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Did Ex-UT Coach Pearl Break Another Rule While In Knoxville? (Updated)

According to CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy, junior Ohio guard DJ Cooper has told the network that two coaches contacted him after his freshman season and tried to lure him into a transfer.  One coach was Baylor’s Scott Drew.  The other was ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.

In case you’re wondering — or haven’t been keeping up with the Vanderbilt v. Maryland case currently being hashed out by the ACC and SEC — it’s not kosher for the coach of one school to contact a player at another school in order to elicit a transfer.  In fact, it’s a secondary NCAA violation (though it seems like player-poaching should land more in the “major” violation category).

Cooper was the MAC’s Freshman of the Year in 2010.  After advancing to the Sweet Sixteen last night, the player revealed that Baylor and Tennessee came after him.  (Maybe Baylor president Kenneth Starr can investigate those claims.)

Cooper’s parents — Donell and Dionne — backed up their son’s story and suggested a few more coaches contacted them as well.  The father said Pearl “tried the hardest” to talk his son into leaving Ohio.  But, “It’s hard to say how many there were contacting us.  It was shocking to me that so many coaches would do that behind a school’s back.”

“It was surprising, being my first experience, that schools were wanting me to come play for their programs,” the younger Cooper said.  He claimed that he never considered leaving the Bobcat program.

Baylor’s Drew told The New York Times last night that once Cooper signed with Ohio, “I never talked with the mom or the dad or DJ.”

This isn’t a concern for Tennessee moving forward as Pearl has already been dismissed for NCAA rules violations.  The ex-coach — who’s actually a very good co-host on Sirius/XM radio — was hit with a three-year “show cause” penalty by the NCAA.

UPDATE — Jimmy Hyams of WNML-AM/FM in Knoxville has tweeted that Pearl — like Drew — denies the charge.  Tennessee knocked Ohio from the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and Pearl claims he complimented Cooper after the game, but: “I never reached out to him, I never had contact with him or his family.”

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Mizzou Curators To Meet Next Week

The University of Missouri board of curators will meet next week in what is believed to be a previously unscheduled get-together.  Since we live in an expansion-crazed world where every board meeting means the potential for decisions and announcements on realignment, this particular meeting is getting play from Mizzou-specific websites and messageboads — such as PowerMizzou.com which is the Rivals site covering the Tigers.

According to that site — behind a paywall, subscribe above — they believe no meeting would have been called if the curators were fully onboard with the chancellor Brady Deaton’s decision to stay in the Big 12.  In the site’s view, the meeting could be a sort of “here’s where we stand” update for the curators.

Also, in the site’s words, “there is no question that the majority of the fanbase and the majority of the on-campus leaders want to go (to the SEC) at this point.”

That much is debatable.  One Missouri-based writer recently posted a poll on Twitter and the vast majority of respondents said they preferred the Big Ten to the SEC.  (And, yes, realize that if there’s anything less accurate than Twitter it’s likely a Twitter poll.  But hey, it’s something.)

While rumors have heated up regarding Louisville — spoke with a source last night who said that’s gained steam for no reason — and West Virginia — if the SEC hasn’t jumped at the Mountaineers, why would they jump at Louisville? — we believe Missouri is currently in the driver’s seat.

If the Big 12 cannot save itself, Mizzou will need a landing spot.  They would appear to have one in the SEC.  Fourteen schools beats 13.  Aside from the regular season scheduling nightmares, just how will postseason tournaments — with 13 teams — be handled?  No, if the SEC could get to 14 and land an AAU university that happens to be a land-grant institution in a state with two Top 40 TV markets and a population of 6 million… yeah, the SEC would do that deal.

But this one sits with the Tigers.  Can Deaton be persuaded by curators and a football coach who clearly want change?  And can Missouri pull out with making it look like the SEC was behind said pull-out… in order to keep Kenneth Starr at bay?

Perhaps we’ll know more after next Tuesday.  But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Aggie Slocum And Hog Broyles Talk SEC Move

Texas A&M fans are ready to pull their hair out… if they have any left.  Everyone continues to say all the right things about the Aggies eventually joining the SEC, but until the deal is done and Mike Slive accepts the school unconditionally, it’s still limbo-time in College Station.  (As we wait to see just how Kenneth Starr can go.)

Well, at least the talk coming from A&M brass is positive.  Former Aggie football coach and current special advisor to the school’s president RC Slocum told an Arkansas touchdown club yesterday that all signs still point to an A&M-SEC marriage:


“In my own opinion, I don’t think there’s anything (that could change the thinking at A&M).  I think we’re committed with what we want to do.  Everything I know, the SEC, I don’t see them waffling on anything they’ve indicated… I don’t think there’s any turning back now.  And I don’t think you can make us.”


During a Q&A session, former Arkansas AD Frank Broyles addressed Slocum: “I’ve said for the last 10 years I would crawl to Texas to get you all in the SEC.  We benefit more than anybody with (A&M) coming to the SEC.”

Whenever that finally, officially occurs.

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