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Pearl Hosts A Barbecue For Media Members; Says He Won’t Appeal Show Cause Ban

Showing he still has his sense of humor, ex-Tennessee hoops coach Bruce Pearl hosted a press conference today at his house.  On the menu?  Barbecue.

Pearl told the assembled media that he will not appeal the three-year show cause ban levied against him by the NCAA yesterday.  He also said that he hopes the penalty will not prevent him from someday returning to the college game.

Additionally, he took responsibility for the rule violation that led to his cover-up that led to his downfall.

“I was in control of that situation, and I didn’t handle things right at my house.  Had I been more forthcoming in my interview with the NCAA, we wouldn’t be here.”

However, Pearl also said that it’s obvious he didn’t get much credit for eventually going back to the NCAA to fess up.  “I believe I should have gotten more credit for coming forward and telling the truth, but the damage that was done was too great.”

Like his ex-assistants and his ex-assistants’ attorney, Pearl made it clear that he was not pleased with the alleged bump violation that, in the end, was not found to be an issue.

“The timing of that charge led directly to the termination of my coaching staff.  Our chancellor and our athletic director went on record as saying that supposed bump violation was the beginning of the end for me…

I waited a lifetime for a job like Tennessee… it was my hope our staff could have survived.”

It’s an unbelievably sad end for a coach who had done wonders to elevate the basketball reputation of the entire SEC.  Pearl’s arrival in Knoxville happened to coincide with a dip in the fortunes of perennial league big dog, Kentucky.  In other words, Pearl and UT helped fill an unusual void at or near the top of the SEC standings.

But ultimately, show cause penalties are death sentences.  Do the research, you’ll find that the only survivors are from tiny schools or tiny non-revenue sports.  There was no way for Pearl and his staff to survive at Tennessee.

Now the hope for Pearl is that he can return to coaching somewhere, someday.  Most show cause victims do not.  But because Pearl’s punishment had more to do with his cover-up than his crime, we believe it’s likely someone will give him another shot down the road.

 


12 comments
AustinVol
AustinVol

Matt: You're fighting an uphill battle on this site regarding Calipari. There is absolutely zero evidence to suggest that Calipari has ever done anything wrong. It's really just unfortunate circumstances in which all these things have magically happened "on his watch". You might expect the head coach to be accountable for such things, but that's just nonsense. He just has a bad reputation. It's really quite sad.

John: I don't have any sources that would give me first hand knowledge, but my guess is that the NCAA wanted Pearl for his involvement in the Ilinois case while at Iowa. It's counterintuituve, as you would think the NCAA would support those who provide information about violations, but I don't know all the specifics of that case. I do know that his involvement in that case caused many in the media (notably Vitale and Bilas at ESPN) to have conspicuously negative opinions of Pearl (even before photo incident). Seems Pearl "broke the code". I don't have the real reasons behind it, but why else would the NCAA came after Pearl with guns blazing, categorizing the non-bump as a major violation (only to later shrug it off as something they were barely aware of) and then drop the hammer? Seems a one year show cause in addition to King Slive's banishment (Thanks Mike. Tell the Newtons we said hello!) and his severe financial penalties would be sufficient. It was apparent from the outset that the end goal was to make sure Bruce Pearl never coached in the NCAA again. Mission accomplished.

As for Tressel, there is a long stream of written documentation that chronicles his attempt to cover up the violations at OSU prior to him signing the document AND continuing to play ineligible players in the meantime. So he lied to keep players eligible. It remains to be seen what will happen to Tressel, but nothing would surprise me. He might get the Calipari kid gloves and show up on the sidelines at a major program in 2012 or he might receive a show cause of some length.

The NCAA doesn't care about amateurism. The care about money and money only. That's why you have rampant corruption with Fiesta Bowl Reps throwing lavish parties for ADs and other admins (of course, the only reason there's any hint of this is because the Feds got involved), ineligible OSU players cleared to play in bowl games, and Administrators overseeing the most corrupt programs in the country like Paul Dee LEADING enforcement efforts and personally handing down self-righteous verdicts to other cheaters.

