Bruce Pearl won't appeal show-cause, serves barbecue

Former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, left, addresses members of the media in a press conference at his home in Knoxville on Thursday to comment on the punishment he received from the NCAA. 'I think it's best to accept this penalty and see what happens in the future, ' Pearl said.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, left, addresses members of the media in a press conference at his home in Knoxville on Thursday to comment on the punishment he received from the NCAA. "I think it's best to accept this penalty and see what happens in the future, " Pearl said.

Bruce Pearl responds to the NCAA infractions report and his 3-year show-cause penalty

The Bruce Pearl saga came full circle Thursday afternoon at the former Tennessee men’s basketball coach’s home.

The story of an NCAA investigation that began with charges of Pearl having impermissible contact with a recruit on Sept. 20, 2008, at a team barbecue at his house ended with Pearl’s makeshift press luncheon, where barbecue was once again served.

Pearl said he will not appeal the 3-year show-cause penalty he received in the NCAA infractions report released on Wednesday.

Pearl hopes the penalty — which prevents him from recruiting should a school hire him within the 3-year window — doesn’t permanently knock him out of college coaching.

“Three years is a long time,’’ said the 51-year-old Pearl, who was fired on March 21 in the wake of an NCAA investigation into recruiting improprieties. “I’ve been in coaching for 33 years, been on campuses trying to make a difference in young people’s lives.

“This is what I do for a living, it’s how I take care of my family,’’ he said. “This penalty is going put a hold on that ... I don’t know right now whether or not this is going to knock me out of the (college) game. I hope not.’’

Pearl, who coached at UT for six seasons, reiterated that he’s responsible for the unethical conduct charge and other violations that stemmed from the impermissible contact with then-recruit Aaron Craft that occurred at his home nearly three years ago.

“I was in control of that situation, and I didn’t handle things right at my house,’’ Pearl said. “Had I been more forthcoming in my interview (June 14, 2010) with the NCAA, we wouldn’t be here.’’

Pearl misled investigators in his initial interview when asked about a picture of him and Craft taken at his home on Sept. 20, 2008, that showed the impermissible contact with Craft at the barbecue.

Pearl requested a follow-up interview with the NCAA that was granted on Aug. 4, 2010.

Pearl, who was suspended by SEC commissioner Mike Slive for the first half of conference play last season (eight games), said the length of the show-cause penalty dealt out by the NCAA indicates his second interview wasn’t taken into account.

“I believe I should have gotten more credit for coming forward and telling the truth,’’ Pearl said. “But the damage that was done was too great.’’

Pearl contests the NCAA’s implication that he attempted to influence the testimony of Craft’s father, John, but he accepts why he was penalized for interfering with the investigation.

“On four or five occasions, the enforcement staff asked Mr. Craft if I tried to influence him, and he answered those questions by saying, ‘No, (Pearl) didn’t,’ ’’ Pearl said. “But just the fact that I called him violates the integrity of the investigation. Regardless of the wholesomeness of the conversation, I shouldn’t have called him. Case closed. That’s how the committee (on infractions) thinks, and I understand that.’’

Pearl said be believes the NCAA system, like any other, has flaws.

“If given the opportunity, I hope to be able to assist the NCAA in trying to make the process better,’’ Pearl said. “One of the ways I’m going to serve is by serving as an example.’’

But, Pearl added, the process of going through an NCAA investigation, hearing and penalty phase “takes too long,’’ and, he added, “the rulebook is too big.’’ Pearl also said there aren’t any guidelines for penalties and not enough levels/classifications of violations.

Pearl encouraged the NCAA enforcement staff to be more careful in Notice of Allegations when it alleges major violations.

Pearl, along with former UT associate head coach Tony Jones, was charged with a major violation in the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, released on Feb. 23, after incidental contact (a bump) occurred with a student-athlete at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy on Sept. 14.

The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, however, dismissed the charge in the final report.

“The timing of that charge led directly to the termination of my coaching staff,’’ Pearl said. “We were out there doing our jobs representing the university with an expectation to be judged as every other coach that was in that gym.

