Ohio player exonerates Bruce Pearl

'No schools have directly contacted me or my family'

DJ Cooper

Photo by Alex Goodlett

DJ Cooper

Ohio University junior guard D.J. Cooper issued a statement on Thursday that cleared former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl of potential tampering violations.

"No schools have directly contacted me or my family since I signed at Ohio University,'' Cooper said in a statement e-mailed to the News Sentinel from Ohio media relations director for men's basketball Drew Wiseman.

A CBSsports.com story on Sunday night said Pearl — and Baylor coach Scott Drew — tried to lure Cooper to their schools after Cooper was Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year in 2010.

It's an NCAA violation to recruit a player before he is released from his current school.

"I was shocked to see my name got thrown into this, but I know I'm a pretty easy target,'' Pearl told the News Sentinel on Thursday. "Fact is, I never had direct or indirect contact with the player or the family. I've never viewed myself as more than a basketball coach, so I've often been complimentary to opponents. Somehow, my praise of D.J. Cooper was misconstrued.''

Pearl praised Cooper's ability to the media prior to UT eliminating Ohio, 83-68, in the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament en route to the program's only Elite Eight appearance.

Cooper was quoted last Sunday by CBSsports.com as saying: "It was surprising, being my first experience, that schools were wanting me to come play for their programs. I didn't think about leaving.''

Cooper's father, Donnell, told CBSsports.com that Pearl "tried the hardest" to get his son to transfer.

A New York Times story implicated Baylor after talking to Cooper's mother, but made no mention of Pearl or Tennessee.

Pearly vehemently denied the allegations to the News Sentinel on Wednesday.

"I'm pleased the record was set straight, and for my friends, family and the people who believe in me, I'm grateful my exoneration validated their faith in me,'' Pearl said. "For those who took this as another opportunity to be critical of me, I hope they'll learn you can't always believe everything you hear.''

Pearl realizes he put himself in a difficult position when he wasn't truthful in his initial interview with the NCAA about an improper recruiting visit at his home in 2008. Pearl was dismissed from UT on March 21, 2011, and later assessed a three-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA Committee on Infractions as a result of the unethical conduction violation.

"I'm sorry for the mistake I made in the past, and for that I'm paying a huge price,'' said Pearl, who splits his time between his role as Vice President of Marketing for the H.T. Hackney Company and his national radio show on Sirius XM. "I'm pleased the Tennessee basketball program is alive and well and excited that Coach (Cuonzo)Martin is adding to the history and tradition.''

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Comments » 180

Rookie2 writes:

Whaa..? You made a statement last week you were essentially illegally recruited, now you're saying you weren't. That's it.., no explanation why you would say something like that?

johnlg00 writes:

OK, that's at least two blogs that have tried to stir up something about UT basketball in just the last couple of days with NO evidence. Maybe a poster on the Martin-to-Illinois story was right; somebody big is looking at UT and somebody else doesn't like it. See how easy it is to stir up stuff with no responsibility for truth by just saying, "I heard that...."? You get 24 hours or so of publicity--"I broke the story of...."--and if nothing comes of it, just shrug and move on. What're they gonna do, sue you? Again, "Hey, it's just something I heard." Ain't modern "journalism" wonderful?

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say Ohio State has a Hardon at Tennessee for some reason. Witch Doctor bet this is tied to recruiting someway. Witch Doctor say College sports getting nasty. OR he is a Shaquille ONeil type dad and aint got a clue.
Bones never lie.

Ayres_Hall writes:

D.J. Cooper must be pre-law.

OrangeDew writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Ohio State has a Hardon at Tennessee for some reason. Witch Doctor bet this is tied to recruiting someway. Witch Doctor say College sports getting nasty. OR he is a Shaquille ONeil type dad and aint got a clue.
Bones never lie.

This has nothing to do with tOSU. This is Ohio University.

gc_scvol writes:

It seems That "The Griff" has been influenced by "The John"

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

This has nothing to do with tOSU. This is Ohio University.

Witch Doctor say a lot of this has come from that vicinity and same writers. Witch Doctor say they all idiots..lol
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say a lot of this has come from that vicinity and same writers. Witch Doctor say they all idiots..lol
Bones never lie.