Pearl's biggest flaw is that he was a neophyte. Pearl was a more naive version of Henry in Good Fellas. He toiled in obscurity and finally worked his way up to the bigtime. But unlike Henry, he broke the code and there was no exit strategy. Do you think John Calipari has cookouts at his house for recruits? Please. He has Jay-Z, World Wide Wes and other runners hosting events ...and I feel certain they're far more wholesome and above board than a backyard BBQ. Pearl didn't know how to play the game, and in a game where amateurism is a farce and corruption rules he was quickly dispatched.

Matt
Matt

Give it time, Calipari will get his. On the other hand, He is a genius on bending the rules in his favor.

AustinVol
AustinVol

Hmmm. Let's see. How many times have I mentioned that Pearl was wrong and deserved to be punished? Several times. Very clearly. So it seems you're incapable of comprehending the words I've written.

Unfortunately, life is not black and white, but rather shades of grey. If you choose to believe that John Calipari never had any knowledge or role in the things that happened under his watch, that is defensible based on "the data" (sort of). By U.S. criminal legal standards (or the far more arbitrary and capricious NCAA enforcement staff), he has not been directly convicted. He's also left probation in his wake, but he himself has managed to skirt away (to his credit, he's very good at what he does. Pearl was clearly out of his depth in this regard). Kenneth Lay would have loved to be treated with such benefit and latitude.

If Tressel gets 3 years (or more), or there is a viable explanation for why he will get less, I will stand corrected. Until then I maintain that the punishment Pearl received for his *wrongdoing* is way out of proportion and that the NCAA has absolutely zero real interest in cleaning up the real rule breaking that occurs throughout its system.

AustinVol
AustinVol

If I'm lashing out at anyone, it's the NCAA and the complete hypocrisy that permeates the organization. I also think it's interesting to watch the media lash out and devour Pearl over what amounts to a white lie. He deserved punishment. The punishment he received is ridiculous and that is what tips the NCAA's hand. Even you speculated on this site whether Pearl would get 1 or as much as 2 years of show cause. He'll never coach at Tennessee again, so he isn't my coach. I happen to think the punishment and the way coverage of the issue has been framed are both well out of whack. We'll see what Tressel gets, as his case is the best available benchmark and if anything, his transgressions are much worse than Pearl's.

Calipari is an interesting example. I find it interesting that you steadfastly defend him. Calipari occupies the same mental space among UK fans (and you) that O.J. Simpson occupies among.....himself. There are no conspiracies that were "whipped up" to get Calipari. He has earned his reputation despite being given a complete pass by media members like Vitale, MrSEC, etc. Some guys like Calhoun and Bill Belichick, who openly cheat to gain tangible competitive advantage and are only given a slap on the wrist (if even that). Giving 1st degree murderers a traffic ticket and guys who are dishonest about their jaywalking the chair....makes perfect sense

AustinVol
AustinVol

The NCAA was clearly out to nail Pearl from the beginning. Had he not lied about the photo, it seems likely they would have doled out disproportionately devastating penalties for the BBQ and phone calls instead. Many of the holier than thou crowd (including John), have taken great pleasure in twisting the knife throughout Bruce's very public downfall (though I will give John credit for at least acknowledging the situation is sad today giving Pearl some credit for his accomplishments), but the punishment so far exceeds the crime that it boggles the mind. Did Pearl bring this on himself and deserve to be punished? Yes. Does it make any sense to destroy his career while the Jim Calhouns and John Calipari's of the world thumb their nose at the rules? Of course not.