“Our chancellor and our athletic director went on record as saying that supposed bump violation was the beginning of the end for me,’’ he said. “I waited a lifetime for a job like Tennessee ... It was my hope our staff could have survived.’’

Pearl said he’s still considering an offer to coach the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League for a reported $500,000.

“I now have all the information I really need to make that decision,’’ Pearl said. “The great challenge is my family is here ... that’s extremely important to me and makes what appears to be a no-brainer decision tough.’’

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball and can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 87

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say "Cookout!" Witch Doctor never a good outcome when Yankees try to BBQ! Witch Doctor say wonder someone didnt lose an eye.
Bones never lie.

ReVolver writes:

'ninja' bump for the lose.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say "Cookout!" Witch Doctor never a good outcome when Yankees try to BBQ! Witch Doctor say wonder someone didnt lose an eye.
Bones never lie.

I have said the same thing myself, WD. "Cookout", not "BBQ".
BBQ is something very specific. It cheap meat cooked at a low temperature for a long time with smoke, making the cheap meat into a delicacy.
BBQ does not mean "anything cooked outside" as many Yankees believe.
Side note, I think it would be unethical for members of the press to accept a free meal from someone whom they are covering, so I hope none of the sportswriters in attendance indulged in the BBQ.

FWBVol writes:

This comment is not meant to be anything against Bruce Pearl, but I hope this is the last story we see about this incident and the Bruce Pearl era at UT.

It is time for all parties involved, Pearl, the former assistants, players, athletic department, adminstration and fans to move forward.

I'm glad Bruce has manned up and taken responsibility for his actions. I would also probably feel the penalty was too stiff if it happened to me.

I wish Bruce Pearl well and I appreciate all he did for the men's basketball program.

Now is the time to get behind Coach Martin as he tries to build his own legacy in Knoxville.

GBO!!!

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are cruel.Glad you are not a part of my life.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Volunatic:

I have said the same thing myself, WD. "Cookout", not "BBQ".
BBQ is something very specific. It cheap meat cooked at a low temperature for a long time with smoke, making the cheap meat into a delicacy.
BBQ does not mean "anything cooked outside" as many Yankees believe.
Side note, I think it would be unethical for members of the press to accept a free meal from someone whom they are covering, so I hope none of the sportswriters in attendance indulged in the BBQ.

Witch Doctor say they just dont get it. lol!
Bones never lie.

samvol writes:

bye bye birdie!!! LOL!!!

FearlessFreep writes:

It's best for this to just die down and all parties move on. The fact is that his actions AFTER THE FACT are the reason he got three years. As they always say, the cover up is always worse than the original offense.

I am grateful to Bruce for doing what I thought couldn't be done - put Tennessee basketball back on the map. But his actions in this entire mess aren't those of someone who I want representing the University anymore either.

Actions have consequences. I hope Bruce learns from his actions and goes on to finish out his career with dignity. But the stigma is now probably something that will follow him for the rest of his coaching days.

dlukinbeck writes:

I for one will not forget. I'll miss that guy tremendously on our sidelines. UT basketball is an actual program because of him and he'll be a timeless symbol of men's basketball in tenneseee. the good and the bad... in the end. we'll remember the great

voloffaith writes:

in response to samvol:

bye bye birdie!!! LOL!!!

Delightful movie enjoyed by many........

On topic,press conference and a meal what a deal...wait shall we call it a 'meal deal'?

hueypilot writes:

I wish Bruce all the best. He made Tennessee MEN'S basketball relevant again, energnized a student body and fan base, sold a ton of tickets, brought a lot of favorable publicity to UT, and, sadly, brought a lot of unfavorable publicity to Tennessee. In the final analysis, however, he admitted and showed that it wasn't the University, but himself, that was his undoing.

BTW, I don't know what that slug Patiently Waiting wrote that got censored, but I would hope it would get him the equivalent of a show-cause penalty for at least as long as Bruce.

eagle555 writes:

Brue is paying the price of being successful and being a nonconformist.