*Gribble. lol
BNL

pupvol writes:

is that DB Coopers long lost son?

jt45 writes:

Like I said before, it was all hogwash, just fodder for the Media and the Buzzards looking for something troll about.

snuffy63#653562 writes:

I told all you Pearl haters,it was fishy, coming out after two years. Pearl was thrown under the bus by Tennessee. The university lawyer, had the Craft picture, six days before Pearl and his staff were confronted with it. If they had done what was right, they would have sat down with Pearl and told him to come clean, all the violations would have been secondary, and Pearl would still be our coach. Pearl 's gone now, after he has been crucified, by the university and fans, and Martin is our coach. We need to treat him better than we did Pearl, and move forward.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Lane_Kiffins_Daddy_Wears_Diapers:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor did make the typo of adding "state" But same point. Witch Doctor say how many reporters knew about it and never wrote the story about Tressell and but was able to write 2-1 over Pearl. Witch Doctor say some even wrote how they shouldnt have turned Tressell in..Witch Doctor say they burned matrices and turned over and torched cars ..not much said about that. Witch Doctor say they still reference Kiffen. Witch Doctor say they little rats. lol
Bones never lie.

tennrich1 writes:

When I read all the STUPID people ripping Bruce I knew they were going to eat crow...People can really be STUPID...that's one thing I have recently learned in my life....Of course we know what Forrest says so I want repeat that worn out statement...but to quote Andy Griffith..."That's just plain stupid"

UTQB70 writes:

Pearl just had a great statement on the radio. He said "for all those people who said well, there he goes again cheating and lying, well, they were wrong"

samvol writes:

Was I wrong or did Pearl contact Mr.Cooper to "remind" him of.................

murrayvol writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

This has nothing to do with tOSU. This is Ohio University.

Everything in Ohio has to do with "the" OSU.

UTQB70 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Everything in Ohio has to do with "the" OSU.

That's right. The Ohio coach was an assistant at osu for 4 years.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Everything in Ohio has to do with "the" OSU.

Witch Doctors friend one time said it best "Its Bama without an Auburn to balance it out and fans that think they are smarter than God." Witch Doctor whole heartily agree and IF the truth was know the Martin to Illinois started there and we already know about Pearl(no excuses for what he done BBQ-gate) lol
Bones never lie.
*Gribble. lol

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say a lot of this has come from that vicinity and same writers. Witch Doctor say they all idiots..lol
Bones never lie.

Clearly someone in that part of the country wishes UT basketball no good. Either that, or there is some other big scandal about to break in that area, and some people are hoping to bury it under a pile of phooey about UT. Glad the truth has come out as quickly as it has.

BTW, thanks for the info. I haven't had any luck replying to emails sent to me through GVX. Every one I have tried so far results in a "hard bounce". I love to hear from anybody on here who wishes to contact me directly, so don't feel insulted if you don't get a reply to your message. I will try to acknowledge it on here instead.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Everything in Ohio has to do with "the" OSU.

You don't live in Ohio, do you. Lucky you.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Clearly someone in that part of the country wishes UT basketball no good. Either that, or there is some other big scandal about to break in that area, and some people are hoping to bury it under a pile of phooey about UT. Glad the truth has come out as quickly as it has.

BTW, thanks for the info. I haven't had any luck replying to emails sent to me through GVX. Every one I have tried so far results in a "hard bounce". I love to hear from anybody on here who wishes to contact me directly, so don't feel insulted if you don't get a reply to your message. I will try to acknowledge it on here instead.

Witch Doctor has had that same problem Witch Doctor message you thru here next time. lol
Bones never lie.

born2ride writes:

So CBSsports.com and the New York times made up these stories and quotes from Cooper and his mother and father? Of course the kid is going to deny it now.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say they dislike the SEC but someone up there HATES Tennessee with a passion. Witch Doctor say the story on Martin was someone flat out lying about it, the same time this Pearl thing started popping up.(maybe coincidental? But the Pearl thing?...really really odd and now it seems the kid could have ended this sooner? I could pick up the phone and tell my Dad..NO. ? odd) Witch Doctor say Pearl had enemies and I still believe the Crafts set him up(and Pearls stupidity got him..really really dumb) Selby knew it was coming and bolted long before any broke, which says there was "intent" on someones behalf.
Witch Doctor say the World Wide Wes guy had tentacles in that pretty sure..but this? Witch Doctor say Martin must gonna bust into someones pipeline or something. (?) Witch Doctor say we give KNS and some of the Knox media a hard time but really a Whole state of homer writers is probably worse. Witch Doctor say put this in the back file and lets see when the next one of these pop up..bet its recruiting. (?)
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to born2ride:

So CBSsports.com and the New York times made up these stories and quotes from Cooper and his mother and father? Of course the kid is going to deny it now.

