NCAA imposes show-cause penalty on Bruce Pearl

NCAA imposes show-cause penalty on Bruce Pearl

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Former Tennessee men's head basketball coach Bruce Pearl received a three-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA, but UT has no additional sanctions beyond what it self-imposed.

In the public infractions report released Wednesday, Pearl was cited for failure to monitor and unethical conduct for providing "false and misleading information" and asking others to do the same.

Pearl's show-cause order prohibits him from taking part in recruiting for three years at any NCAA member school.

Three former assistant coaches, Tony Jones, now head coach at Alcoa High School, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay, were cited for a failure to cooperate with the investigation. Each received a one-year show-cause order, which also prohibits recruiting.

Pearl declined to go on camera Wednesday, but says he'll have a press conference on Thursday.

The NCAA says in findings by the Division I Committee on Infractions the University of Tennessee failed to monitor its men's basketball program.

The committee said the most serious allegations included the staff lying and encouraging others to follow suit, including recruits and a parent.

The violations began when three prospects and their families attended a dinner at Pearl's home in connection with their unofficial visits to UT.

Pearl took the prospects and their families to an outdoor veranda where the committee says he told them their attendance violated NCAA rules and encouraged them to not tell others they were there.

Coach Pearl did not report the violations and denied knowing about them when he was questioned during the NCAA investigation.

The NCAA says Pearl also made a series of calls to a prospect's father to convince him to lie during the investigation.

Pearl later told investigators the truth during another interview.

The NCAA says his former assistants did not give complete information to UT and NCAA enforcement staff. Two assistants shared information with each other about their interviews.

The investigation found that Pearl's staff made 94 impermissible phone calls to 12 prospects over two years.

Since the committee found the violations were not discovered in a timely fashion, that led to UT and Pearl's failure to monitor citations.

The additional penalties imposed by the committee include:

  • Public reprimand and censure
  • Two years of probation from this August 24 through August 23, 2013
  • Three-year show-cause order for the former head men's basketball coach from this August 24 through August 23, 2014
  • One-year show-cause order for each of the former assistant coaches from this August 24 through August 23, 2012
  • In addition to the 20 penalties self-imposed by UT and the conference and agreed to by the infractions committee, Tennessee must also serve two years of probation.

    The NCAA investigation also included allegations of major violations in the football program under former head coach Lane Kiffin. However, the committee found the evidence did not support findings of major violations.

    However, the committee said it was "troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions by the football coaching staff during its one-year tenure at the institution."

    Kiffin's staff committed 12 secondary violations over 10 months, all of which were related to recruiting.

    In response to the findings, Kiffin, who's now the head football coach at USC, released a statement Wednesday, saying: "I'm very grateful to the NCAA, the committee on infractions and its chairman, Dennis Thomas, for a very fair and thorough process. I'm also very grateful that we were able to accurately and fairly present the facts in our case and that no action was taken against us. I'm pleased that the NCAA based its decision on the facts and not on perception. I'm also very grateful that the Tennessee football program was cleared of any wrongdoing. As I have said before, we always have been committed to following NCAA rules and bylaws both at Tennessee and now at USC, and we always will be. Now that this has reached its conclusion, I am looking forward to continuing to prepare our team for the upcoming season."

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