The University of Tennessee can now close a chapter and move forward, it said Wednesday, its NCAA ordeal finally at an end.
That's only partially true.
Football came out fine. No major Lane Kiffin violations after all. The only penalty left to be enforced is that on Nov. 1 only five coaches can make recruiting calls instead of 10.
I don't think that will eliminate the Vols from the 2012 SEC championship game.
Basketball, however, is another story. Unless new coach Cuonzo Martin is a miracle-worker, the impact will be felt a while to come.
On the face of it, the only basketball penalty Martin inherits is being restricted from providing "occasional off-campus meals" to recruits during the 2011-12 school year.
No cookouts, no problem. The damage, however, from firing Bruce Pearl is more complex than an occasional meal.
More on that in a moment. First, let's survey the casualty list from this misadventure.
Pearl and his three assistants lost jobs at a major program. Their families are also punished. Their professional future is uncertain.
Mike Hamilton is out as athletic director. More than two months later, no successor is in sight.
The athletic department budget has taken a double hit. The legal bills to mount a defense to NCAA charges are staggering. Parker Executive Search has been engaged twice, to find a basketball coach and an AD.
Both of Pearl's 2011 recruits, Kevin Ware and Chris Jones, bailed. I won't count freshman Tobias Harris. He was probably going to jump to the NBA even if Pearl stayed.
I will count the relationships Pearl and his staff had built with recruits for 2012 and beyond. Who knows if a couple of blue-chippers would have ended up as Vols anyway, but the coaching change sabotaged any chance UT had.
This is no criticism of Martin. It's a statement about the difficulty of recruiting.
The Vols were going to be in rebuilding mode in 2011-12, even if none of this happened. The rebuild looks steeper now.
UT is right about it being time to close a chapter and move on now. The rebuild is Martin's chance to show what he can do.
In closing the Pearl Era, the NCAA statement added yet one more curious element to the former coach's already-curious Tennessee epitaph.
The big-deal "bump" at Oak Hill Academy last September wasn't even mentioned.
The NCAA enforcement staff felt compelled to label it a major violation in December. UT's administration used it as a face-saving excuse for its backtracking decision to fire Pearl in March.
"We didn't even find it,'' said Britton Banowsky, speaking for the Committee on Infractions during a teleconference. "Most of the allegations were admitted to and agreed to. This was disputed (by UT) in fact.
"Had it been found, it would have likely been a secondary violation.''
An interesting footnote, but all that's left now of the Pearl Era is the fallout. And that has the potential to be major rather than secondary.