Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl lied to NCAA investigators during an early summer interview. As a result, the Vols self-imposed recruiting sanctions and docked Pearl $1.5 million in salary over the next four years.
Yet North Carolina football players were ruled permanently ineligible partly for lying to the NCAA about extra benefits they received from agents. Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant got the heave-ho last season when he lied about his interactions with ex-NFL star Deion Sanders.
Why do the players get the boot, while Pearl gets fined? Mike DeCourcy asked the NCAA that very question and got this answer:
“The NCAA is not involved in employment decisions, as that would be a campus matter,” NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said by e-mail, stressing that the NCAA does not comment on specific cases.
“However, a show-cause penalty issued by the Committee on Infractions could detail how athletic-related duties should be limited. Any penalty is designed to address the type of violations, as well as any advantage gained.”
Tennessee may face a hearing before the infractions committee, but that’s months away. And as DeCourcy points out, a show-cause order usually just explains how the coach will be monitored, not punished.
The lesson? When adults act like children, they’re treated as adults. Student-athletes are treated like children no matter the situation.