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Jay Bilas: Bruce Pearl Should Have Been Fired

ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas believes Bruce Pearl should have been terminated from his position as Tennessee’s basketball coach.

Bilas pointed to the misleading information Pearl provided to the NCAA during a summer interview about secondary violations committed by him and his staff. Pearl later admitted to the NCAA that he didn’t tell the truth.

Bilas wrote the following:

“We can all agree or disagree, but if I were in charge at Tennessee, I would have dismissed Bruce Pearl. Just on established facts, there is no reasonable justification for his actions and those of his staff. Every coach understands that if he lies to the NCAA in the course of an investigation, he is likely to be fired. And if a player lies to the NCAA, his career is often over. How can we possibly expect it to be different for a coach than a player?”

That’s not necessarily true about the player. Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was suspended by the NCAA last year when he provided misleading information about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders. Bryant decided to enter the NFL Draft at the end of the season, but he would have been eligible to return this past September if he had chosen to do so.

Bilas also disagreed with SEC commissioner Mike Slive’s decision to suspend Pearl for the first eight games of SEC play in January. Bilas pointed out that Slive certainly had the power to suspend Pearl, but that it wasn’t the right decision.

“Pearl violated NCAA rules, lied about it and has since admitted it,” Bilas wrote. “But by those same rules, Pearl is entitled to a Notice of Allegations, 90 days to respond, and a hearing. Instead, the SEC hit him with a suspension before a Notice of Allegations was even handed down, short-circuiting and encroaching upon the NCAA process and diminishing the authority of the NCAA.”

How might Slive’s decision affect the NCAA’s ruling on Pearl and Tennessee? That remains unknown, and potential punishment from the NCAA might not come until June.

Some might believe that Bilas is out to get Pearl. That hardly seems to be the case. In his column, which can be read as an ESPN Insider, Bilas points to the outstanding job Pearl has done as UT’s coach.

“There are few that I have seen who are better in preparing a team and breaking down the game,” Bilas wrote. “He is truly a great coach.”

 


7 comments
Bill
Bill

Bilas is a chump. Second tier player and second class person. I bet he is OK with Mike Vick playing, but wants Pearl fired. I say shut the hell up.

Gator guy
Gator guy

Houstonvol's post is an intelligent one. My feeling is that the only reason he came clean is because he knew the NCAA had the goods on him. Also, he committed the same violation at his previous school. If he wasn't winning at UT he would have been fired no question. I think that UT is doing the right thing keeping him at this point for legal reasons. I would fire him; the violation was a minor one but the extent of the cover up is too much to ignore for a university in my opinion.

DEBBIE
DEBBIE

I AM REALY SURPRISED AT WHAT JAY BILAS SAID NORMALLY I AGREE WITH HIS DUKENESS BUT THIS TIME HES GOT IT WRONG.LET THE NCAA DECIDE WHAT PUNISHMENT TENNESSEE GETS.IF THEY DECIDE TO KEEP HIM IT SHOULD BE THIER BUSINESS.I DON`T ROOT FOR TENNESSEE I AM A U.K. FAN BUT HE IS GOOD FOR BASKETBALL AND GREAT FOR THE SEC. HE HAD MADE IT FUN TO PLAY TENNESSEE AGAIN.JAY BILAS TSK TSK WORKING WITH THOSE OLD FIRED COACHES MUST BE RUBBING OFF.

Houstonvol
Houstonvol

As a Tenn graduate, I a torn on this matter. Yes he had some secondary violations, that is not the issue. If he would have admitted to them when first approached about them, then this would be a non-issue, just like the are at UConn, which did more of a violation than Pearl did. However he tried to cover it up. Not only that, he arranged for the assistant coaches to cover it up, and then called and asked the kids and their parents to cover it up. After doing all that, then he realized that the poop was going to hit the fan regardless. There was no way that he could keep it covered up, so he admitted to everything and came clean before the NCAA showed back up with proof of his lying. He has then sat back and been the whipping boy for everyone because he knows that he is lucky to still have a job. This is the issue - TN is a great basketball school. However we have been through endless bad luck on coaches. We finally have a coach that has the ability to take up to the top in basketball. If we fire him, he will end up at another program in a year or two and will be building them back up. Or we can take our lumps with him and hope that this issue does not destroy his recruiting. If we fire him, we have to then hope that a new coach will continue and build on his success, and not another Wade, Jerry or Buzz. The question is do you dance with the devil you know (Bruce) or the devil you don't know? Right now UT is choosing to dance with the devil they know. I have a hunch that this will bring a harder NCAA punishment because they can actually punish a guilty coach instead of the program after the coach has left. However how much more is justified? He is already banned from recruiting for a year, lost a year's work of pay, and has been suspended for 8 games. What is the justified punishment, and does he deserve more?

Teresa
Teresa

No other school has ever put the restrictions on a coach that Tennessee has. Add in the SEC suspension & when is enough enough? If the media keeps pounding this drum, UT will end up with no choice because the NCAA will feel pressure to let him have it when he's already been punished enough.

enough already
enough already

To Mr SEC-FAN--You are 100% correct in what you posted. He made a mistake and tried to cover it up. Pearl and his staff run a very clean program compared to most other big time schools. It was a very small infraction (having kids to his house for a BBQ) and unfortunatly he made a bad decision by trying to cover it up. He came clean. I would like to see other coaches come clean. (won't happen)
Lets not shoot one of the best coaches in the country because he made a mistake. Why is he becomming the poster boy for how hard everyone can come down on someone.
Bruce Pearl is and will always be a genuine, caring, charitable person that just want his possible future players to know that he treats them all like family and they are welcome to come over for a bbq on Sundays.
Bilas keep your opinin to your self on this one and go after the big fish.

sec_fan
sec_fan

Maybe the NCAA should just suspend him from all levels for basketball for a lifetime. Maybe tar and feathering him would be better, or perhaps a firing squad at dawn. What would happen if Bruce Pearl was fired? He would get another job and Tennessee would watch him in the tournament every year, probably on television. 1. He made a mistake 2. He covered it up compounding small violations. He did come clean, he is paying a price. Tennessee may have to fire him if there is a long suspension or a post season ban, but for now standing behind him is the right thing. Just ask Gene Chizick..



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