UT player received extra tickets for Kentucky game; Cheek overseeing search for new coach

Fans react to Tennessee's firing of coach Bruce Pearl

Vol Hoops 2010-2011: Out-Dribbled by Distraction and Disappointment

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A Tennessee basketball player received extra tickets to UT's March 6 home game against Kentucky, and that constituted a secondary violation by the coaching staff, according to a source with knowledge of the infraction.

According to the source, who requested anonymity because the details haven't been made public, the infraction was handled internally, with the price of the tickets reimbursed by the player.

UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement released late Monday on the firing of coach Bruce Pearl that the violation occurred earlier this month.

Student athletes have a restricted allotment of tickets for each UT home game.

Hamilton fired Pearl and his assistants - Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay - on Monday.

Director of basketball operations Ken Johnson and assistant to the head coach Marc Pancratz also were relieved of their duties.

Houston Fancher, formerly the coordinator of video scouting, was named interim coach.

Hamilton's statement said that the search process for a new coach is under way.

"This is a great job and will attract a significant number of interested coaches,'' Hamilton said.

UT senior associate athletic director Chris Fuller and UT associate athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois will take active roles in the coaching search along with Hamilton, and university chancellor Jimmy Cheek will oversee the process, according to a source in the UT athletic department. The source requested anonymity because the university has not released details about how it will conduct the search.

Fuller, Reed-Francois and Hamilton did not return phone calls placed by the News Sentinel on Tuesday.

Virginia Commonwealth University coach Shaka Smart was non-committal when asked Tuesday on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show about the speculation of job openings, specifically Tennessee's.

"Everyone in our program knows that we have a job to do, and that stuff couldn't be any further from our mind as we go into the Sweet 16,'' Smart said.

Smart, 33, has led the Rams (26-11) to the first Sweet 16 in program history in his second season at VCU.

Other speculation came from numerous media outlets and national bloggers that involved a name familiar with UT fans.

Lawrence Frank, an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics and a former coach of the New Jersey Nets (2004-09), served as an assistant coach with the Vols from 1995-97, when Kevin O'Neill was coach.

Frank, 40, won his first 13 games with the Nets after being hired midway through the 2003-04 season, setting an NBA record for most consecutive wins to begin a coaching career. Frank was fired after an 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season, finishing 225-241 in his six-plus seasons at New Jersey.

Hamilton's statement said that in addition to the "additional violations" - an alleged Sept. 14 bump violation and the secondary violation involving tickets to the UT-Kentucky game - "a number of more recent non-NCAA-related incidents" led to the staff's firing.

ESPN.com reported late Monday that the non-NCAA related incident was a violation of the UT substance abuse policy by senior center Brian Williams. Williams missed the last two games of the regular season with a bad back, according to Pearl and Williams.

Williams, who had reoccurring back problems throughout his career, said he tweaked his back in a Feb. 26 loss to Mississippi State, and he didn't practice from Feb. 27 through March 6.

The speculation that Williams missed the two games because of a violation of UT's substance abuse policy has trickled down from the ESPN.com report to the UT basketball players.

"I was listening to the Sports Animal (WNML) today, and the fans were just killing Brian,'' said departing UT senior John Fields. "If that stuff really happened, that's news to everybody on the team.

"We saw Brian getting treatment on his back every day.''

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Comments » 88

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Kinda like the guy with the 0-16 record.

He's our boy.

everydayisorange writes:

Let the piling on begin! According to the thread, more than one player show Williams getting treatment. I for one would believe the players before ESPN!

everydayisorange writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

Let the piling on begin! According to the thread, more than one player show Williams getting treatment. I for one would believe the players before ESPN!

one player saw

everydayisorange writes:

in response to dead_vol_foul:

Kinda like the guy with the 0-16 record.

He's our boy.

