Published November 20, 2014
Hiring Bruce Pearl to coach a basketball team just got harder and messier for a school.
The NCAA hit the former Tennessee men's basketball coach with a multiyear show-cause penalty on Tuesday, people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the school had not announced the NCAA's decision. What the ruling means is that before Pearl can be hired, a school must tell the NCAA why it wants him and be prepared to face its own penalties for giving him a job.
Former Pearl assistants Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes face the same sanctions, except they were only given one-year show-cause penalties, one person said.
The sanctions do not include further penalties against Tennessee beyond those self-imposed in response to major recruiting violations, another person told the AP.
The dozen charges against Tennessee were made by the NCAA in February after nearly two years of investigating Pearl, football coach Lane Kiffin and their staffs. Both coaches were accused of recruiting violations, and Pearl was charged with unethical conduct after he acknowledged in September lying to NCAA investigators about a cookout he hosted at his home attended by recruits.
Tennessee docked the salaries of Pearl and his staff and limited their recruiting, and the Southeastern Conference suspended Pearl for eight conference games. The entire staff was fired in March at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Kiffin, who left Tennessee in January 2010 to coach Southern California, was accused of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and to monitor his staff's activities. ESPN reported the NCAA had not sanctioned him.
Tennessee imposed a two-year probation on itself and additional recruiting restrictions on the basketball and football programs, and athletics director Mike Hamilton quit in June, days before he and university officials met with the NCAA's infractions committee.
School officials told the NCAA they agreed with most of the allegations but asked for leniency at the meeting because they considered several of the violations to be secondary instead of major ones.
Pearl is considering an offer to coach the NBA Development League's Texas Legends. Jones now is a high school basketball coach, and Forbes and Shay are coaching at a Florida junior college.