Sources: UT escapes further NCAA sanctions; Bruce Pearl, ex-assistants not so lucky

But Pearl, 3 assistants not so lucky

Former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

More than two years since the NCAA began investigating its athletic program and nearly one year since the inquiry became public, the University of Tennessee received the closest thing to a happy ending Tuesday.

Its former men's basketball coaches, specifically Bruce Pearl, did not.

Other than what it has already self-imposed, the UT's men's basketball and football programs, which were initially accused of committing a combined 12 major violations, will not be hit with any further sanctions from the NCAA, multiple sources told the News Sentinel.

The multiple sources requested anonymity because the NCAA is set to announce the findings from June's Committee on Infractions hearing today.

Pearl will receive a three-year show-cause penalty while his three former assistants — Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes — all will receive a one-year show-cause penalty.

The two major violations levied against the football program were found to be secondary violations. Outside of the penalties UT self-sanctioned before June's hearing, no further punishment was levied against the UT program, former coach Lane Kiffin or former assistant David Reaves.

An NCAA spokesman didn't respond to phone calls Tuesday. UT spokeswoman Margie Nichols said she could not comment.

A "show-cause" penalty effectively prevents a coach from acquiring a job at an NCAA institution through the duration of its assigned length. If a school wants to hire a coach who is in the midst of serving a show-cause penalty, it must go before the Committee on Infractions to explain why it wants to do so. If approved, the school could potentially risk being hit with additional penalties from the committee.

Pearl said Tuesday that he had not been told the length of his penalty, only that he would learn his fate today. Jones, now the boys' basketball coach at Alcoa High School, heard the same from his attorney.

"I don't know what the penalties will be," Jones said, "but if it's true that we will receive a show-cause penalty for not being forthcoming, that's disappointing in light of the instructions we were given by the UT legal counsel."

Forbes is now the coach at Northwest Florida State College, a junior college, and Shay is one of his assistants.

Pearl said he's still mulling over a head-coaching offer from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League that's reportedly worth $500,000 a year.

"I am still in the decision-making process on that," Pearl said.

The "bump" violation committed by Pearl and Jones days after it was learned UT had received its Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA was not considered a major violation, according to sources.

Pearl and his assistants, though, are just the latest coaches accused of violating the NCAA's "principles of honesty" to receive show-cause penalties.

All four coaches were accused of providing misleading information and failing to protect the integrity of the investigation during their initial interviews with NCAA investigators regarding a photograph of Pearl and then-high school junior Aaron Craft taken inside Pearl's home.

All four coaches initially denied knowing the setting of the photograph. Immediately afterward, Pearl was overwhelmed with regret and requested a follow-up interview, where he admitted to "panicking" about the photograph and confessed to impermissibly hosting unofficial visitors at his home.

Kiffin, along with the various recruiting violations that were lumped into one all-encompassing major violation, had faced a charge of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failing to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several of his assistant coaches.

Before the June hearing, UT self-imposed two years of probation for the entire athletic department, along with various recruiting restrictions in both the men's basketball and football programs.

Also taken into consideration were the hefty salary reductions UT self-imposed on Pearl and his assistants last September, Pearl's eight-game suspension from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and, ultimately, the decision to fire Pearl and his assistants after the 2010-11 season.

The fallout from the investigation, both from a financial and reputation standpoint, has hit the athletic department hard.

Pearl and former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned in June, will eventually collect more than $2 million in buyout money from UT. Legal fees paid to the firm Bond, Schoeneck and King were at $317,178.06 as of last week.

The search to replace Hamilton remains ongoing, and the university has already paid at least $90,000 to Parker Executive Search to aid with the process.

Recently, new head football coach Derek Dooley said he and his assistants' recruiting efforts were hindered by the looming investigation.

The men's basketball program also faces significant hurdles under new coach Cuonzo Martin, but its future now appears rosier in the wake of Tuesday's rulings, as it escaped scholarship losses, further recruiting restrictions and a postseason ban.

"As long as there's no postseason ban, we'll be OK," Martin said at a May Big Orange Tipoff Club luncheon. "We can weather the storm.''

Mike Griffith contributed to this report. Follow Andrew Gribble at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 38

FearlessFreep writes:

As well he should.

The NCAA is going to start coming down on the coaches - hard.

oscar285 writes:

Someone enlighten me and forgive me if this info has been stated previously but do the "show cause" penalties pertain only to Div 1 programs?

Futurecoach16 writes:

in response to C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ha ha. That's funny, especially if you really are a Canes fan.

ArmyDad writes:

in response to oscar285:

Someone enlighten me and forgive me if this info has been stated previously but do the "show cause" penalties pertain only to Div 1 programs?

