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Vol Fans Should Stop Spinning And Just Admit They Want Pearl Because He Wins

Tennessee fans are like the fans of any other school in America.  They  love a winner.  Wins trump everything.  Everything. 

And as we’ve said regarding fans of other SEC schools, if UT fans would just admit that fact, there would be no need for wasted efforts providing thin defenses and wild spins.

We at MrSEC aren’t big on firings.  That’s not kosher in the media… the media is supposed to loooooove firings.  We don’t.  If a coach’s program is clearly moving in reverse over a period of time, then it’s hard for us to provide a defense (which means Mark Richt had better win in 2011).  But you won’t find us calling for heads.  Heck, we felt bad for Billy Gillispie despite all indications that he was a bad egg and an A-1 jerk.

See, we know that coaches tend to be called A-1 jerks when they don’t win enough to suit the hometown fans.  In other words, had Gillispie posted John Calipari-like victories at Kentucky, he could have water-boarded Josh Harrellson and he’d still be coaching in Lexington (rather than Lubbock) today.  (Yes, he’d need to be a better ambassador, but if he’d racked up 55 wins in two seasons, he would’ve gotten a third year.  And you know it, UK fans.)

A recent HBO Sports documentary on Jerry Tarkanian and UNLV drives the “wins are the thing” argument home even further.  During Tark’s years on The Strip, UNLV was charged with recruiting violations, providing extra benefits to players, and grade-fixing.  Over a nine-year span, he produced four — four! — graduates.  And three of his players were photographed sitting in a hot tub with a man who’d been involved in Boston College’s point-shaving scandal in the 1970s.

Yet when Tarkanian was about to be forced out for all that mess, Runnin’ Rebel fans rallied ’round their man.  Rules?  What rules?  Just win.

Win and fans will defend you.  So why not just admit that and move on?  It kills the need to rationalize.

For that reason, Tennessee fans should just admit the following today: Bruce Pearl is the best Vol coach in history in terms of attendance, NCAA success and national exposure.  He’s made basketball fun again in the Volunteer State.  Period.  End of story.

Instead, even in breakdowns like this one that are lighting up inboxes across Tennessee today, there’s spin:

1.  At a pro-Pearl rally yesterday, one speaker said that in America, you’re innocent until proven guilty.  Nevermind the fact that Pearl has already admitted to being guilty of the charges made against him, save one violation of the bump rule.

2.  It’s said that Pearl is being hammered over a simple barbecue.  Nevermind the fact that Pearl had a similar violation at his last school.  And that he told people at said barbecue that he knew it was a violation.

3.  It’s claimed that Pearl’s infractions were all small potatoes.  A few extra calls and the barbecue?  Okay.  But Pearl lied to investigators — the grand no-no on the NCAA’s books — and he phoned the father of a recruit at his barbecue before and after his own meeting with NCAA officials.  The father — and the NCAA — believe Pearl was trying to tamper with the investigation into his program.  In college sports, the NCAA serves as the police department and the court system.  If in the real world you lied in open court and were found guilty of tampering with a police investigation, you’d be staring at stiffer penalties, too, regardless of the initial offense.  That’s the main reason why Pearl’s in NCAA hot water today, not because of bumps and barbecues.  (From speaking with media members in Columbus, Ohio, Jim Tressel is in the same boat at Ohio State, by the way.)

4.  Amazingly the writer of the article linked to above — and FYI, he’s a key member of The Big Orange Tipoff Club — even claims that the NCAA is “blatantly interfering with the University’s right to employ whomever they may want” by threatening harsher penalties for the school if Pearl is kept.

Uh, no kidding.  The NCAA tries to keep college sports clean.  That’s why they’ve hit schools from Southern Cal to Oklahoma to Indiana to Alabama to UConn in recent years.  They have an honor system in place — if we catch you, just come clean.

So if you’re breaking rules and get caught it’s a bad thing.  If you cover it up, it’s worse.  They try to make examples of the folks who lie and cover up.  It’s their chance to show other coaches that they had better just come clean if/when they’re caught.

There’s nothing unusual about that.  And as far as the NCAA overstepping its bounds, a former attorney like the author should know that these types of threats are used every day in the American justice system.  “Accept this plea bargain or we’ll go for Murder One.”  Hey, we’ve seen “Perry Mason.”

