NCAA hearing over; Tennessee states its case

NCAA hearing over; Tennessee states its case

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Former Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl (right) chats with his lawyer before entering the hearing room. Former Tennessee head basketball coach Bruce Pearl (right) chats with his lawyer before entering the hearing room.

By JIM WOGAN
6 Sports Director

INDIANAPOLIS (WATE) - ‪‪Tennessee's trip in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions Saturday lasted a brain-draining 10 1/2 hours, covered 12 major rule violations and put two former high profile coaches and an outgoing athletics director on the hot seat.‬

‪"The hardest part is just being there," former UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl said after the hearing concluded shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday.

"It was not something I ever expected to be looking forward to, to have to appear before the Committee on Infractions."

Pearl was actually the matinee, which turned into the late show. His interrogation started around 2 p.m. and lasted five hours. The focus of questioning was on impermissible phone calls, improper contact with recruits, violations by his assistants, and most damaging, a charge of unethical conduct hung on the former head coach himself.‬

‪"It was a good opportunity to visit with the committee and they asked questions and I think they've got a very accurate view of the case, and now we'll wait for their decisions."

Former UT football coach Lane Kiffin's time before the 10 member committee came Saturday morning. It was four hours that keyed in on allegations of improper contact with recruits and an accusation Kiffin failed to monitor his program properly.‬ ‪ 

"It was a very fair process. I am glad that it's over," Kiffin told 6 Sports. "I am trying to get back to L.A., back to the camps we have going on right now. Under the direction of the NCAA, I can't comment about it at all."

His appearance in Indianapolis is the first time Kiffin has seen his former Tennessee colleagues since he abruptly quit in 2010.

He also commented on the recent announced resignation of UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton.

"I feel really bad for him," Kiffin said. "It's an unfortunate situation. I enjoyed him being my boss. I think he's a great man."

When Pearl arrived for opening statements at 8:30, he was poised, polished and well dressed. By the time the hearings concluded, his mood subdued and his immediate future as a college coach was still in doubt.‬ ‪

"I can't comment on it," said Pearl. "It's not over. We've got to wait 45 to 60 days to get a response." 

Hamilton and interim AD Joan Cronan both declined comment.

In a printed statement, UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said, "We are glad we had the opportunity to present our case. We feel it was a fair hearing, and we look forward to the resolution of this matter."

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