Cheap$$$

The_Mayor writes:

One thing that came to mind, and it seems like the volume of articles is starting to become BP overload, but I was wondering why there's been no vocal support from former players like CJ Watson, Chris Lofton, Dane Bradshaw, JaJuan Smith, JP Prince, Bobby Maze or Wayne Chism in all of this for Pearl. I clearly remember when Fulmer was fired that there was an outpouring of vocal support from former football Vols, including Peyton Manning. I believe they even wrote a collaborative letter of support for Fulmer and opposition to the powers that within the UT administration and took out a full page in the News Sentinel.

tornado writes:

Let's hope that Chancellor Cheek and AD mike Hamilton do the same bang up job in the coaching search that they did in handling Bruce Pearl's situation. The university can certainly use another round of such PR and hypocrisy. It's hard to believe a new coach would say "Those are the types of guys I want to work for." I find it fascinating that the terms trust and integrity were used in reference to Coach Pearl given the disinformation and misinformation that came from the Chancellor and AD.

zigvol writes:

in response to The_Mayor:

One thing that came to mind, and it seems like the volume of articles is starting to become BP overload, but I was wondering why there's been no vocal support from former players like CJ Watson, Chris Lofton, Dane Bradshaw, JaJuan Smith, JP Prince, Bobby Maze or Wayne Chism in all of this for Pearl. I clearly remember when Fulmer was fired that there was an outpouring of vocal support from former football Vols, including Peyton Manning. I believe they even wrote a collaborative letter of support for Fulmer and opposition to the powers that within the UT administration and took out a full page in the News Sentinel.

Good point!

VolWoman writes:

in response to The_Mayor:

One thing that came to mind, and it seems like the volume of articles is starting to become BP overload, but I was wondering why there's been no vocal support from former players like CJ Watson, Chris Lofton, Dane Bradshaw, JaJuan Smith, JP Prince, Bobby Maze or Wayne Chism in all of this for Pearl. I clearly remember when Fulmer was fired that there was an outpouring of vocal support from former football Vols, including Peyton Manning. I believe they even wrote a collaborative letter of support for Fulmer and opposition to the powers that within the UT administration and took out a full page in the News Sentinel.

Dane Bradshaw has been on every radio show in Knoxville & is extremely supportive of Coach Pearl. He wasn't happy with the terminology used in that press release that made some things common & fairly innocent sound so bad.

JP is overseas, I think, but he and Bobby Maze changed their Facebook picture to a picture of themselves & Bruce. I'm sure they've all been in contact with him personally. Dane said all of them hurt for Bruce & are proud to have played for him. Bobby Maze gave a very nationally quoted interview to Scout about his feelings & some of the true recruiting violations he's seen personally from other schools and players.

They aren't stupid though. They know you can't fight the NCAA. Like Dane said, when they expect perfection from a coach, they won't get it because even the cleanest program in the country has violations like the ticket issue. And he said if there's something to the Brian Williams story, at least Bruce didn't play him & could have in a game we needed him to get a #2 seed in the tournament.

woodwr#217203 writes:

I like the Kansas Assistant named......Dooley!

claiborneh writes:

This is not about tickets or substance abuse.These issues were to save face. This is about the pressure the NCAA was putting on the admin and they caved in.It would be virtually impossible to make half a year without these type of secondary issues to report. They happen everyday at programs across the country. Bruce Pearl did not personally say, "Yeah, go ahead and give that kid a ticket for his family. Just be quiet about it." It doesn't work this way but no article ever explains this. Somehow the head coach is supposed to make sure this doesn't happen.All you can do is find out and report it.Sometimes it happens accidently, or clerical error.Compliance offices can barely keep up with all the ridiculous rules. Pearl never did anything malicious, or that gave a competitive advantage.This is the problem I have when Cheeks and Hamilton stating the dynamics changed and the staff was no longer viable. The dynamics changed when the NCAA called a bump a major infraction. Who has ever heard of a bump as a major violation? I do not think this has ever happened. The NCAA wanted Pearl fired-and Cheeks and probably others CAVED IN.This trivial ticket issue and supposed fake back deal were red herrings.When Cheeks said Pearl was going to be retained, this decision should have been made knowing full well the possibility the NCAA might come after them. When they did the Captain jumped off the ship.They began to see the precedents and changed their mind.The ONLY way the decision should be changed is if their is something we don't know about. If there is something else, then it should come out now, or they are making yet another PR gaffe. Why do we often have to wait on information from a public institution as if they are a secret society.In conclusion Pearl and staff are not viable yet Hamilton gets $400,00 a year and makes that flat out stupid PR mistake.$400,000-Seriously?(Cheeks annual salary is $345,000.)And we wonder why everything in the adminstration is on the down low.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You don't get paid much, do you?