No, it applies to any NCAA member school - all divisions.

It doesn't affect NAIA member schools or junior colleges.

mdvol writes:

Was the earthquake on the east coast a preview of what is to come tomorrow??? I don't have a good feeling about this. However.....

VOLS start the season 4-0! (Georgia 0-2)

agentorange writes:

Who cares about basketball. Anyone know if football got anything?

voloffaith writes:

in response to mdvol:

Was the earthquake on the east coast a preview of what is to come tomorrow??? I don't have a good feeling about this. However.....

VOLS start the season 4-0! (Georgia 0-2)

Wow now you are already predicting the basketball season on this BASKETBALL article. Good start for VOLS pre SEC and not so good for Dawgs pre SEC huh?

hueypilot writes:

Gonna start coming down on coaches. Now . With Bruce. Not with Pete Carroll. Not with Jim Calhoun, but now with Bruce. How about Tressel? Will they give him a multi year penalty? I know Bruce did wrong. but the arbitrary and capricious nature of NCAA punishment is neither just nor fair. As if lying to the NCAA is the worst thing you can do, worse than buckets of cash or egregious violation of rules. The petulant NCAA gets pissed off and hammers a coach but doesn't lift a glove to the likes of Calhoun or Carroll. Like a spurned girlfriend or an ex wife. Ridiculous

collegegrad writes:

Well, he suffered his consequences and I hope now in the future that he will remember this phrase: Honesty is the best policy. I hope he will become a better coach as a result of this, although he'll be missed big time at UT.

mdvol writes:

I bet all the penalties get leaked sometime tonight. The only school watching with more interest than UT will be Ohio State.

AclockworkOrange writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Gonna start coming down on coaches. Now . With Bruce. Not with Pete Carroll. Not with Jim Calhoun, but now with Bruce. How about Tressel? Will they give him a multi year penalty? I know Bruce did wrong. but the arbitrary and capricious nature of NCAA punishment is neither just nor fair. As if lying to the NCAA is the worst thing you can do, worse than buckets of cash or egregious violation of rules. The petulant NCAA gets pissed off and hammers a coach but doesn't lift a glove to the likes of Calhoun or Carroll. Like a spurned girlfriend or an ex wife. Ridiculous

So what are you trying to insinuate? That the NCAA is biased against Tenn? Please, each individual case is different. Quit trying to compare apples to oranges.

LifetimeVolFan writes:

A multi-year suspension for Bruce is probably the right thing to do. BUT, it should be applied consistently with others, i.e., Calhoun, Tressel, and the bunch. Otherwise, it's simply a JOKE!

hueypilot writes:

in response to AclockworkOrange:

So what are you trying to insinuate? That the NCAA is biased against Tenn? Please, each individual case is different. Quit trying to compare apples to oranges.

I'm not insinuating anything. Insinuation is when you infer or suggest something . What I STATED was, the NCAA's administration of justice in the form of punishment is arbitrary and capricious. It is not even handed for whatever reason, and I did not infer or insinuate it was a bias against Tennessee but it's damned sure a bias against Bruce Pearl. That is the point I was trying to make. I'll explain it for you again. Obviously the NCAA copnsiders telling a lie to the NCAA about an insignificant event like having a kid at your house for a barbecue is to be much more egregious than the obvious play for pay that was going on at USC under Carroll or the multiple infractions involving all the coaches directly related to recruiting violations at Connecticut under Calhoun. They obviously consider that since the are taking a direct action against an individual directly affecting that person's right to earn a living. That reportedly is what they are doing to Pearl tho they took no such action against Carroll or Calhoun. That is what I was saying. Does that make it easier for you to understand?

Pullingguard writes:

in response to AclockworkOrange:

So what are you trying to insinuate? That the NCAA is biased against Tenn? Please, each individual case is different. Quit trying to compare apples to oranges.

No, maybe not biased, but he has a good point... It's factual that NCAA does not treat all teams the same... Just maybe they will come down hardere on Bruce is that he lied straight up. But, Calhoun got off easy, too easy.. and Pete Carroll left for Pro's and they could not do anything. But will be interesting on Tressel, for he misled the University and the NCAA, so lets see if THE OHIO STATE gets a break from the NCAA and in particular Jim Tressel..

mercuryvol writes:

Careful,ESPN isn't always the most reliable source (recall their recent Texas A&M joins the SEC scoop). If true though,the NCAA just guaranteed itself a steady parade of liars before any inquiry.

willposey writes:

"Show Cause"? What does that mean?

hallsguy writes:

in response to AclockworkOrange:

So what are you trying to insinuate? That the NCAA is biased against Tenn? Please, each individual case is different. Quit trying to compare apples to oranges.

