Published November 20, 2014
After a long NCAA investigation stemming from imposed.
Former head coach Bruce Pearl will not be as fortunate.
The NCAA has levied a three-year show-cause penalty against Pearl while his three former assistants -- Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes -- all received one-year penalties.
The show-cause penalties will force a school wanting to hire any of the former Tennessee coaches during their respective bans to go before the NCAA and explain its reasoning. If the NCAA approves the hire, the school could face additional penalties.
Pearl and his staff were accused of providing misleading information regarding a photo Pearl took with then-high school junior Aaron Craft inside Pearl's home.
All four coaches initially denied knowing where the photograph took place, but Pearl soon after admitted to hosting unofficial visitors at his home, a major violation of NCAA recruiting bylaws. Tennessee docked Pearl's and his staff's salaries and limited their recruiting before firing them this past March.
The NCAA committee on infractions said the most serious allegations included the former coaching staff providing false and misleading information, while encouraging others to do the same. The committee said Pearl informed the prospects their attendance was a violation of NCAA rules and encouraged them not to disclose the visit.
"Head coaches bear primary responsibility for monitoring all aspects of their programs and promoting an atmosphere for compliance," the committee report said. "It is also presumed that head coaches know or should know of violations in their programs, particularly when the violations occur over an extended period of time."
As for the school, the committee announced Tennessee failed to monitor its men's basketball program, but the penalties included only public reprimand and censure and a two-year probationary period that lasts until August 23, 2013.
Tennessee has already imposed multiple recruiting restrictions on both the men's basketball and football programs. Those aggressive penalties, plus other factors, including Pearl's salary reduction, his eight-game suspension from the SEC, and his firing, have reportedly helped save the men's basketball program from greater problems, which could have included scholarship losses and a postseason ban.
Pearl revived the men's basketball program on the court, winning 231 games in six seasons and making the NCAA Tournament each year, including two trips to the Sweet 16 and another to the Elite Eight. He is currently considering a head coaching position with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.