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hamilton is way overpaid!!!!

rocky_topper writes:

I'm sure Gator Cheek will work like heck to get in a good coach for Tennessee to compete with Billy Donovan and his Gators.

VOLliven2it writes:

The Big Issue for me in this story is the confidence of knowing the same man who says we will enjoy continuing success with Mike Hamilton as our AD is leading the search for a new coach. That alone should make Vol fans sleep better.(NOT)

TDTenn writes:

Awesome! I know he has an amazing basketball IQ and was a great athlete. We need a guy like him to find us a guy who knows what it takes to win. Duh

volspaws writes:

We can all take heart in the fact that Desiree Reed-Francois, men's basketball sage, is taking an active role in the coaching search. Sheeesh...guess this will show the NCAA how politically correct we are here in Tennessee

txvolsfan writes:

in response to dead_vol_foul:

Kinda like the guy with the 0-16 record.

He's our boy.

Let's see you do better with that Nets team!!!
Frank is a very good coach with a LOT of discipline and Great defense!!! He's not with Doc Rivers because of good looks
Also why did you pass over the NBA record for most wins without a loss by a new coach?

beartn#223846 writes:

I don't think Cheek saying he is overseeing the new coach hiring process is a ringing endorsement of his faith in Hamilton.

Madkels writes:

in response to claiborneh:

This is not about tickets or substance abuse.These issues were to save face. This is about the pressure the NCAA was putting on the admin and they caved in.It would be virtually impossible to make half a year without these type of secondary issues to report. They happen everyday at programs across the country. Bruce Pearl did not personally say, "Yeah, go ahead and give that kid a ticket for his family. Just be quiet about it." It doesn't work this way but no article ever explains this. Somehow the head coach is supposed to make sure this doesn't happen.All you can do is find out and report it.Sometimes it happens accidently, or clerical error.Compliance offices can barely keep up with all the ridiculous rules. Pearl never did anything malicious, or that gave a competitive advantage.This is the problem I have when Cheeks and Hamilton stating the dynamics changed and the staff was no longer viable. The dynamics changed when the NCAA called a bump a major infraction. Who has ever heard of a bump as a major violation? I do not think this has ever happened. The NCAA wanted Pearl fired-and Cheeks and probably others CAVED IN.This trivial ticket issue and supposed fake back deal were red herrings.When Cheeks said Pearl was going to be retained, this decision should have been made knowing full well the possibility the NCAA might come after them. When they did the Captain jumped off the ship.They began to see the precedents and changed their mind.The ONLY way the decision should be changed is if their is something we don't know about. If there is something else, then it should come out now, or they are making yet another PR gaffe. Why do we often have to wait on information from a public institution as if they are a secret society.In conclusion Pearl and staff are not viable yet Hamilton gets $400,00 a year and makes that flat out stupid PR mistake.$400,000-Seriously?(Cheeks annual salary is $345,000.)And we wonder why everything in the adminstration is on the down low.

Amen! Cheek and Hamilton are spineless. The fact that CBP did nothing malicious nor did the program gain any advantage in any of these "violations" should be enough reason to defend your coach and program. But these idiots chose to tuck tail and cowl before the NCAA. UCONN and Ohio State are taking the fight to the NCAA, even though they are guilty, and I applaud their fighting back. If you are fighting prosecution, you better build a good defense and fight like heck. Or negotiate a settlement. Cheek and Hammy didn't even wait to June to see what they were facing. Chickens.

al2476 writes:

Hambone and Cheek are two that is really ruining the University, with the cheap shots they are throwing at Pearl now. The man is gone and cannot defend himself and they continue to spew their distain against Pearl to help themselves look better. That trust and integrity only applies when they want to fire someone. It was used when he fired Coach Fulmer.

roloyo writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, sounds like the steering wheel just got jerked outta Hammy's fat like hands.