I believe that the NCAA does show a bit of a bias.
How do you explain the Jim Calhouns,Pete Carrolls and others?
Tressell has always pushed a choirboy image and all the world is waiting to see how easy he gets off.How easy will Kiffin get off? Kiffin was probably the architect of the recruiting practices that got USC in trouble and it is under Carroll's supervision.Hope they slam Kiffin good.
I understand each case is different just like everything else but Bruce is relatively minor league in his transgressions compared to the others.His flamboyance made him wildly unpopular with the powers that be and other coaches. I'm not saying what he did was right because it was not but that popularity has a way of lightening things when it comes to penalties.

mercuryvol writes:

in response to willposey:

"Show Cause"? What does that mean?

I'm sure others will have a more detailed and factual answer,but basically any institution under the NCAA's authority has to accept the penalties associated with that coach's "sentence" when he is hired or "show cause" why those penalties should not be assessed on the hiring school. Basically, it makes the affected coach unhirable. Hope this helps.

hueypilot writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

No, maybe not biased, but he has a good point... It's factual that NCAA does not treat all teams the same... Just maybe they will come down hardere on Bruce is that he lied straight up. But, Calhoun got off easy, too easy.. and Pete Carroll left for Pro's and they could not do anything. But will be interesting on Tressel, for he misled the University and the NCAA, so lets see if THE OHIO STATE gets a break from the NCAA and in particular Jim Tressel..

I know Carroll went to the pros and they couldn't touch him there, but it seems if they wanted to be fair and even handed they would have still handed down some sort of penalty that might made it more difficult for him to spend two years in Seattle then jump back to say, Cal or Notre Dame. Their handling of the three different incidents (Pearl, Calhoun, Carroll) doesn't pass the smell test.

eaglehim2 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Gonna start coming down on coaches. Now . With Bruce. Not with Pete Carroll. Not with Jim Calhoun, but now with Bruce. How about Tressel? Will they give him a multi year penalty? I know Bruce did wrong. but the arbitrary and capricious nature of NCAA punishment is neither just nor fair. As if lying to the NCAA is the worst thing you can do, worse than buckets of cash or egregious violation of rules. The petulant NCAA gets pissed off and hammers a coach but doesn't lift a glove to the likes of Calhoun or Carroll. Like a spurned girlfriend or an ex wife. Ridiculous

Yes! You have hit the nail on the head. The NCAA is not even handed and fair. Their power is being misused The rules are impossible to follow and understand. All of this needs to be redefined and restarted from scratch.

VOLDoll writes:

The only one that cares about that sorry asz is his posse on here that worship his non coaching asz. I cant wait until the day we dont have to hear about this egotistical hypocrite.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

BP should never have been fired.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to WhitePineVol77:

BP should never have been fired.

BP should never have been HIRED.

volaholic45 writes:

Lessons to be learned:

1. Honesty is NOT the best policy, not when it comes to the NCAA. Deny, deny, deny (Caroll). When they catch you red-handed, get righteously indignant (Calhoun). There's no softening up the NCAA with self-imposed or conference-imposed penalties (UT, SEC in Pearl case). Blame others, lie through your teeth, whatever it takes to make it tougher (not easier) for the NCAA to pronounce the guilty verdict.

2. If you are one of those few elite schools whose sport is too important to the NCAA to harm (Ohio State in football, also Auburn but only in their Cam Newton NC year, Kentucky in basketball, a handful of others) you can pretty much get away with anything if you take just a little effort to keep up appearances (Auburn). The NCAA likes to stick it to the little guys to scare the big guys into compliance, but most know that game. Bruce, for example, is going to get the hammer because they don't like him. That's why his misdeeds have morphed into the holocaust, betrayal of Christ, and Lincoln assasination all rolled into one. Others have/will do much worse and get a slap on the wrist. Cam Newton, in contrast, simply played his way out of trouble. He was just too dang good and had too good a season not to get to play in the NC.

3. Don't get caught. If you can manage to not get caught long enough, and become successful enough, eventually the threat of penalties won't be as severe. Until then, if you do get caught, the penalties that come are just a cost of doing business. Take your medicine as one falsely accused and convicted, and learn from your mistakes and do better next time (note to Pearl - beware photographic documentation).

gohawks1 writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Gonna start coming down on coaches. Now . With Bruce. Not with Pete Carroll. Not with Jim Calhoun, but now with Bruce. How about Tressel? Will they give him a multi year penalty? I know Bruce did wrong. but the arbitrary and capricious nature of NCAA punishment is neither just nor fair. As if lying to the NCAA is the worst thing you can do, worse than buckets of cash or egregious violation of rules. The petulant NCAA gets pissed off and hammers a coach but doesn't lift a glove to the likes of Calhoun or Carroll. Like a spurned girlfriend or an ex wife. Ridiculous

What huey said.