FWBVol writes:

in response to eagle555:

Brue is paying the price of being successful and being a nonconformist.

If you call lying to the NCAA being a nonconformist you are right.

VolzsFan writes:

Nice digs. For just $2.7 mill it can be yours.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to dlukinbeck:

I for one will not forget. I'll miss that guy tremendously on our sidelines. UT basketball is an actual program because of him and he'll be a timeless symbol of men's basketball in tenneseee. the good and the bad... in the end. we'll remember the great

A first class act and the guy who made Thompson Boling into what Stokley was under Mears. For those who easily forget what it was like in the intervening years between the two - Stay tuned.

You're about to see a repeat of the Thompson Boling Tomb Experience with Martin, and bi-annual beatdowns at the hands of Calipari, Donovan, and Stallings.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to eagle555:

Brue is paying the price of being successful and being a nonconformist.

If nonconformist = cheater, lier, and concealer then sure, okay.

He was also showing teenagers it's okay to cheat, lie, and conceal. What's the cool name for that?

Volunatic writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

If nonconformist = cheater, lier, and concealer then sure, okay.

He was also showing teenagers it's okay to cheat, lie, and conceal. What's the cool name for that?

"I was in control of that situation, and I didn't handle things right at my house," Pearl said. "Had I been more forthcoming in my interview (June 14, 2010) with the NCAA, we wouldn't be here."

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

A first class act and the guy who made Thompson Boling into what Stokley was under Mears. For those who easily forget what it was like in the intervening years between the two - Stay tuned.

You're about to see a repeat of the Thompson Boling Tomb Experience with Martin, and bi-annual beatdowns at the hands of Calipari, Donovan, and Stallings.

Please go away, bad person. Go. Away. Now.

volboy81 writes:

I hope all the people present at the BBQ were NCAA-approved, otherwise, somebody's going on probation!!!!

agentorange writes:

Nice free ad for his digs. Also funny poke at everyone by serving BBQ. If he got a 3 year show cause, Tressel should receive a lifetime ban. Glad its over.

ktm589 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VolunteerLifer writes:

Coach, you did the right thing by coming forward after the fact and coming clean, but you do not deserve more credit for that. First of all, you tried to influence Craft's father before doing so, and secondly, you came forward only after you realized you would be caught. So, coming forward when you did does not mitigate the offenses you committed, or anywhere close.

DonK37920 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

I have said the same thing myself, WD. "Cookout", not "BBQ".
BBQ is something very specific. It cheap meat cooked at a low temperature for a long time with smoke, making the cheap meat into a delicacy.
BBQ does not mean "anything cooked outside" as many Yankees believe.
Side note, I think it would be unethical for members of the press to accept a free meal from someone whom they are covering, so I hope none of the sportswriters in attendance indulged in the BBQ.

Volunatic and WD

Thanks for the posts. I always make it a point to "educate" people who misuse these terms because its insulting and disrespectful to true BBQ enthusiasts and southerners. If you cookout, you throw meat and possibly vegetables on a grill. If you BBQ, you slow cook meat for hours at a low temp. Cookouts are fine and can be tasty as well, its just not a BBQing!!!!!

Now if Pearl actually marinated meat the day before the cookout in question and then fired up his wood smoker and cooked meat for several hours at a low temp before the Craft's got there, then maybe he had a BBQ. Otherwise he served BBQ at a cookout.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

If nonconformist = cheater, lier, and concealer then sure, okay.

He was also showing teenagers it's okay to cheat, lie, and conceal. What's the cool name for that?

That cool name would be a college basketball or college football COACH. Wake up you FAN, they are ALL guilty. As a non player or coach you would not know that.

DonK37920 writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Volunatic and WD

Thanks for the posts. I always make it a point to "educate" people who misuse these terms because its insulting and disrespectful to true BBQ enthusiasts and southerners. If you cookout, you throw meat and possibly vegetables on a grill. If you BBQ, you slow cook meat for hours at a low temp. Cookouts are fine and can be tasty as well, its just not a BBQing!!!!!

