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Pearl’s Verdict Vs. Haith’s Verdict…Trying To Compare NCAA Cases Is Folly

haith-pearlIn their perfect world, most sports fans would like to see the NCAA handle rules violations as follows: My school gets a pass; everyone else gets firebombed.  And it doesn’t matter what the violations are.  Us good.  Them bad.  Let us go.  Crush them.

In their perfect world, most members of the sports media would like to see the NCAA handle rules violations as follows: If you do X, you are punished with Y.  Anyone doing X gets Y.  End of story.  All Xs are met with Ys.

Trouble is, neither group gets its way on this one.  Why?  Because the NCAA has been happy to smack big and small schools alike in recent decades (sorry, fans) and no two NCAA cases are exactly the same and therefore no two NCAA rulings are going to be exactly the same (sorry, media).

The NCAA’s legal process is very much like our own legal system.  If I get pulled over for driving 75 in a 55 zone, I might get out of the ticket if I’m apologetic and respectful toward the officer.  If I’m belligerent, I’m getting that ticket.  Exact same crime… two different punishments.

Think about it.  No two murder trials are the same.  If this person kills someone and that person kills someone else, there’s no guarantee that both criminals will get the exact same jail sentence.

I say this because Frank Haith’s five-game suspension at Missouri — announced today by the NCAA — has opened the crypt on Bruce Pearl’s three-year show cause penalty that is set to expire before next season.  Gary Parrish of — a man who co-hosted a satellite radio show with Pearl — writes today that both Haith and Pearl lied to the NCAA.  But one got what was effectively a three-year ban (and his assistants got one-year bans) and the other got a five-game suspension.  The easy verdict: The NCAA was out to get Pearl or Tennessee (as some Vol fans will most certainly suggest) while giving a pass to Haith and Mizzou.

Parrish runs through the backstory of Pearl’s downfall.  The coach had a few high school juniors to his house for a barbecue.  That’s a no-no.  And Pearl would have likely received a slap on the wrist had he just fessed up.  He did not.  And neither did his assistants.  For lying to the NCAA the head coach and his aides were slapped around pretty good.  Even though Pearl eventually called the NCAA back for a second interview and admitted to lying during the first go-round, it was show causes for everyone.

Parrish also breaks down what he read in the NCAA’s report on Haith and his failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance while at Miami:


“… the most important thing you need to know is that the NCAA made a ‘factual conclusion’ that Haith changed his story multiple times about why he issued unusual ‘advanced checks’ to three assistants.  According to the report, Haith initially said the check were issued because the assistants ‘had personal obligations and were financially struggling’ before ultimately acknowledging that he wrote the check to create cash designated to repay former booster Nevin Shapiro in hopes of ensuring he wouldn’t talk about a number of things, including an allegation that Shapiro had used money to help secure a commitment from a basketball report named Dequan Jones.”


Parrish’s point is simple to understand: Pearl lied about a secondary violation and got a show cause penalty.  Haith lied about paying a booster hush money yet he only got a five-game sit-down.

Tennessee fans — and Pearl and his assistants — have a right to wonder what the heck’s going on with this one.  Missouri fans and Haith — as we wrote earlier today — should be breathing a sigh of relief over Haith’s punishment.

But for us as outsiders, it’s important to remember that we weren’t in the interview rooms for any of these debriefings.  Perhaps the NCAA’s investigators felt Pearl was being more elusive than Haith.  There’s no way to know.

Also, Parrish leaves out a couple of points regarding the Pearl situation.  The ex-Tennessee coach had previously been slapped on the wrist while at Wisconsin-Milwaukee for having a junior prospect at his house.  More importantly, Pearl also placed a phone call to the father of current-Ohio State guard Aaron Craft — one of the juniors who attended Pearl’s Knoxville barbecue — before the man had his own meeting with NCAA investigators.  According to the NCAA’s notice at the time, Pearl reportedly reminded Craft’s father that it was an NCAA violation for his family to attend the barbecue and that he had given them all the choice of attending.  Craft’s father — under NCAA pressure to fess up or see his own son punished — told investigators that he believed that Pearl was trying to influence his statements to the NCAA.

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Parrish: Pearl Should Follow Sampson’s Second Chance Path

Gary Parrish of believes ex-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl should follow the lead of former Oklahoma and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson.  Of course, in some ways he already has. 