Thought it will never happen, I would GLADLY welcome Pearl back in 3 years. I can admit that there are situations in which I have not been forthcoming in my life, so it seems a bit unfair for me to cast stones at Bruce and call for justice. I'll leave that to the rest of the virtuous folks who have taken such glee in his downfall and so aggressively condemned him. He was definitely wrong to lie. The reaction and punishment, however, are very akin to publicly executing a jay walker in the most barbaric fashion possible.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

As we all said from the beginnin. It was not the crime that caused you to lose your job. It was your lying and trying to cover it up. Telling the truth AFTER you have been busted red handed is not telling the truth. The fact that Pearl only received a three year ban shows that they took his truth telling into account. He should have received more thatn three years. He lied. Worse he called the recruits and his parents to then lie on his behalf. That is the issue with me. If a teacher called me to lie on his/her behalf to cover up something they did, I would never trust that teacher again. I would be in the principal's office first thing the next morning filing a complaint. The NCAA also did Coach Martin no favors. If he is not winning in three years and Pearl comes back on the market, I fear there will be support to bring Pearl back. Which would be the biggest mistake UT could make.

gregpomeroy
gregpomeroy

Did you go, John? What's his house look like?

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AustinVol...

Should be punished? You keep saying it was a "white lie" and "jaywalking." Clearly you don't think he should have received too much punishment.

But I'll play along... why is it the NCAA only hates Bruce Pearl? I've missed that one. What's the reason for their desire to ruin Pearl... clearly it wasn't a Tennessee conspiracy, because the Vols were given a pass on further sanctions. So why is the NCAA -- in your opinion -- treating Pearl more harshly than John Calipari? (It also seems that you believe Tressel will get a pass. For some reason you compare the two situations as though they are the same when in fact, Tressel signed his name to a false document while Pearl lied to investigators faces... I have no idea which the NCAA will view as the worse crime. And remember, none of the other accusations from Sports Illustrated have even been investigated yet, much less proven... so we're really comparing Pearl's type of lie to Tressel's type of lie.)

Why do you believe Pearl has been targeted?

John

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AustinVol...

I "steadfastly" defend Calipari because the facts demand that. Show me where he has made too many phone calls, hosted recruits at his house, told parents not to mention the violation, and then lied to investigators and I'll tell you that Calipari will get a show cause ban, too. But he hasn't been caught doing anything. No evidence of anything.

Now, I'll have you know that Kentucky fans claim that I hate Calipari (of course) because I often mention the fact that his reputation is akin to scurvy or smallpox. Again, the fact that he has a bad reputation is a fact, too.

The more you write the more it's obvious that you're just a "my guys are always right and everybody else's guys are always wrong" type. You're incapable of an objective conversation.

John

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AustinVol...

I've never been called part of the holier than thou crowd... ever. I'm about as far from that as possible. I'm usually blistered for being too soft on people.

You're also wrong on two other fronts here and I think that's telling. 1. Jim Calhoun didn't lie to the NCAA. But his assistant did... and he got exactly what Pearl and his assistants got... a show cause ban. 2. John Calipari has never been accused by the NCAA of wrongdoing. Bad things happened on his watch, yes, but he had plausible deniability.

These things didn't happen on Pearl's watch. Pearl DID them. And he's paying for them. I may personally hate that for the man, but that doesn't mean I can make up false spins in my coverage... as you are.

I always hear about conspiracies, but it seems the NCAA has whipped up on some pretty big cash cows over the last 20 years -- Kentucky basketball, Alabama football, Ohio State football is about to get it, Southern Cal football, now Bruce Pearl. I see them hitting schools that screw up and I seem them targeting coaches who lie. 99.9% of coaches who lie get a show cause ban. If Pearl hadn't lied, he'd still be coaching at UT. Even he has said so.

I take no glee in any of this. And I have lied in my life, too. Who hasn't? But if I went to the witness stand in a court case and lied -- nice guy or not -- I'd be jailed for perjury. Pearl lied on the NCAA's witness stand. And he's getting their jail sentence (a show cause ban) for doing so.

Now stop lashing out at the world because you miss your coach.

John

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

gregpomeroy...

Nope. Ias huddled here at MrSEC Headquarters doing two radio shows in Georgia and Alabama.

As for his house, I'm guessing for 2-point-whatever million it's pretty darn nice.

John



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