Witch Doctor say someone needs to explain the clear "gap" in reporting on this out of Ohio, why didnt the kid stop it right away? funny stuff dont you think?.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Pete Thamel isnt trustworthy to start with and thats where I'd start..hes kinda always been a little hard at Pearl....
BNL

Dalton writes:

It's what happens when you put microphones in front of suddenly successful individuals and pry them for inside stories...they panic and make phooey up...mix in a papa living vicariously through said individual and a brush after a game with a disgraced former coach...not to mention Ohio's basketball obsession with the Volunteer state...this stuff feeds on itself but since it has no substance...of course it falls apart...guess we have to keep playing basketball huh? Biding my time until the next round of bull starts play! P.S. Amazing how phooey is not offensive but rap with a c in front is...GOVOLS stay scrappy#

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say read the comments, no ones defending Pearl but wondering why this got started in the first place along with "Martin has expressed interest in Illinois". (?)
Bones never lie.

orangeJACKET writes:

so this little punk and his family are a group of liars. who woulda thunk it.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

My suspicion is that Ohio State has heard at two levels, that young Mr. Cooper needs to cool it:

a. The NCAA cannot NOT look at that charge, had Cooper continued with it. That has implications at a lot of levels and venues.

b. UT, either through its attorney(s), or via SEC Slive et al---

and that would definitely key the SEC's interest, since the Commissioner was involved in the UT/Pearl/NCAA charges and disposition---

cannot afford to be passive about defending itself against these allegations, since the possibility exists, should the NCAA examine, that UT could get more problems from them.

Perhaps this was through both; but somebody,
in my opinion, squelched the commentary and had the kid reverse his field on those allegations.

3. As far as the guy above, in response to this, here, is concerned, in his comments about the state of journalism "today," he is naive about that profession and its pitfalls.

Journalists have for at least 100 years been left high and dry by supposed sources, after some articles had been published, and had to retract or claim misunderstandings, etc.

The wild card in this is still the kid's father, if the quotes of the father are correct; as I remember reading a couple of the earlier articles, the father said the same thing as the kid, and the father has not retracted his comments, at this point, from what I have read.

GO VOLS!

Vol43 writes:

Well, well, well. So where are all you 'holier than thou' people now? Out looking for your next target no doubt. Hey, why not make it Dooley? That's right, light your torches and storm the castle.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

My suspicion is that Ohio State has heard at two levels, that young Mr. Cooper needs to cool it:

a. The NCAA cannot NOT look at that charge, had Cooper continued with it. That has implications at a lot of levels and venues.

b. UT, either through its attorney(s), or via SEC Slive et al---

and that would definitely key the SEC's interest, since the Commissioner was involved in the UT/Pearl/NCAA charges and disposition---

cannot afford to be passive about defending itself against these allegations, since the possibility exists, should the NCAA examine, that UT could get more problems from them.

Perhaps this was through both; but somebody,
in my opinion, squelched the commentary and had the kid reverse his field on those allegations.

3. As far as the guy above, in response to this, here, is concerned, in his comments about the state of journalism "today," he is naive about that profession and its pitfalls.

Journalists have for at least 100 years been left high and dry by supposed sources, after some articles had been published, and had to retract or claim misunderstandings, etc.

The wild card in this is still the kid's father, if the quotes of the father are correct; as I remember reading a couple of the earlier articles, the father said the same thing as the kid, and the father has not retracted his comments, at this point, from what I have read.

GO VOLS!

Witch Doctor say using the word "Journalist" to describe todays "reporting" is about as naive as one can get. Witch Doctor say when people quote "blogs" and internet message boards as sources?
Witch Doctor say eveyone can have an opinion but yours is no better than anyone elses. lol
Bones never lie.

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to snuffy63#653562:

I told all you Pearl haters,it was fishy, coming out after two years. Pearl was thrown under the bus by Tennessee. The university lawyer, had the Craft picture, six days before Pearl and his staff were confronted with it. If they had done what was right, they would have sat down with Pearl and told him to come clean, all the violations would have been secondary, and Pearl would still be our coach. Pearl 's gone now, after he has been crucified, by the university and fans, and Martin is our coach. We need to treat him better than we did Pearl, and move forward.

It was Bruce's parents' responsibility to teach him not to lie - not UT's. Maybe it never occurred to UT's lawyer that Pearl would be so dishonest and stupid.

Vol43 writes:

in response to GBOEngineer:

It was Bruce's parents' responsibility to teach him not to lie - not UT's. Maybe it never occurred to UT's lawyer that Pearl would be so dishonest and stupid.

Here's a stone 'tttt', now throw it.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Ohio State has a Hardon at Tennessee for some reason. Witch Doctor bet this is tied to recruiting someway. Witch Doctor say College sports getting nasty. OR he is a Shaquille ONeil type dad and aint got a clue.
Bones never lie.

Typical Witch Doctor, if it's similiar it has to be the same... Sorry, but do your research.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to born2ride:

So CBSsports.com and the New York times made up these stories and quotes from Cooper and his mother and father? Of course the kid is going to deny it now.

New York Times has a long history of being caught making up news stories. No surprise at all.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Pullingguard:

Typical Witch Doctor, if it's similiar it has to be the same... Sorry, but do your research.

Witch Doctor say typical Pullingguard... irrelevant until you reply to someone..
Bones never lie.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Couple of points: First, this kid is from Ohio University, not The OSU. Several references here to OSU which makes the responses as irresponsible as the articles.

