NCAA confirms half-truths, lies and violations in UT men's basketball

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Raw video: Don DeVoe comments on Bruce Pearl and NCAA allegations

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl yells to his team during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Lexington, Ky.

Photo by AP Photo / Ed Reinke

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl yells to his team during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Lexington, Ky.

The Notice of Allegations released Wednesday revealed the NCAA enforcement staff’s interpretation of half-truths, lies and violations committed within the Tennessee men’s basketball program.

Still to come are the consequences as determined by the NCAA, and how they might affect coach Bruce Pearl’s future.

UT has 90 days to respond in writing to the allegations — 10 basketball-related and nine major — that were detailed in the 26-page report.

UT will appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on June 10-11 in Indianapolis. The committee would then make the conclusions on the violations.

The announcement of the NCAA’s sanctions on the program will follow, likely in late fall based on the time line in Connecticut’s recently concluded men’s basketball case.

Penalties in another similar NCAA case, involving the Chattanooga men’s basketball team, suggest the Vols will likely be placed on probation and lose scholarships at a minimum.

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said when UT received its letter of inquiry on Sept. 10 that there’s a possibility Pearl could be suspended from his coaching duties for a year.

Hamilton has since said that UT could retain Pearl even if the NCAA suspends Pearl for a year.

“It’s our intention to keep him,’’ Hamilton said on Feb. 16. “Unless there’s something (severe violation) out there we’re unaware of.’’

Hamilton released a statement Wednesday indicating there weren’t many surprises in the report.

“... most items noted in this document have already been reported broadly,’’ Hamilton’s statement said.

The one basketball-related violation in the Notice of Allegations that hadn’t been reported involves Pearl and UT associate head coach Tony Jones making an in-person, off-campus contact with prospect Jordan Adams at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy on Sept. 14, 2010.

The Notice of Allegations requests “a statement (from UT) indicating the reasons Pearl and Jones made an impermissible contact with Adams in light of NCAA legislation prohibiting such contacts.’’

Two sources in the UT athletic department who requested anonymity because of the NCAA case has not been completed, said Hamilton has been aware of the so-called “bump” violation, which refers to an unintentional impermissible contact. The sources said UT’s compliance department deemed it wasn’t a violation, and so it wasn’t self-reported.

The sources said Tennessee will likely appeal the violation in its response letter to the NCAA within the next 90 days.

Four of the other eight major violations are directly related to testimony from Pearl and his three assistant coaches — Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay — involving a Sept. 20, 2008 cookout at Pearl’s home that three junior prospects on unofficial visits attended.

The prospects, all UT verbal commitments at the time, were Aaron Craft (now at Ohio State), Josh Selby (now at Kansas) and UT freshman Jordan McRae.

A photo of Pearl and Craft was taken at the cookout and surfaced as evidence of a violation, as off-campus contact is not allowed during an official visit.

When shown the black-and-white reproduced photo in an initial interview with NCAA investigators on June 14, 2010, Pearl and his assistants denied having absolute knowledge of where the photo was taken.

Pearl later requested a second interview with the NCAA, conducted Aug. 5, 2010, during which he admitted to knowing the photo was taken at his home.

That led to an unethical conduct charge being levied against Pearl for his false and misleading testimony in the original NCAA interview.

UT revealed on Sept. 10 a list of self-imposed severe and unprecedented sanctions as a result of Pearl’s tainted testimony.

Among the penalties has been a 25 percent reduction in all four coaches’ salaries, including Pearl’s $1.5 million loss to be taken out over the next five years, and off-campus recruiting bans of varying length for each of the coaches.

Beginning on Sept. 24, 2010, Pearl and Forbes were suspended for a year, Jones for nine months and Shay for three months.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive took further unprecedented action in November, issuing Pearl an eight-game league suspension that took place from Jan. 8 to Feb. 5. Jones assumed game-day head coaching duties in Pearl’s absence, posting a 5-3 SEC mark during that period.

Pearl, who has been working under a Letter of Appointment after his contract was terminated by UT as a result of the ongoing NCAA case, issued a statement on Wednesday.

“The penalties imposed on our program have been severe ...,’’ Pearl’s statement said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve the University of Tennessee, and everyone in our basketball program is finding ways to improve every day.’’

UT and Pearl have been in negotiations to complete a new contract since October, but as time passed it became apparent a deal wouldn’t be concluded prior to the receipt of the Notice of Allegations.

The three assistant coaches have been charged with a “failure to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation.’’

While severe and perhaps even major in nature, the charge the assistants face is considerably lighter than a show cause penalty would have been.

Any school wanting to hire a coach served with an active show cause designation must appear before the NCAA infractions committee and potentially face new sanctions.

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

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Comments » 22

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor worried about this one..
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor worried about this one..
Bones never lie.

*the Bump violation

agohn writes:

First...I'm happy Kiffin is getting what he deserves.

Second...I have no issue with Bruce and the Boys making contact with recruits at anytime throughout the year. The NCAA should be happy these coaches are trying to steer kids to college.

As a matter of fact, I have no problems if we had to pay these kids a stipend to come, steroids or hgh in any sport, or the kids that smoke reefer. If you want to do those things to your body, fine do them. Or a kid's mom and dad are so poor they need a house close to campus and their son/daughter...so be it, I would hope our boosters would do that. Also, It makes the entertainment better.

