their actions this past two years for dragging their feet with UT while rushing to judgment for Ohio State, Tressel and his players, Auburn and Newton. Oh wait, there were thousands of dollars involved in the last two cases. Even John Calhoon of UCon didn't recieve such treatment.

VolsFanInNC writes:

Really, he got fired for that?

phillyvol writes:

So Pearl knew nothing of this? Jeez. Does it come back on him because he should have been more proactive in instructing his colleagues about what is within guidelines? I bet he was p*ssed that this was the last straw. Oh well, what's done is done.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can only agree with the first part of your comment. For now, everyone needs to give Coach Martin their full support. Hamilton, on the other hand, has overstayed his welcome. Whether you like him or not, he has become a divisive distraction and is hurting UT athletics.

99gator writes:

i will paraphrase from jerry tarkanian (who is not the greatest person in the world to quote)

they were so mad at ohio state, connecticut, and auburn, that they put tennessee on probation.

thevoice writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What's Hammy got to do with this?

(intelligent response only)

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to thevoice:

What's Hammy got to do with this?

(intelligent response only)

Well,
Actually, the person involved in this incident worked for the Athletic Department, not Pearl. The Athletic Director is responsible for the conduct of persons in the Athletic Department as well as their knowledge of NCAA rules, including this person and Coach Pearl.

So in my mind, this IS Hamilton's fault. I also agree he needs to be fired, for a number of reasons, including this one.

Biggie writes:

in response to Tweetdriver63:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you would read the story and not just look at the pictures, you could answer your own question.

the58vol writes:

If there is any way possible, the NCAA will go the extra mile to make The VOLS the whipping boy for the transgressions of the "A list" schools for which they drool over!!!

Vol13 writes:

I wish the UTAD would just come out and say that Pearl was ultimately fired for the way this team performed this year. Let's just call it what it is and stop pretending. If this team would have gone to the Sweet Sixteen there is no way that they would have done a 180 from supporting Pearl. It is senseless now to try to come up with this bogus phooey to support the firing. Just tell the truth.

VOLsince68 writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

Well,
Actually, the person involved in this incident worked for the Athletic Department, not Pearl. The Athletic Director is responsible for the conduct of persons in the Athletic Department as well as their knowledge of NCAA rules, including this person and Coach Pearl.

So in my mind, this IS Hamilton's fault. I also agree he needs to be fired, for a number of reasons, including this one.

Great response. I agree with most on here that Hammy needs to move on. Yes, he is a great fund raiser (which is not a bad thing), but we need a true AD that actually understands the sports side of the business and not just how to raise money. I mean, does he really have to do a lot to raise money for this great university. C'mon man.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!

charlyand#601962 writes:

Just add up the things that we lost a great coach over and ask youself where the real problems lie at UT. I say start at the top and get rid of Cheek and then Hamilton. I will not be attending games this next season and will not watch on tv.

boonhower writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

Well,
Actually, the person involved in this incident worked for the Athletic Department, not Pearl. The Athletic Director is responsible for the conduct of persons in the Athletic Department as well as their knowledge of NCAA rules, including this person and Coach Pearl.

So in my mind, this IS Hamilton's fault. I also agree he needs to be fired, for a number of reasons, including this one.

I know this is picky, but CCM just named Houston Fancher the director of basketball operations so I would assume that Pearl was the one who hired the guy in the story who provided the tickets since he was the director of basketball operations. Either way, surely nobody thinks that this had anything to do with the firing except to provide window dressing for Hammy to fire Pearl.

boonhower writes:

And what exactly does a director of bball operations do? In other words, what is involved with directing the operations of basketball?

KnoxRugger writes:

This a big deal?
How often do tickets just get given away?
That's so dumb.
Watch next season the NCAA is going to start penalizing the cheerleaders for excessive celebration and cut scholarships out for that as well.

agentorange writes:

Hamilton's gift that keeps on giving. An aside...got a phone call from a guy in San Fran. that I haven't seen since 2005-06'ish. He went the Cal v. UT in Berkley. First thing he asked me: How have you guys not fired that AD?

VolunteerLifer writes:

Ordinarily, I wouldn't think this a big deal, either, but remember that after the ncaa gets through with crucifying Pearl, they will turn their attention to the program. They will ask: How much of all of this can be laid at the feet of "lack of instituional control?" Anything that is not directly related to Pearl will get lumped under that, and the more incidents there are, however minor, the more excuse they will have to come down on the program, independent of Pearl.

westknoxrepub writes:

I would wager that every program has at some point violated that rule. I would guess Summitt probably had that happen under her watch at least once.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

Personally, I think they fired Pearl for the "Williams failed drug test cover-up" or whatever it was.

Face it, as much as Pearl was a beloved figure, he was causing too much embarassment to UT.