Now if Pearl actually marinated meat the day before the cookout in question and then fired up his wood smoker and cooked meat for several hours at a low temp before the Craft's got there, then maybe he had a BBQ. Otherwise he served BBQ at a cookout.

Brings me to another questions. Did the NCAA ask Pearl if he had an illegal BBQ at his house? If so, he didn't lie unless he and the Crafts were slow cooking meat for several hours prior. He merely had a cookout where BBQ was served! Big Difference!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

A first class act and the guy who made Thompson Boling into what Stokley was under Mears. For those who easily forget what it was like in the intervening years between the two - Stay tuned.

You're about to see a repeat of the Thompson Boling Tomb Experience with Martin, and bi-annual beatdowns at the hands of Calipari, Donovan, and Stallings.

I thought we just clearly this school ground nanny nanny boo boo silliness up on the other post you made concerning:
"You're about to see a repeat of the Thompson Boling Tomb Experience with Martin, and bi-annual beatdowns at the hands of Calipari, Donovan, and Stallings."
I'll bet you stand up at weddings and announce this marriage WILL NEVER last...sure laughs and pointing of fingers are all around there as well...oh well...sorry but we made fun of you in my office....when you make statements like that though I'm sure you are use to it...

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Brings me to another questions. Did the NCAA ask Pearl if he had an illegal BBQ at his house? If so, he didn't lie unless he and the Crafts were slow cooking meat for several hours prior. He merely had a cookout where BBQ was served! Big Difference!

Witch Doctor wonder if he served Kosher meats(?) Witch Doctor know one thing Witch Doctor now craving slow cooked pig rubbed with herbs and spices....dang it! lol
Bones never lie.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

I think Pearl's got quite a sense of humor for having a press conference along with a cook-out! I wish him well in the future! I also wish lying was taken as seriously in the world of politics as it still is in college athletics! hmmm...Are you thinking?

spencer1989#206886 writes:

in response to FearlessFreep:

It's best for this to just die down and all parties move on. The fact is that his actions AFTER THE FACT are the reason he got three years. As they always say, the cover up is always worse than the original offense.

I am grateful to Bruce for doing what I thought couldn't be done - put Tennessee basketball back on the map. But his actions in this entire mess aren't those of someone who I want representing the University anymore either.

Actions have consequences. I hope Bruce learns from his actions and goes on to finish out his career with dignity. But the stigma is now probably something that will follow him for the rest of his coaching days.

"...the cover up is always worse than the original offense...."

Yep.....Just like watergate.....And another president we had.

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

standfast#211788 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

This comment is not meant to be anything against Bruce Pearl, but I hope this is the last story we see about this incident and the Bruce Pearl era at UT.

It is time for all parties involved, Pearl, the former assistants, players, athletic department, adminstration and fans to move forward.

I'm glad Bruce has manned up and taken responsibility for his actions. I would also probably feel the penalty was too stiff if it happened to me.

I wish Bruce Pearl well and I appreciate all he did for the men's basketball program.

Now is the time to get behind Coach Martin as he tries to build his own legacy in Knoxville.

GBO!!!

Amen. Well put. I was a big Bruce Pearl fan and appreciate the good things he did for UT, but it is time to move on. I wish Bruce well. GBO and Go Coach Martin.

CLEMSONVOL716WASBANNED writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say "Cookout!" Witch Doctor never a good outcome when Yankees try to BBQ! Witch Doctor say wonder someone didnt lose an eye.
Bones never lie.

Reminds me of the lyrics to a song.....

I like mine with lettuce and tomato..
Heinz 57 and french fried potatos...
A big kosher pickle and a cold draught beer...
Good gosh almighty which way do I steer....

For my "Cheeseburger in Paradise".....

FeelVol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Coach, you did the right thing by coming forward after the fact and coming clean, but you do not deserve more credit for that. First of all, you tried to influence Craft's father before doing so, and secondly, you came forward only after you realized you would be caught. So, coming forward when you did does not mitigate the offenses you committed, or anywhere close.