Brillovol writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep. That's the most important news coming from this article.

utk1996 writes:

in response to roloyo:

Yeah, sounds like the steering wheel just got jerked outta Hammy's fat like hands.

Fulmer for AD.

I've made the case for him many times. It's a no-brainer.

alvol writes:

in response to VolWoman:

Dane Bradshaw has been on every radio show in Knoxville & is extremely supportive of Coach Pearl. He wasn't happy with the terminology used in that press release that made some things common & fairly innocent sound so bad.

JP is overseas, I think, but he and Bobby Maze changed their Facebook picture to a picture of themselves & Bruce. I'm sure they've all been in contact with him personally. Dane said all of them hurt for Bruce & are proud to have played for him. Bobby Maze gave a very nationally quoted interview to Scout about his feelings & some of the true recruiting violations he's seen personally from other schools and players.

They aren't stupid though. They know you can't fight the NCAA. Like Dane said, when they expect perfection from a coach, they won't get it because even the cleanest program in the country has violations like the ticket issue. And he said if there's something to the Brian Williams story, at least Bruce didn't play him & could have in a game we needed him to get a #2 seed in the tournament.

Thanks for the informed post. Too bad others on here who post don't follow suit.

SummittsCourt writes:

It's getting harder and harder to be a Vol fan these days. Fire these useless people and get it over with. hammy and his buddy cheeky must go.

TennVol01 writes:

ESPN really has it out for Tennessee sports. I believe they have private investigators on their payroll just to dig up dirt on us. I feel bad for Coach Dooley and the future new basketball coach. I hope they are going after Ohio State as much as they have reported negative accounts of Tennessee's violations.

JohnnyD writes:

Way to try and justify your decision with the extra chicken poop violations...ESPN has driven the story and the rest of buzzards in the media have followed along!!! Cheek must go! Bring back Pearl!!!

tomkats3242 writes:

Why is hamilton still allowed on campus. He should be fired also. If not, don't expect ticket renewal or donations again. Wake up Mr. President of UT. Cheek needs to be looked at also. We need a clean sweep.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I don't think anything should have been hinted anywhere about any "substance abuse". I suppose Williams asked for it with his historical car ride last year but he shouldn't have to clear his name in public. Really it's no one's business except the staff at UT and maybe the student gov. It's definately NOT ESPN's business except to prove that they are more a gossip channel than a sports channel! KNS hasn't helped either

powert#205805 writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

Hamilton is way overpaid!!!!

He would be overpaid at minimum wage.

Most people who take over a thriving business and systematically destroy it's best products along with it's credibility in the marketplace would have been fired long ago.

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

in response to Madkels:

Amen! Cheek and Hamilton are spineless. The fact that CBP did nothing malicious nor did the program gain any advantage in any of these "violations" should be enough reason to defend your coach and program. But these idiots chose to tuck tail and cowl before the NCAA. UCONN and Ohio State are taking the fight to the NCAA, even though they are guilty, and I applaud their fighting back. If you are fighting prosecution, you better build a good defense and fight like heck. Or negotiate a settlement. Cheek and Hammy didn't even wait to June to see what they were facing. Chickens.

Madkels (I do understand your point but) wait until June? How many coaches will be available then after everyone has hired to fill the other positions that are open? If we wait we will have the same situation we had when hiring Dooley (and the jury is still out on him).
Plus if we get a "name" coach then perhaps we can save some recruits.

lomas98 writes:

in response to The_Mayor:

One thing that came to mind, and it seems like the volume of articles is starting to become BP overload, but I was wondering why there's been no vocal support from former players like CJ Watson, Chris Lofton, Dane Bradshaw, JaJuan Smith, JP Prince, Bobby Maze or Wayne Chism in all of this for Pearl. I clearly remember when Fulmer was fired that there was an outpouring of vocal support from former football Vols, including Peyton Manning. I believe they even wrote a collaborative letter of support for Fulmer and opposition to the powers that within the UT administration and took out a full page in the News Sentinel.