TommyJack writes:

Thanks God for the NCAA to monitor this kind of dispicable behavior.

finn writes:

What's done is done at this point but Pearl essentially got life in prison for what amounted to a couple parking tickets. I know the NCAA can say their hands are clean regarding Bruce since they goaded UT into doing the dirty work for them but I sincerely hope Tressel gets drawn and quartered for his far more egregious violations.

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

in response to 99gator:

i will paraphrase from jerry tarkanian (who is not the greatest person in the world to quote)

they were so mad at ohio state, connecticut, and auburn, that they put tennessee on probation.

lol!!! that was great

marnel1958 writes:

in response to 99gator:

i will paraphrase from jerry tarkanian (who is not the greatest person in the world to quote)

they were so mad at ohio state, connecticut, and auburn, that they put tennessee on probation.

I don't care who you are, that is FUNNY!!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to 99gator:

i will paraphrase from jerry tarkanian (who is not the greatest person in the world to quote)

they were so mad at ohio state, connecticut, and auburn, that they put tennessee on probation.

ok i agree

flatrock writes:

in response to Vol13:

I wish the UTAD would just come out and say that Pearl was ultimately fired for the way this team performed this year. Let's just call it what it is and stop pretending. If this team would have gone to the Sweet Sixteen there is no way that they would have done a 180 from supporting Pearl. It is senseless now to try to come up with this bogus phooey to support the firing. Just tell the truth.

Pearl's fate was decided in early December- when the Vols were ranked in the top 10 nationally- and
when administration discovered there was more to the story than Mike Hamilton was telling them. The NCAA let them know that they would
hammer U.T. (including football), if U.T.
didn't cut Bruce loose. Many believe that
the NCAA has even more Bruce blunders and that
is why they are insisting that he appear before the Infractions Committee this summer. If more
does come out- and it is proven that Mike Hamilton buried it, U.T. will have a new A.D.
by July 4.

paradisetaxi writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I dont go to games for the AD or the coaches, I go because I support the kids that play the game ... Some of you people are really ignorant.

FearlessFreep writes:

Hamilton should have come out and just said why Pearl was fired - for lying to the NCAA (he should have been fired last June). Instead, revealing the trumped-up charge that it turns out Pearl had nothing to do with makes Hamilton look silly.
Hamilton has consistently found ways to screw things up - this is another example.

VictorKruger writes:

in response to boonhower:

And what exactly does a director of bball operations do? In other words, what is involved with directing the operations of basketball?

I've been wondering the same thing since Pearl hired Ken Johnson and I thought Ken was former NBA player Greg Ballard until well into the 2005-2006 season :>). I'm guessing that the "Director of Basketball Operations" is in charge the administrative aspect of the team, which IMHO should include a thorough knowledge of NCAA rules. Does anyone out there know what the job entails?

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to thevoice:

What's Hammy got to do with this?

(intelligent response only)

SEE IF YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THIS. "YOU" ARE THE STORE MANAGER AT WAL-MART. A SHOPLIFTER COMES IN AND STEALS A NEHI ORANGE. YOU WERE NOT AT WORK AND KNEW NOTHING OF IT. THE CORPORATE FOLKS DECIDE ITS YOUR FAULT AND FIRES YOU FOR IT. SOMETHING YOU HAD NOTHING DO WITH. HAMMY IS CORPORATE AND SHOULD BE TERMINATED FOR FIRING A MAN WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT WAS PUBLIZED AS THE LAST STRAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VFL00 writes:

Is this a surprise? Anyone could have figured out Pearl doesn't hand out the tickets to kids. This way just a way for Hamilton to make Pearl look bad before canning him.

easleychuck writes:

The height of cheating, I am so glad that the NCAA is here to catch this type of larceny. The thought of a mother seeing her son play ball using tickets that would otherwise go untaken. The shame, oh the shame.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I live too far away to go to many BB games. I try to get to as many football games as my health will let me. I already knew that I would never live to see another Football NC because of my Heart Disease. I was really hoping to at least see the Basketball Team maybe make it to the Final Four. The Tennessee Administration and Mike Hamilton took that dream away from me when they fired the best coach in the SEC for something we now find out that he knew nothing about. I have tore up my annual giving plan. Thats all I can do. I love the University of Tennessee more than anything else in my life. I hated to do it. But the people running our school now are not Vols for Life. Did Hamilton even get a Degree?

utchuckster writes:

Ya I belive a player did not go to a coach and ask for tickets, he ask someone else, the coaches had nothing to do with it get real
It is no big deal but don't ask me to drink that kool-aid

GOJO writes:

FLVOL79 writes:
in response to 99gator:

i will paraphrase from jerry tarkanian (who is not the greatest person in the world to quote)

they were so mad at ohio state, connecticut, and auburn, that they put tennessee on probation.
*****
that's funny!
.............................

- - - & evidently true.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

Go to UCONN is what this screams, they pay for toe surgery of high school athletes and get rewarded with playing the National title game, and no one on TV says a word about the infractions committed.

