INDIANAPOLIS - The room originally booked for Tennessee's NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing Saturday wasn't big enough to house all the personalities summoned to face the music for 12 major violations.
The block of time sandwiched between sunrise and sunset wasn't long enough, either.
With hundreds of hotel guests filing in to a wedding reception set to begin just down the hall, the various parties who carried a wide variety of respective interests filed out of Ballrooms Two, Three and Four of the Downtown Marriott after nearly 11 hours of dialogue with the NCAA's version of a combined judge and jury.
"(There are) so many people that had so many different connections," former Vols football coach Lane Kiffin said. "It felt a little bit different."
A breakdown of Tennessee's legal fees for the ongoing NCAA investigation
Former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, whose misleading of NCAA investigators during a June interview served as the centerpiece of this 26-month investigation, was one of the last to leave. He talked solemnly for a minute before walking out with his lawyers.
Asked if Saturday's hearing served as a relief, Pearl said, "not really."
"Obviously, we paid a very heavy price," he said. "All of us have, the university, my coaching staff and our Tennessee fanbase. There's not much relief."
One by one, former coaches, current administrators and current UT coaches all departed without commenting to a handful of reporters who camped outside the closed-door hearing from start to finish.
That group included: former basketball assistants Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes; Vols football coach Derek Dooley; men's athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned Tuesday; interim athletic director Joan Cronan, men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and senior associate athletic director David Blackburn.
UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek declined to comment as he walked out of the ballroom, but released a statement shortly thereafter.
"We are glad we had the opportunity to present our case," he said. "We feel it was a fair hearing, and we look forward to the resolution of this matter."
After a 40-minute round of opening statements to kick off the 8:30 a.m. hearing, Pearl, his former assistants and their respective legal teams left the ballroom and retreated to corners of the downstairs lobby while the focus turned to the two major violations levied against the Vols football program.
More than four hours passed before the hearing broke for lunch.
Because the afternoon would deal specifically with the 10 major violations alleged against the men's basketball program and the institution for its failure to monitor the men's basketball staff's phone calls, Kiffin and former assistant David Reaves were free to leave.
Kiffin, the second-year coach at Southern Cal, spoke briefly before departing the hotel and boarding a mid-afternoon flight back to Los Angeles, where he had hoped to be back in time for the end of an on-campus football camp.
"I'm happy that we got to get the truth presented," said Kiffin, who sat through a three-day COI hearing last year shortly after he was hired by the Trojans. "We're going from there."
Though Dooley was in attendance, both of the football violations were pinned exclusively on Kiffin's regime.
Kiffin faced a charge of failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant coaches, while Reaves faced "allegations relating to impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes."
Reaves, now the offensive coordinator at New Mexico, left the hearing without commenting. Kiffin and Reaves, who are brothers-in-law, departed separately.
Asked if he felt comfortable with the information he presented to the Committee on Infractions, Kiffin simply said, "very."
"It was a very fair process," Kiffin said. "I'm glad that it's over."
Before he re-entered the ballroom to testify and defend himself, Pearl stopped in front of a group of reporters to point out his orange tie. He then opened his jacket to reveal that he was wearing the trademark orange suspenders he donned for years as the popular Vols men's basketball coach.
His mood was less jovial after a five-hour session before the Committee on Infractions, which has been known to be ruthless in its questioning.
"The hardest part is just being there," Pearl said. "It's not something that I was expecting and looking forward to have to appear before the committee on infractions."
Pearl faces a slew of allegations of major violations and could potentially receive a show-cause penalty that would keep him out of coaching for multiple years. It was expected that Pearl and UT would fight to have at least one of the violations, a "bump" infraction for his impermissible contact with a high school junior basketball player, reduced or eliminated.
Pearl, citing NCAA policy, declined to delve into the specifics of his arguments.
He, along with the rest of the characters who piled in to the ballroom Saturday morning, will have to wait eight to 12 weeks before they receive the committee's findings.
"I think they've got a very accurate view of the case," Pearl said. "Now we'll wait for their decisions."