Pearl nets $1.5M penalty, banned from some off-campus recruiting
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Coach Bruce Pearl said. "I expect more from myself and so should you. I have no tolerable answer for why I didn't tell the truth the first time. I take full responsibility."
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee men's head basketball coach Bruce Pearl is penalized $1.5 million in pay and banned from off-campus recruiting for a year by UT for misleading an NCAA investigation.
During a media briefing Friday afternoon, university officials acknowledged the NCAA has issued a letter of inquiry into allegations of "impermissible phone calls" made by Pearl and the coaching staff.
In the university-imposed penalties, Pearl will lose the equivalent of one year's salary over five years of his contract, amounting to about 25 percent each year. His pay is affected through June 2015.
Three assistant coaches, Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay, have also been pulled off the road by UT for a year and will lose 25 percent of their salaries.
The recruiting ban lasts from September 24 through September 23, 2011.
The NCAA says the possible violations of recruiting and extra-benefit legislation happened primarily during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.
The number of off-campus recruiting opportunities during the 2010-2011 calendar will be reduced from 130 to 104, and the number of official visits will be cut from 12 to nine.
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Pearl said. "I expect more from myself and so should you. I have no tolerable answer for why I didn't tell the truth the first time. I take full responsibility."
"The things we were found to have done wrong were not as serious as how they reacted to them," Pearl said in response to a media question. "Had I been forthcoming, the severity of the penalties would have been significantly less."
"I love the University of Tennessee. I want to coach here for the rest of my life," Pearl said. "I will not let you down like this again."
Pearl's voice broke at times and he fought tears as he addressed the media at the Stokely Family Media Center. He thanked the university for standing by him and his family.
UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton said the NCAA investigation has been going on since April 2009.
Hamilton said Pearl made "one mistake" and came forward to admit it. Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Cheek called it a "huge mistake."
What's not known yet is whether the NCAA will accept the penalties by UT as is, or add to them.
The NCAA's letter of inquiry covers the UT football program, too. The organization has been looking into possible violations in the program while Lane Kiffin was head coach.
In a statement released Friday, Head Football Coach Derek Dooley said, "The receipt of this letter represents the next step toward the conclusion of this process We have high standards in all aspects of the Tennessee football program, and we are steadfast in operating this program with an unwavering commitment to compliance with NCAA rules. We look forward to the resolution of this situation and the opportunity to put this matter behind us."