Wednesday was another heap of embarrassing news for Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, who was notified that the NCAA found a dozen rule violations by the Vols coaches, assistants and the school itself.
The school has until May 21 to respond to the allegations, including to the dreaded unethical conduct charge on Pearl.
If that sounds bad, it is. And college basketball people around the web had plenty to say about it. Here’s a sampling:
Gary Parrish: You want to know what’s in store for Pearl when the Tennessee case reaches the punishment phase? Don’t look at [Jim] Calhoun. Look at former UConn operations director Beau Archibald, who was charged with unethical conduct (just like Pearl) for providing “false and misleading” information to the NCAA enforcement staff (just like Pearl). Archibald’s punishment? A two-year show-cause order. That basically means he’s out of college basketball for at least two years.
Dana O’Neil: In the other [unethical conduct cases], some of the original charges were considerably more egregious than Pearl’s. Hefty impermissible benefits, academic fraud and participating in a fantasy league that constituted gambling were among the worst. But the common denominator in every single case? A lie. “Provided false and misleading information during interviews,” “failed to divulge,” — choose your verbiage but the inherent mistake was the same: the guilty parties weren’t honest. Some lied directly; others asked people to lie on their behalf. According to the NCAA’s notice of allegations sent to Tennessee, Pearl did both.
Jeff Eisenberg: Those who view the lenient punishment Jim Calhoun received Tuesday as a sign that Pearl too will get off easy might want to reevaluate their stance. The Connecticut coach whose crimes are most similar to Pearl’s was assistant Beau Archibald, who received a two-year show-cause penalty for providing false and misleading information to NCAA investigators. It might take a penalty similar to that for Tennessee to consider other coaching options besides Pearl.
Matt Norlander: For now, it’s more public shame and embarrassment. More bad talk of Pearl at a time when college basketball orbits into the embraceable heat of the media’s sunlight. But this is no punishment. This is just airing out the dirty laundry and letting the onlookers leer and gawk once again, allowing all of us to question just how the hell Pearl’s been able to hold on to his job.
Eammon Brennan: There is really nothing new in this report. This is the same stuff the public — and Tennessee — has known about Pearl since this whole ill-advised barbecue mess became public last year.
Which brings us to whether Pearl will keep his job. That answer seems to be … yes. Probably.
Stewart Mandel: With today’s heightened awareness of NCAA enforcement issues, the guiding principal should be more oversight and more diligence when it comes to monitoring high-profile programs. [Vols athletic director Mike] Hamilton seems to have taken the opposite approach: raise the money to go out and hire big-name coaches, then hand them the keys to drive as fast as they want. And like an unfortunate car accident, this should be a cautionary tale to athletic directors everywhere that head coaches, like all employees, need to be actively managed.
Rob Dauster: The Tennessee coach not only committed violations, he lied about them when confronted by the NCAA. He then tried to convince a recruit’s father — Jon Craft, the father of Ohio State point guard and then-Tennessee commit Aaron — to lie to the NCAA to cover for him. That’s brazen. And just cause for termination. So if Tennessee was going to do away with their popular head coach, he would be gone already. But they don’t. This is an athletic department that clearly values victories over ethics.
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