Then, KNS reports the story, reports Pearl's denial, reports the kid's denial and drops the whole issue into our laps. Where is the follow up journalism? Someone is lying...and it should not be left up to us amateurs to sort it out. Is that not what journalism should be about? Sadly lacking here.

Vol43 writes:

You lost me at 'The OSU'. What the devil is that?

VandyisGold writes:

You would think that this distraction would be the very last thing that the coach would want while preparing for an elite 8. There must be something that he is very uncomfortable with since the basketball department released the statement.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor agree, Witch Doctor still shocked Pearl didnt think they would be after him a little. Witch Doctor say Thamel spoke to the kid and THEN the parents and THEN the kid denies..smells funny and Ohio has an "THE Ohio State" ex coach. Witch Doctor ask as the new guys states..why is no one fup with his parents and these allegations?
Bones never lie.

Dalton writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lou Henson...I'm old enough so I remembered...but try search engines...they make you appear smart whilst posting!

John_10065 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Clearly someone in that part of the country wishes UT basketball no good. Either that, or there is some other big scandal about to break in that area, and some people are hoping to bury it under a pile of phooey about UT. Glad the truth has come out as quickly as it has.

BTW, thanks for the info. I haven't had any luck replying to emails sent to me through GVX. Every one I have tried so far results in a "hard bounce". I love to hear from anybody on here who wishes to contact me directly, so don't feel insulted if you don't get a reply to your message. I will try to acknowledge it on here instead.

Hum, well that explains something!

I tried to contact you through here also after is sounded like you thought I was dissing you on another thread. Which I wasn't! I just didn't see the point in airing out here in posts anymore.

We're both fans, not sheep, trolls, haters or biters (well I do tend to bite but not often!). Let's leave it at that.

John_10065 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think what pissed more people off about the incident with Pearl @ Iowa was the fact that the talking heads were spewing out how Pearl's career was over. Well he had a 20+ year career after that so far and I truely think there was some looking for payback from a LOT of people all over the NCAA and college basketball community.

But Pearl stepped into it with both feet, all on his own. UT protected itself, right or wrong, and the NCAA handed down a pretty severe punishment for lying about hotdogs.

We can be honest with ourselves and realize that if someone is gunning for you, there is no reason to hold up a target and tell them the windage on the shot.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say Ohio State has a Hardon at Tennessee for some reason. Witch Doctor bet this is tied to recruiting someway. Witch Doctor say College sports getting nasty. OR he is a Shaquille ONeil type dad and aint got a clue.
Bones never lie.

Agreed, Matta got Craft to leak the photo of Pearl. I guess after the spanking in the tournament 2 years ago he decided it would be better to try to get Pearl out instead of beating him on the court.Cincy has been trying to get OSU to schedule them for years but Matta won't play them, he won't have any choice tonight. Go Bearcats.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Agreed, Matta got Craft to leak the photo of Pearl. I guess after the spanking in the tournament 2 years ago he decided it would be better to try to get Pearl out instead of beating him on the court.Cincy has been trying to get OSU to schedule them for years but Matta won't play them, he won't have any choice tonight. Go Bearcats.

The thing is, the photo existed to be leaked. I still blame the Vol fans that dissed Craft when he first committed to UT for motive to release the photo.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to GBOEngineer:

It was Bruce's parents' responsibility to teach him not to lie - not UT's. Maybe it never occurred to UT's lawyer that Pearl would be so dishonest and stupid.

To lawyers, everyone is dishonest and stupid. Not advising his client of discovered evidence is close to malpractice. Unless you consider that Pearl was not his client.

FanNotSheep writes:

If you think the journalism is lacking now that only, say, a third of the people who used to pay for the printed newspaper do so now, then just think how much you will like it when no one pays. Then you can have witch doctors and far t blossoms and coach haters and know-it-alls on comment boards just like this one feeding you all the news that no one gets paid to print -- or research.

rockypop writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Agreed, Matta got Craft to leak the photo of Pearl. I guess after the spanking in the tournament 2 years ago he decided it would be better to try to get Pearl out instead of beating him on the court.Cincy has been trying to get OSU to schedule them for years but Matta won't play them, he won't have any choice tonight. Go Bearcats.

Apparently, you didn't read either the story or a bunch of posts that followed. For you, and those who are too lazy to find out what you're posting about - here's an update: Ohio State is not a part of this story. The kid in question plays for Ohio University. If you don't know the difference, I suggest you Google Ohio University. You won't find the names Craft or Matta there. If you feel you've reached this board in error, then you have.

golfman1975 writes:

The Buckeye state is one letter off...should begin with an F. They are nuts you know.

Vol43 writes:

Dude, any confusion concerning Ohio vs. Ohio State was resolved a good while back so you can climb down off your high horse.

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