My thoughts exactly VolunteerLifer.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say really really disappointed in Bruce over this mess and he do it screwing up a Southern tradition. Witch Doctor now hear it pour Heinz 57 BBQ sauce over hamburgers, that the last straw for Witch Doctor...done.
Bones never lie.

leon writes:

I think that we must take into effect the character of those whom recruiters must work with, visit with, cater to, and throw BBQ parties for, in order to produce teams that fans demand.

I believe that most of them are corrupt. If they are not tainted to begin with, they will be, after a time spent working in the sty.

Volunatic writes:

in response to DonK37920:

Brings me to another questions. Did the NCAA ask Pearl if he had an illegal BBQ at his house? If so, he didn't lie unless he and the Crafts were slow cooking meat for several hours prior. He merely had a cookout where BBQ was served! Big Difference!

I like that angle. You could have represented the UT BB coaches a lot better than that Glazier guy did.

VFL00 writes:

3/4 of the people on here didn't know the first thing about Tennessee basketball before Pearl. Now they are all happy he is gone regardless of the fact that Tennessee was irrelevant before him. Maybe the ticket office should try selling some football tickets by packaging them with free basketball tickets. It'd be a better idea than the NASCAR deal.

EMBuckles writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say "Cookout!" Witch Doctor never a good outcome when Yankees try to BBQ! Witch Doctor say wonder someone didnt lose an eye.
Bones never lie.

What about your monkey brain pot pies, WD? Do you cook 'em IN the monkey or OUTSIDE of the monkey?! ;>

FWBVol writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't you mean, "Being a Vandy fan, I'm glad Pearl is gone?" The way you make it sound Pearl has been a Vandy fan.

You might be a Vandy fan, but there is no way you are a Vandy grad with sentence structure such as that.

Now you can tell your junior high school English teacher what you learned today.

As for the basketball side of it, I think Cuonzo Martin will hold his own against Vandy. We might be down a year or two until CCM can get his system in place, but basketball isn't rocket science. Martin comes from the same coach tree as Stallings so it will be interesting.

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

in response to VFL00:

3/4 of the people on here didn't know the first thing about Tennessee basketball before Pearl. Now they are all happy he is gone regardless of the fact that Tennessee was irrelevant before him. Maybe the ticket office should try selling some football tickets by packaging them with free basketball tickets. It'd be a better idea than the NASCAR deal.

Right on the money..These people remind me of the ones who lauded the hiring of Wade Houston. The only difference is, Houston, unlike Martin, came with a 5 star recruit. Pearl and Mears were and are Tennessee basketball.

secondcreek writes:

in response to VFL00:

3/4 of the people on here didn't know the first thing about Tennessee basketball before Pearl. Now they are all happy he is gone regardless of the fact that Tennessee was irrelevant before him. Maybe the ticket office should try selling some football tickets by packaging them with free basketball tickets. It'd be a better idea than the NASCAR deal.

I totally agree with your comments. Tennessee basketball was terrible between the DeVoe and Pearl eras with the exception of Green who was dumped despite taking the Vols to three NCAA appearance.

Sad to see so many people being smug and self-righteous and taking cheap shots at Pearl. Way to show your appreciation to someone who built the UT men's basketball program from a joke into a national powerhouse. Now under Martin we can celebrate the occasional NIT appearance followed by a first round exit as has been the pattern pre-Pearl and post-Green.

The NCAA completely overreacted in punishing Pearl so severely that he cannot even work in his profession for three years.

