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One Pearl Defense That Doesn’t Fly

The ol’ inbox here at Headquarters is still filling up with emails from Tennessee fans angry that we aren’t railing against the UT administration for firing Bruce Pearl.

As we’ve said on numerous occasions, it’s easy for us to understand why Vol fans loved Pearl — he won, he loved UT, he made Vol basketball fun again, etc, etc.  All are true.

And the UT administration — as we wrote yesterday — has bungled its handling of the Pearl situation from September right on up through yesterday’s firing. 

But Pearl’s chances of survival were slim from the outset.  We wrote in September that he was looking at least at a one-year suspension.  So UT’s decision to finally pull the plug — while terribly mishandled — was not a bad one.

Still, we understand fans wanting to defend their guy.  And there’s really only one defense that we’re tired of hearing… because it’s so far off base.

“He had already been punished enough!”

Uh, no, he hadn’t.

When you lie to the NCAA you are usually fired or forced to resign.  You are usually banned from coaching for at least two seasons just as soon as you’re fired.  As The Knoxville News Sentinel reported today, 34 of the last 35 people to be hit with “show cause” penalties wound up unemployed.  Only a Division II cross-country coach faced the Committee on Infractions while still employed.

Anything less than the usual firing is less than the norm.  Pearl’s “unprecedented” self-imposed sanctions were unprecedentedly small.

Docked $300,000 a year for five years?  Not as bad as being fired.

No recruiting off campus for a year?  Not as bad as being fired.

An 8-game suspension?  Not as bad as the all-game suspension that goes along with… being fired.

It’s natural for Vol fans to want to defend their uber-successful coach.  But the “he’d already been punished enough” defense doesn’t fly.  The facts show, he hadn’t been.  Not even close.  Which is why UT had to reverse field yesterday.



  1. [...] John Pennington says there’s a defense used by fans that doesn’t fly. (MrSEC) [...]

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