I think the full page ad came the week of the Alabama game when all kinds of rumors were floating around about Fulmer. The former players wanted to show their support for Fulmer to keep his job before he was fired. I do know Bradshaw has been pretty vocal on talk radio and I'm sure the other guys would support him if asked, but I think most are playing overseas and I honestly don't think the press over there cares about TN basketball to ask their thoughts. Fulmer didn't have any NCAA violations hanging over his head either so I would be careful if I was a former bball player having too much vocal support if they don't know all of the facts on what Bruce actually did. Who know if more comes out.

nvavol writes:

Why would Pat Summit not be a member of the search team? She's the most successful collegiate basketball coach of all time and is well respected by the more recognized and respected collegiate men's coaches.

VolsJoy writes:

They gave someone extra tickets thats silly. The money the school makes off these players they should be given all the tickets they want! But then that takes money from the deep pockets of UT. The Brian Williams deal, I really don't see how he is not in a body cast as many hard falls he took this year.(where is the drug test?) NCAA really needs to overhaul some of their picky rules. CBP did wrong but I think the price he is having to pay is a bit much.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to TennVol01:

ESPN really has it out for Tennessee sports. I believe they have private investigators on their payroll just to dig up dirt on us. I feel bad for Coach Dooley and the future new basketball coach. I hope they are going after Ohio State as much as they have reported negative accounts of Tennessee's violations.

I must admit that I occasionally watch ESPN. I like the actual sports programming. Bur If I want gossip I can go to any news channel and get all I need at any time of the day. The media has gone wild trying their best to catch people in wrong doing and make news out of it over the least things! many times they have an agenda to destroy a person or an organization with their "news". I'm not talking about reporting news! I'm talking about driving it into the ground everyday 24 hours a day. All the media is guilty of this.
B. williams and any "substance abuse" IMHO should have never been news. You don't help the young man get away from drugs by plastering him all over the news...(last year mainly). It was NOT news but the media being irresponsible and trying to sell papers or adds. It happens every day. I'm all for them bringing the news of events but to add their own agendas to it is not good journalism...It's propaganda!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to delta960608charlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe ! Maybe just gossip! Remember most of those players named were not even Pearl recruits but Buzz'

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I suspect that none of this is about basketball. It's probably about numbers. $$$$####sss How can we profit from this? We lose Harris and others not here yet and we lose some $ possibly. Who can we hire to bring in $$ like Pearl did? If we let Hammy go will someone else bring us the $$$ he did?
I sincerely hope that some of the people in charge think about the actual people involved...especially the students?

give_him_6 writes:

I wouldn't trust Mike Hamilton working in a pis factory!!! So far he has killed our top 3 mens sports with his ignorance. Get him the H*LL outta there!!!

TDTennesseeisfree writes:

Has everyone forgotten that it was BRUCE PEARL who caused all of THIS!! If he had just admitted to the picture, none of this would be happening....what is UT or the NCAA supposed to do when they are lied too straight to their face and that this group of coached continues to violate the rules. It doesn't matter how severe they were in March, it is the pattern of disregard for following the rules.

utk1996 writes:

in response to alvol:

Thanks for the informed post. Too bad others on here who post don't follow suit.

