To recap: As an Iowa assistant in the late ’80s, Pearl taped a recruit saying he had received a car from an Illini assistant. Pearl gave the tape to the NCAA, which couldn’t verify Pearl’s claim but did hit the Illinois program for lack of institutional control. As a result, Pearl couldn’t find a D-I job for years. That Illini assistant? Recently retired Illinois-Chicago coach Jimmy Collins.
“What goes around comes around,” Collins told USA Today.
“Bruce was holier than thou. I knew Bruce and had talked to people about Bruce. Everyone knew what he was about.”
Pearl, who will docked $1.5 million over the next 5 years in salary, offered a teary apology on Friday: “I learned that it’s not OK to tell the truth most of the time, but you’ve got to tell the truth all of the time.”
You can image how that sits with Collins. He’s had time to move on from that incident, but the apology hit a nerve. He vented a bit more to the paper.
“It rings in my mind what he said back then. He said, “If I had to do it again, yes, I would do it again.’ The persona he tries to portray is that he’s Honest John.
“If I sound a little angry, I’m not angry anymore. God has taken care of that for me. But for me to say, well, I’m going to take the high road and say I feel bad for Bruce, my nose would start growing like Pinocchio.
“It will be interesting to see what happens to him. I’m watching with a microscope.”