Simply_Orange51 writes:

Something we have forgotten about a little bit.... the lawyer that represented the coaches on behalf of the university knew some things not shared with the coaches prior to that infamous interview. Lawyers don't keep information like that just to themselves - someone else knew about it other than the coaches and that implicates UT. Not that I want this to happen, I don't; but, don't be surprised if the hammer falls on the school as well. The school fired the coaches in hopes that the burden would be less. Getting out of this without a scratch, I'm not seeing it. Here's hoping I'm wrong......

Tennball writes:

in response to volaholic45:

Lessons to be learned:

1. Honesty is NOT the best policy, not when it comes to the NCAA. Deny, deny, deny (Caroll). When they catch you red-handed, get righteously indignant (Calhoun). There's no softening up the NCAA with self-imposed or conference-imposed penalties (UT, SEC in Pearl case). Blame others, lie through your teeth, whatever it takes to make it tougher (not easier) for the NCAA to pronounce the guilty verdict.

2. If you are one of those few elite schools whose sport is too important to the NCAA to harm (Ohio State in football, also Auburn but only in their Cam Newton NC year, Kentucky in basketball, a handful of others) you can pretty much get away with anything if you take just a little effort to keep up appearances (Auburn). The NCAA likes to stick it to the little guys to scare the big guys into compliance, but most know that game. Bruce, for example, is going to get the hammer because they don't like him. That's why his misdeeds have morphed into the holocaust, betrayal of Christ, and Lincoln assasination all rolled into one. Others have/will do much worse and get a slap on the wrist. Cam Newton, in contrast, simply played his way out of trouble. He was just too dang good and had too good a season not to get to play in the NC.

3. Don't get caught. If you can manage to not get caught long enough, and become successful enough, eventually the threat of penalties won't be as severe. Until then, if you do get caught, the penalties that come are just a cost of doing business. Take your medicine as one falsely accused and convicted, and learn from your mistakes and do better next time (note to Pearl - beware photographic documentation).

I agree with you completely. The NCAA had an opportunity to show that a coach who lied but was then completely forthcoming, well be it after the fact, is still honorable and should be treated as such. All they have done by this penalty is made it less likely anyone will be forthcoming in the future. What’s the point?

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to VOLDoll:

The only one that cares about that sorry asz is his posse on here that worship his non coaching asz. I cant wait until the day we dont have to hear about this egotistical hypocrite.

Oh no! The big bad witch is back and is as stupid as ever.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Oh no! The big bad witch is back and is as stupid as ever.

Bowling? yawn! yawn! yawn!
As boring as your comments. lol

CoverOrange writes:

in response to TheBigE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your facts are off. Clem Haskins, HC at Minnesota got 7 years. Kelvin Sampson got 5 years. Dave Bliss at Baylor got 10 years. All coaches subjected to the show cause penalty, except Sampson, were involved in money exchanges or fraudulent academics. Lying, though was a common denominator.

flatrock writes:

Maybe Pearl's family should consider sending him to Mayo Clinic for evaluation...

Madkels writes:

in response to agentorange:

Who cares about basketball. Anyone know if football got anything?

Some of us do. If you compare the football success to the basketball success over the past few years, basketball has carried the torch. Now both have dropped the torch and we are the laughing stock of the SEC.

brod writes:

no surprises to me on either pearl or the teams. now the basketball team will no longer have this distraction. hey agentorange. i care about basketball. and judging from the attendance at ut games over the last 6 years, a lot of other people around here do to.

JohnnyD writes:

Thank goodness this monster is off the streets for 3 years! Way to send a message NCAA!!!! You will teach these coaches not to mess with ya! No more hotdog cookouts, phone calls and text messages! And the most severe was the illegal "bump" where Pearl spoke with a recruit for 35 seconds longer than what was allowed! These are serious vioaltions!!! With all that being said...GO CANES!!!! Let me here ya CAM NEWTON!!!!! Woooooooooo $200,000 payments and hookers!!!!

samvol writes:

Good, got what he had coming.

manniesghost1903 writes:

The reason the NCAA is "honest and forthright" is because they have few former University of Miami athletic adminsitrators in their organization.

jkendall#231407 writes:

Bruce Pearl is still being blackballed from the coaches and NCAA since he taped a call with a prospective player about the player being offered a car by Ill or one of the "Shame Ten" schools and turned the infprmation into the NCAA

mocsandvolsfan writes:

yaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnn

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