Of course players are going to support their coach. I would never expect otherwise. As for the comment that one will never find perfection in a coach, I agree. However, we aren't talking about being perfect. The issue is lying to the NCAA, one of the most serious offenses to the NCAA. And for good reason. If the precedent is set that a coach can lie to the NCAA without there being serious ramifications then where would the lying ever stop. I applaud Bruce Pearl for taking a moribund program and turning it into one of the most exciting, successful programs in the country. However, he is guilty of lying to the NCAA and for that he deservedly lost his job.

utk1996 writes:

By the way, I don't think we've heard the last of the Tressel case. By signing a document he knew contained innaccuracies he in effect lied to the NCAA. I will not be surprised if this ends with his dismissal. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

iLOVEtheVOLS writes:

in response to tornado:

Let's hope that Chancellor Cheek and AD mike Hamilton do the same bang up job in the coaching search that they did in handling Bruce Pearl's situation. The university can certainly use another round of such PR and hypocrisy. It's hard to believe a new coach would say "Those are the types of guys I want to work for." I find it fascinating that the terms trust and integrity were used in reference to Coach Pearl given the disinformation and misinformation that came from the Chancellor and AD.

On the other hand, one could argue that even if you break the rules and put the program in peril, you'll still walk away with a million dollars coming for the next year, plus health care, which is important. So, if you screw up, you're gonna get rewarded quite nicely. Kinda like a golden parachute, only call it an orange parachute.

vol7278 writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

Hamilton is way overpaid!!!!

I agree--Hamilton is way overpaid & has ruined UT's reputation. If I were looking for a coaching job, I sure wouldn't want to come to UT. I wasn't real happy when Dickey was AD, but Hamilton is MUCH worse.

rockytoplady writes:

Let's see if ESPN will report all the violations and rumors going on at Conn. and Ohio State with the same gusto they have reported about TN. I doubt it.

bluecat55 writes:

You can't really blame them for the ticket thing...when the Cats come to town, everyone wants to see them play...

somebodywhoknows writes:

I will not, never, ever never,never,never ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! buy anything with a UT logo on it until heads roll. Bruce, yes he made some bad mistakes, but there are others who knew what was going on far sooner then they act. Mike Hamilton will NOT get any money from me. I will not support his or any other pay check by buying anything Tennessee. MIKE HAMILTON is an CANCER, you must get rid of the cancer.

utk1996 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sorry. I don't believe ESPN or anyone else is out to get Tennessee. Why on earth would they do that? Why would they choose to pick on Tennessee? That makes absolutely no sense. Now they might blow certain things out of proportion and they might create a buzz just so that they create controversy, but I don't think it's malicious against UT only. Many other fans complain that the media is out to get them too. Pearl lied to the NCAA. It's news. And especially in this age of facebook, twitter, and other media anything and everything is going to get reported. Anything involving UT basketball is going to be news in the short term becuase it's the hot story. But when that inevitably dies down, it will be on to the next story. And believe me, the Tressel situation is not going away. It's too big of a story and too important. Wait and see, this will become a big story as we get closer to football season. And I have nothing against Tressel or Ohio State. But I will not be surprised if this gets bad for him.

iLOVEtheVOLS writes:

in response to delta960608charlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This comment has no merit and is not necessary.

lomas98 writes:

in response to utk1996:

I'm sorry. I don't believe ESPN or anyone else is out to get Tennessee. Why on earth would they do that? Why would they choose to pick on Tennessee? That makes absolutely no sense. Now they might blow certain things out of proportion and they might create a buzz just so that they create controversy, but I don't think it's malicious against UT only. Many other fans complain that the media is out to get them too. Pearl lied to the NCAA. It's news. And especially in this age of facebook, twitter, and other media anything and everything is going to get reported. Anything involving UT basketball is going to be news in the short term becuase it's the hot story. But when that inevitably dies down, it will be on to the next story. And believe me, the Tressel situation is not going away. It's too big of a story and too important. Wait and see, this will become a big story as we get closer to football season. And I have nothing against Tressel or Ohio State. But I will not be surprised if this gets bad for him.

I agree. The Tressel thing was all over ESPN when it happened and when he added games to his suspension. They will continue to report on it when something happens. There is nothing going on right this second. I think it will get bad for Tressel as well at some point. I don't think he will lose his job, but if he commits some more secondary violations you never know. When the microscope is on you its best to play by ALL the rule.

tdforvols writes:

Well, I guess all this reveals why the Vols laid down during their last game. I'm sure they were hearing all kinds of conflicting stories at the time.

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