VolunteernGA writes:

Bruce and the other coaches need to face reality. He should have been fired the day he admitted he lied to the NCAA. Just a reminder, a number of people who have lied about similiar situation have ended up in jail. A three year show cause is a minor penalty based on the offense. If he had lied to a prosecutor, he would be in jail. Everyone has to wonder how many times he has done it before.

winbigvols14 writes:

What happens if Conzo doesn't win and Bruce is still in town in 3 years??????? I for one would want Pearl back. Not Tony Jones and the other assistant coaches, but Bruce is still loved by all in K-town. Conzo either way is gone in 3 years, if he wins he goes back up North to a job in the Big 10 or 12 or whatever it is and if he losses he will be gone in 3 years. Stay in town Coach Pearl and you can come back and walk the side lines for the Vols again.

tnluv2play writes:

Can we please move on? It was good while it lasted but it's over and done.

voloffaith writes:

in response to winbigvols14:

What happens if Conzo doesn't win and Bruce is still in town in 3 years??????? I for one would want Pearl back. Not Tony Jones and the other assistant coaches, but Bruce is still loved by all in K-town. Conzo either way is gone in 3 years, if he wins he goes back up North to a job in the Big 10 or 12 or whatever it is and if he losses he will be gone in 3 years. Stay in town Coach Pearl and you can come back and walk the side lines for the Vols again.

Fiasco here we come under this off the wall scenario. Recruiting with integrity in the home? No trust available to the man as he has tainted his name forever. Can he be forgiven? Sure. Deeds done forgotten? No. Anyone competing with him would bring up his storied past in a NY minute. Add to that the laughing stock UT would be for bringing back a proven liar that cost them in many ways. So the joke you suggested will remain that since there is no way you could be serious about his returning ever again.

brauhuff#295403 (Inactive) writes:

He got OVER punished 1 year 2 at the most is more appropriate and yes we are headed to a lot of .500 seasons again and Mike Hamilton should be ashamed and CM will be fine kinda like the good ole Buzz Peterson and Kevin O"Neal days. I can hardly wait just like I enjoy Derek Dooley because I missed the Bill Battle days

johnlg00 writes:

All the people crying gloom-and-doom for the Martin regime BEFORE HE HAS COACHED HIS FIRST GAME need to remember three things: 1) He completely turned the Missouri State program around--that is, worst to first in the conference--in just three years; 2) He signed late in the year while the NCAA was still looming over the program's head, so he could not POSSIBLY have recruited a big-time class for this year; and 3) The returning talent is not COMPLETELY lacking for THIS year--we will all be surprised how well those returning former 4-star recruits will play this year after being given a fresh start, and the Miller kid will be better than many expect right off the bat.

I will eat my words if Martin doesn't win WELL over half his games THIS year and fails to land any top-level recruits NEXT year. In the mean time, I am looking forward to a surprisingly good season, and seriously doubt the fan-hood of anyone calling him/herself a Vol fan who doesn't at least HOPE that will all come to pass.

thevoice writes:

So much for trying to appease the NCAA if ever he try a Show Cause hearing. I think the "In your face NCAA" Bar-B-Q sealed it. Smooth move Pearl. Not!

FeelVol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

All the people crying gloom-and-doom for the Martin regime BEFORE HE HAS COACHED HIS FIRST GAME need to remember three things: 1) He completely turned the Missouri State program around--that is, worst to first in the conference--in just three years; 2) He signed late in the year while the NCAA was still looming over the program's head, so he could not POSSIBLY have recruited a big-time class for this year; and 3) The returning talent is not COMPLETELY lacking for THIS year--we will all be surprised how well those returning former 4-star recruits will play this year after being given a fresh start, and the Miller kid will be better than many expect right off the bat.

I will eat my words if Martin doesn't win WELL over half his games THIS year and fails to land any top-level recruits NEXT year. In the mean time, I am looking forward to a surprisingly good season, and seriously doubt the fan-hood of anyone calling him/herself a Vol fan who doesn't at least HOPE that will all come to pass.

Thanks John,good post I agree we'll be pleasantly surprised with Coach Martin and his staff this year.

secondcreek writes:

in response to FeelVol:

Thanks John,good post I agree we'll be pleasantly surprised with Coach Martin and his staff this year.

Ummm...how many NCAA appearances did Missouri State have under Martin? None. He was hired out of desperation.

Either way, I hope he does well.

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