Beginning the season with hopes of earning an NCAA tournament berth for the first time since 2003, things have not gone as planned for the Auburn Tigers during the preseason. The Auburn program was hit hard by the ongoing FBI investigation, with assistant coach Chuck Person being arrested in late September and indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.
Add in the fact that two players, Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley, are being held out of competition as the school looks into their eligibility in connection to the FBI case, and things have not gone smoothly for head coach Bruce Pearl.
However according to a report by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Pearl has apparently not done all that he can to help the school conduct its own investigation. Per the report Pearl has not cooperated with Auburn’s efforts to conduct an internal investigation of the basketball program, with school officials informing Pearl that he’s placing his employment in jeopardy as a result.
To have this kind of turmoil just days before the start of the season is suboptimal to say the least.
Auburn opens its season Friday night against Norfolk State. No determination has been made regarding the statuses of Wiley, who suffered a stress fracture while playing for the United States U-19 team this summer, and Purifoy for that game. With those two sitting out, Auburn dropped an exhibition to Division II Barry University last week.