Or go to Kentucky so you can have a sit down hang out session with Jay Z and it's all good, I mean except for the NBA team he co-owns, they get hit with a 50k fine, but Calapari and UK are good to go.

Only in Tennessee or at the University of Tennessee are these sins crimes and the athletic director is evil, everywhere is it's business as normal.

SEC1 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to tnoutlaw2001#228008:

Go to UCONN is what this screams, they pay for toe surgery of high school athletes and get rewarded with playing the National title game, and no one on TV says a word about the infractions committed.

Or go to Kentucky so you can have a sit down hang out session with Jay Z and it's all good, I mean except for the NBA team he co-owns, they get hit with a 50k fine, but Calapari and UK are good to go.

Only in Tennessee or at the University of Tennessee are these sins crimes and the athletic director is evil, everywhere is it's business as normal.

Sums it up pretty well Outlaw. National and local media are like vultures when it comes to TN. Unbelievable the difference that has been made between Calhoun/Tressel and Pearl.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to phillyvol:

So Pearl knew nothing of this? Jeez. Does it come back on him because he should have been more proactive in instructing his colleagues about what is within guidelines? I bet he was p*ssed that this was the last straw. Oh well, what's done is done.

The whole dept. is and has to be responsible for this. UT/Pearl had committed major violations when he lied about the bbq and the excessive phone contacts. Everyone in the dept. at that point should have been threatened with their jobs to be extra careful and told to run everything through the compliance office if there was a circumstance that was out of the norm. How could this person not know that getting EXTRA tickets might be a violation? What is the point of a compliance office if this person chose not to use it? I liked Pearl and wish he could have stayed, but this violation was NOT the reason for his firing! Instead, it was the ATMOSPHERE surrounding this branch of the department!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We'll build statues to whoever we want for whatever reason we want. If you don't like it, go pound sand.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, you are narrow minded. No he didn't win the Heisman(should have) and no he didn't beat the Gators; however, he has been the best ambassador for UT in recent history. He may go down as the greatest QB in NFL history. We are proud of him. Multiple MVP's. Did I miss anything? No the world doesn't revolve around the Gators.

Catchone writes:

I think when Pearls book comes out this winter a lot of questions will be answered. I'm sure Pearl didn't cover up BWs drug test. Did he supervise the taking of the test, the lab work and all the paper work? Nobody else knew about the results? UT just didn't want to stand behind Pearl. They sold out to the threat of the NCAA unlike OSU, NC, Auburn and Oregon who stand behind their coaches. UT pays their football & basketball coaches less than Alabama pays their football coach. Welcome to the second division UT.

dislikethemtrolls writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MAC1, you keep that statue polished and don't worry bout the Vols, but oh wait. I forgot about your obsession.

lafollette37766 writes:

If Pearl had not been caught, had the NCAA not been snooping around this would not even be in the news. Those comp tickets are handed out left and right just like they are at all the other universities in this country.

mahabrando writes:

Clearly the high brass at UT gets rid of coaches that changed the program above and beyond anything it had ever seen over such horrible acts of unspeakable violation! *rolls eyes* geez.

I cringe over Hamilton and his amazing acts of hiring Kiffin and firing Pearl... kudos on so much FAIL.

Catchone writes:

By the way, Pearl will get his day in court this June. What if the NCAA slaps this wrist and send him on his way because Tressel is up for punishment next. Won't that be a kick in the @ss if Pearl is coaching at LSU next year. Remember they were just secondary violations!

IBAVolFan writes:

in response to tnoutlaw2001#228008:

Go to UCONN is what this screams, they pay for toe surgery of high school athletes and get rewarded with playing the National title game, and no one on TV says a word about the infractions committed.

Or go to Kentucky so you can have a sit down hang out session with Jay Z and it's all good, I mean except for the NBA team he co-owns, they get hit with a 50k fine, but Calapari and UK are good to go.

Only in Tennessee or at the University of Tennessee are these sins crimes and the athletic director is evil, everywhere is it's business as normal.

You are right. I kept waiting for that UConn timeline of infractions but they never did show it. Everytime UT was on TV they always showed the time line. Why not UConn?

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fire Fulmer again .

Pullingguard writes:

A lot of do about nothing... This is so trival and wrote about so much, and NCAA gets involved and lots of Money spent on WHAT???? No wonder this world is in terrible shape, and its whats wrong with college sports, trival phooey, what is wrong with getting the two tickets to someone Mom. They did not have to build two more seats, they were availabe, empty, and last but not least Bruce Pearl has taken enough phooey from the NCAA and everyone else, let it rest... And up the yang yang with the NCAA and their petty bunch of phooey....

Govolsinmemphica writes:

I wonder who "THE PLAYER" is?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say go stand in corner and think about what you posted.
Bones never lie.
go REAL Vols.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features