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An ESPN Double-Standard In Not Hiring Pearl?

Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has made it clear that he’d like to land a broadcasting job for the 2011-12 season.  But as we’ve suggested multiple times on this site, it doesn’t look like ESPN will be an option for him.

The website is reporting that “ESPN programming executive Norby Williamson has made known that Pearl won’t be hired anytime soon because of his pending NCAA issues.”

The site then goes on to suggest that ESPN is applying a double-standard to Pearl.  Lou Holtz was hired by ESPN in 2005 after stepping down at South Carolina in 2004.  And Holtz’s Carolina program was about to be hit with NCAA sanctions when the network hired him.

Now, SportsByBrooks also makes a very loose accusation that Craig James was guilty of cheating at SMU because his eventual agent was named in that investigation, but that’s not hard enough evidence for us.  The site also mentions that Terrelle Pryor has appeared on ESPN following the Ohio State scandal, but that was as a news figure, not as a paid analyst.

The website’s argument would be tighter if it simply stuck to the Holtz-Pearl comparison… so that’s what we’ll do.

While Holtz and Pearl are both tainted by NCAA issues, Pearl’s scandal became a much bigger national story than Holtz’s three-time cheating ways at Minnesota, Notre Dame and Carolina.  In addition — and this needs to be considered — a number of current ESPN analysts made it clear that they believed Pearl should have been fired by Tennessee as soon as his lie to NCAA investigators became public knowledge.  That was not the case with Holtz.  Rece Davis wasn’t calling for his ouster from Columbia.

In Pearl’s case, he would be talking with Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps, men who said they flat-out would have fired him.  For that reason, we stated early on that Pearl would likely have to spend a year rehabbing his reputation (and allowing the story to blow over) before landing a gig in Bristol, Connecticut.

That said, CBS might be a possibility for the personable Pearl.  Despite the scandal in his personal life, Rick Pitino served as a guest analyst on that network during last year’s NCAA Tournament.  Pearl has also  made appearences on CBS as a guest analyst.

If UT’s ex-coach is to take up a microphone next year, expect it to be at CBS.  ESPN spent way too much time making the case against Pearl to welcome him into its fold so soon.


Deon Thomas
Deon Thomas

I will turn the channel the instant Pearl's face shows up on any network. Arrogant. Self-centered. Liar. Cheat. -- there aren't enough words to describe that scumbag. Period.


I bet you don't watch much TV.


Adam: Google the names Deon Thomas, (the above poster's avatar name) and Bruce Pearl...and you'll see why plenty of people were waiting for Pearl to get caught lying.


Right, but key there is Pearl lied. He did not have to lie. Right now Pearl's name is mud. No one will hire him until after the NCAA releases their punishment. If ESPN or anyone hires him and the NCAA brings down the hammer, then people will point the finger at him. His negative will taint the network. Pearl just needs to lay low, or take a pro job for at least a year.


The big difference between Holtz and Pearl is that Pearl was directly involved in the violations at Tennessee. He invited recruits to a cookout at his house and then lied about it. Holtz's various issues at Minnesota, Notre Dame, and South Carolina all happened on his watch, but I don't think that he was directly involved. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) This is not an apples-to-apples comparison.


Pearl didn't invite them to the cookout. They drove down and showed up on their own. Once there Pearl then said I want say anything if you guys want. The recruit that signed with OSU told someone, then Pearl lied. Without the lie this is a secondary violation. Just trying to keep the facts straight.


Yeah, the guys were just in the neighborhood.

...and just happened to know exactly where Pearl lived, so they dropped in, uninvited.

Yeah, right.

Regardless, the main issue is the lying about it afterward.


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