And yet the spin continues.  Pearl’s just a little guy and the big, bad NCAA is out to get him.  Pay no attention to the fact that he’s the one who thumbed his nose at the NCAA and broke it’s two Cardinal sins — don’t lie, don’t cover up.

We would like to see Pearl get another chance.  We wanted to see Gillispie and John Pelphrey and Mike Shula and Georgia AD Damon Evans get a little more time too.  We’re softies.

But the spin needs to stop.  College fans — including Tennessee’s — need to just admit that wins trump everything.  If Pearl had reached six straight NITs rather than six straight NCAA tourneys, no one would have gathered on a parking garage to try and save him yesterday.  In fact, he wouldn’t have lasted past September.



The lie and asking the kid/his parents to lie is a very bad offense. But I feel its like this. Lying about some things is worse than others. He did lie about feeding a kid that would potentially play for him for 4 years. And after he lied he informed the ncaa admitted to his wrong doings, gave himself a big financial penalty, penalized his/ his staff's recruiting for a year, and was suspended for 8 games (which clearly was effecting the team). Now The ncaa comes in and are going to hammer him (thanks a lot to espn chatter about him) thats fine with me, I will wait as long as pearl is there... I will never go to another UT basketball game and may drop out of school if they fire pearl. One, Pearl bleeds Orange. Two, He built the program. Three, He has done so much good and charity work with his own money. Four, He runs a fun team to watch. Five, He's fun to watch. Six, it will take longer to find another decent coach to make us mediocre again than pearl staying as a coach with a postseason ban and building us back after. He is always around campus willing to talk to people especially students. He is a good guy. Seven, he does win your right I love a winner and we wont be if hes gone. Eight, Hamilton is way more deserving to be fired than Pearl. Nine, Mike Slive is on the appeals board for the ncaa so after his eight game suspension if and when ut gets hit the appeals should go through better with an insider. Ten, UT will get something from the NCAA no matter what, Should hamilton fire the only guy that has kept hamilton's job for him. We are stuck inbetween a rock and an uncomfortable place. Pearl is family. You stay by your family.

Charles Lindsey
Charles Lindsey

Lower the hammer if that's what they want to do just so they know we EXPECT they will also have to HAMMER Jim Tressel at OSU for worse offenses. How much blood does Pearl have to give? Does he deserve the lethal njection or do you just want to electrocute the man? Does everything else he's done for this university not mean anything? A travesty in the making, and mark my word, the administration does not know what kind of support they are going to lose from fans worldwide if they fire Bruce. Personally, I'm outrages (can you tell) that they are NOW going to pull the plug on him. I've never been ashamed to be a VOL fan but if they can him I will. This is much worse than Kiffin fleeing.


I for one have felt from the beginning that Pearl should be let go. The violations are not the issues, I could forgive that. I could even forgive the first lie to the NCAA if I had to. What pushed me off the Pearl bandwagon was the calling the parent and asking him and his child to lie on his behalf. That to me was the straw that broke the camels back. However I feel Hamilton has played his cards as he saw fit. He kept Pearl last september to see how the NCAA letter played out. Plus it kept him from trying to hire a coach 2 months before the season started. No good coach would leave his program 2 months before the season. We would have been stuck hiring a man with issues (Gillispie) or an unproven assistant. Here we are at the end of the season, and we know that the NCAA is going to skewer Pearl. Mike can now serve him up as a sacrificial lamb. If UT hires a coach with a clean record, we might be able to avoid the hammer.


Charles Linesey...

Here's the problem for Bruce Pearl and Tennessee (a school in a no-win situation):

Coaches who lie to the NCAA and then try to cover up are usually fired. So no amount of "how much does he have to give" equates with a firing. On top of being fired, most coaches who lie to the NCAA or cover up are THEN hit with AT LEAST a two-year coaching ban.

UT tried to go the lesser route, but they've been swimming upstream. Folks can't lie to the NCAA and get away with it.

Tressel won't either.

Also, if you think anyone at Tennessee "wants" to fire Pearl, you're not clued in. This is a lesser of two evils type of choice... made worse by UT's initial decision to try to stand by Pearl.



  1. [...] John Pennington on Tennessee fans rallying around Bruce Pearl: Tennessee fans are like the fans of any other school in America.  They  love a winner.  Wins [...]

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