I don't think Bruce and the Boys did anything unethical. And if this tidbit helps all the ones who don't know or understand who I am...If I were a superhero, I would definitely be evil. Not towards animals or kids.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

*the Bump violation

With the few details given, sounds like that falls squarely on the compliance department's head. If it truly was a "unintended bump"

vols37 writes:

Wake up Tennessee fans. Until everyone admits that Mike Hamilton is the one common denominator don't expect different results. I can't believe more UT fans aren't outraged at the kind of athletic program this guy runs. Quit complaining when no one seems to be willing to get rid of the problem. Mike Hamilton.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say after months of wild guessing(just like KNS)Witch Doctor called this BUMP violation(wild guess..but still pretty damn good) Witch Doctor say scroll down the comments and read it and weep Basillo!
http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2010/d...

Bones never lie.

DooleysOrangePants writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

*the Bump violation

wonder if pearl could get saben to teach him the correct way to "bump" into a player at thier school?
got to keep bruce reguardless. ut basketball was non-existent before he got here. and will be after he's gone.

DoolanderVol (Inactive) writes:

After reading this....Tennessee has to get rid of Pearl. I will not however come on here and comment of every post saying Pearl needs to go like Mr. Pearl and VolDoll for two reasons.

1. Unlike them I actually have a life and don't have time to comment on every single article on hear.

2. It gets really annoying reading the same thing over and over from Mr. Pearl and VolDoll.

I said what I needed to say. There is no need to repeat myself.

mhsvol writes:

Since UT and Pearl have already admitted that all the violations are true, then why bother with a response to them? What are they going to say - "Oh, we thought if we admitted these allegations were all true, then they would all go away?"

All this drama and dragging this thing out will do more harm to the BB program than anything. While all this festers for the next three months, recruiting will basically be shut down, because no one will make any kind of commitment to a program with this kind of stuff hanging over it.

I say go to the NCAA Committee in April, suck it up, and get it over with. The final outcome won't be any different.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

My goodness. I understand the need to recruit, but why would you put yourself (and the UT basketball program) in the position for a "bump violation" 4 days after the UT Press Conference announcing the charges and where Pearl confesssed and cried?

I don't doubt that it was truly accidental, but it certainly lends the appearance of it possibly being intentional. Poor judgment.

RoadTrip writes:

Clay Travis' take on the whole thing.

http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2011...

tomkats3242 writes:

in response to vols37:

Wake up Tennessee fans. Until everyone admits that Mike Hamilton is the one common denominator don't expect different results. I can't believe more UT fans aren't outraged at the kind of athletic program this guy runs. Quit complaining when no one seems to be willing to get rid of the problem. Mike Hamilton.

If the President of UT does not take actions against Mike Hamilton than he should be replaced. It is about time someone is held accountable for what has taken place the past six years at UT. FIRE HAMILTON

bobbytodd writes:

in response to vols37:

Wake up Tennessee fans. Until everyone admits that Mike Hamilton is the one common denominator don't expect different results. I can't believe more UT fans aren't outraged at the kind of athletic program this guy runs. Quit complaining when no one seems to be willing to get rid of the problem. Mike Hamilton.

Pathetic excuse. You don't know jack about him. That's like me wanting your boss fired. I can tell you are a moron but I don't think your boss should pay for it.

Titan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Clay Travis' take on the whole thing.

http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2011...

So is this Clay's way of trying to save face after he came out with his report a couple weeks ago based on his "source"? Now he's saying that he was right at the time but then UT got it changed? Very creative.

GameTime writes:

Can't believe Hamilton is getting a free ride on this. Three key programs under investigation at the same time??!! Hiring the worst fit for football coach (Kiffen) in the history of the school??!! Major violations in two major sports programs!! Why hasn't he been disciplined or released!!

eduardo writes:

The bump rule what a ridiculous statement. This is the most bogus thing I have or anyone has ever heard of. If you see someone coming down the hall and he is a top notch player get away from him and by all means dont stop and talk to him. Get the heck away from us NCAA and get your tails up to Lexington, KY and see where the REAL cheating is going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way nice game kenlucky!!!

eduardo writes:

And someone tell that dude over at ESPN that is hammmering Hammy about naming streets that Hammy didnt have anything to all of that craziness. That was done by the tall guy DAD and our lousy mayor at that time VA.

flatrock writes:

Not sure why Bruce and Tony would get within sniffing distance of a violation 4 days after
the press conference.
He has done a nice job at UT, but has he gotten
too impressed with himself?

VolMoment writes:

Those blaming Hamilton must have perfect kids, siblings and parents who never did anything because you were with them everyday holding their hands. You are the biggest nuts and are not true fans, just a small person whose wife beats you every day!!!

iowavol writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

If the President of UT does not take actions against Mike Hamilton than he should be replaced. It is about time someone is held accountable for what has taken place the past six years at UT. FIRE HAMILTON

I couldn't agree more and have been on this soap box day 1 of Hamilton's regime - so much so KNS asked me to back off. Screw that. Hamilton has always been unaccountable, however, he must be pretty slick to survive this long. He was horrible as Director of Marketing and worse as AD. Do you realize that sell-outs at Neyland are now something to celebrate? Thanks Mike.

Hamilton/Adams must go.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to eduardo:

And someone tell that dude over at ESPN that is hammmering Hammy about naming streets that Hammy didnt have anything to all of that craziness. That was done by the tall guy DAD and our lousy mayor at that time VA.

do you actually think espn cares about accuracy? Please, they have learned from our politicians. If you repeat anything long enough it becomes true whether it is or not.

CCLC writes:

Karma .....it will get you in the end.
http://underscorebleach.net/jotsheet/...

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