While Pearl didn’t make the number of illegal phone calls that Sampson did, impermissible calls led to his troubles.  And like Sampson, Pearl figures to face a show cause ban from the NCAA that will keep him away from the college game for a year or more.

But Parrish thinks Pearl should eye Sampson’s rebirth in the NBA… and possibly follow the same plan of rehabilitation.

“Disgraced and essentially banned by the NCAA at the age of 52, Sampson didn’t spend a year playing golf or hiding or talking on television.  He’s a basketball coach who wanted to coach basketball, and because he’s a respected mind, especially on the defensive end, he was never going to have a difficult time landing an assistant’s position in the NBA.”

Sounds good, but Parrish also points out that the NBA “is a job for a basketball coach” while the college job “is a job for a recruiter and marketer.” 

Clearly, Pearl’s reputation was built on marketing himself and his programs — at Tennessee and tiny Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  But the man won a lot of games against equal competition at Division II Southern Indiana before heading to UWM and UT.  In fact, he was the sixth-fastest coach in NCAA history to reach 400 career wins.

Pearl was recently rumored to be talking to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s Developmental League about their head coaching position, but he has told friends and media members that he would be very interesting in working in television during the upcoming basketball season.

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Baseball Releases 2011 Schedule

Content provided by The Slophouse.

FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas released its 2011 baseball schedule Tuesday.

The schedule features seven games against teams that made the College World Series a year ago, including defending national champion South Carolina. In addition to the Gamecocks, Arkansas will play LSU and Georgia – all three of which have played for the national championship the last three seasons.

Arkansas begins the season with 11 consecutive games at Baum Stadium, including weekend series against Delaware State, Utah and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

There aren’t a lot of marquee nonconference match-ups this year, though Oklahoma does come to Baum Stadium for a midweek game in April. Arkansas also returns to playing regional games in Tulsa against Oral Roberts and Springfield against Missouri State. The Razorbacks didn’t play those games last season.

Arkansas returns to Dickey Stephens Ballpark in North Little Rock for the second consecutive year with a game against Memphis over Spring Break. The two teams will meet again the next night at AutoZone Park in Memphis.

Originally thought to be playing in a tournament at Petco Park in San Diego, the Razorbacks will play a four-game series against San Diego State in March. The Aztecs are coached by National Baseball Hall of Fame member Tony Gwynn.

While the full TV schedule hasn’t been released, the Razorbacks will face Florida on May 5 in the ESPNU SEC Baseball Thursday Night Game of the Week.

2011 Arkansas Baseball Schedule

Feb. 18         Delaware State

Feb. 19         Delaware State

Feb. 20        Delaware State

Feb. 25        Utah

Feb. 26        Utah

Feb. 27        Utah

March 1      McNeese State

March 2     McNeese State

March 4     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 5     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 6     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 10      San Diego State

March 11       San Diego State

March 12       San Diego State

March 13       San Diego State

March 15    Kansas

March 18      Auburn

March 19      Auburn

March 20      Auburn

March 22      Memphis#

March 23      Memphis%

March 25    Vanderbilt

March 26    Vanderbilt

March 27    Vanderbilt

March 29    Oklahoma

April 1            Alabama

April 2           Alabama

April 3           Alabama

April 6        Texas State

April 8        LSU

April 9        LSU

April 10      LSU

April 13         Missouri State

April 15       Mississippi State

April 16       Mississippi State

April 17       Mississippi State

April 19         Oral Roberts

April 22         Kentucky

April 23         Kentucky

April 24         Kentucky           

April 26      Saint Louis

April 29         Georgia

April 30         Georgia

May 1             Georgia    

May 3           SE Missouri State

May 4           SE Missouri State

May 5           Florida

May 6           Florida

May 7           Florida

May 13           South Carolina

May 14           South Carolina

May 15           South Carolina

May 17         Tennessee-Martin

May 19         Ole Miss

May 20        Ole Miss

May 21         Ole Miss

May 25-29     SEC Tournament^

June 3-5         NCAA Regionals

June 10-12     NCAA Super Regionals

June 18-29     College World Series

Bold denotes home games.

# Game played at Dickey Stephens Ballpark in North Little Rock

% Game played at AutoZone Park in Memphis

For more visit You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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