Friday, October 22, 2010

UPDATE: How does Bruce Pearl Still Have a Job?

A letter from the University of Tennessee's Athletic Director Mike Hamilton to Head Men's Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl released under the Tennessee Public Records Act makes Coach Pearl's employment situation as the Volunteer's Head Coach untenable. Frankly, I'm shocked that he's lasted as long as he has. Pearl has been operating without a contract since October 8, 2010. Given Pearl's conduct: knowingly breaking NCAA rules, to say nothing of asking recruits and their parents to keep quiet about his violations, Pearl should immediately be terminated from UT and suspended by the NCAA for no less than 1 year.

The letter from Hamilton states that Pearl has "engaged in gross misconduct, including dishonesty and other acts of intolerable behavior." Obviously, the University of Tennessee and Mike Hamilton don't take Pearl's action's seriously because if they did, Pearl wouldn't continue to be Tennessee's head coach and he wouldn't have appeared at SEC Media Days. But he did. This letter is a feeble attempt by Hamilton to look proactive and Pearl to be taken out to the wood-chipper. While I'm sure it will fall on deaf years, I implore the NCAA not to fall for it. If Tennessee were really worried about "[failing] to promote an atmosphere of compliance," Bruce Pearl would be sitting next to Kelvin Sampson on the Milwaukee Bucks bench as an assistant coach. But they're not, and therefore he's not.

I suspect we'll be seeing Pearl and his orange blazer patrolling the sidelines at least twice this season, and probably for the foreseeable future. But there is no better candidate for an example to be made out of then Coach Pearl: UT has already punted, will the NCAA as well?


Douglas James said...

I don't understand how he has not already been fired? Now I'm hoping the NCAA concludes its case in the middle of the season so UT is forced (because of public pressure, not ethnical standards) to fire Pearl in the middle of the season. Totally embarassing the program. That would be awesome.

Also no way UT doesn't lose scholarships for hiring a guy who committed these penalities before.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Let's be clear about what's going on here. Pearl's new contract "will provide that if [he is] found in violation of NCAA regulations, or if the University develops a good faith belief that [he has] engaged in ADDITIONAL NCAA violations not currently known to the University," then he COULD be fired -- or, he COULD just be "suspended" (emphasis mine).

Amazing. Let's unpack that statement from AD Mike Hamilton: What it means is that the 96 (let that number sink in) illicit phone calls to recruits (34 of which were made by Pearl himself), PLUS having recruits to his house in violation of the rules, PLUS lying to NCAA investigators, PLUS obstructing an NCAA investigation, are not enough to get Pearl fired immediately. No no no. At UT you have to do something even worse than all that -- otherwise they'll just renegotiate your contract.

I don't pick up many useful tidbits from the drivel of sports talk radio, but someone on some show made the very good point recently that if this was happening during bball season, UT and Pearl would be getting KILLED by every pundit out there.

Bobby is dead on: the NCAA needs to bring this thing to full fruition. I will be dumbfounded if the NCAA doesn't find Pearl in violation of NCAA regulations, and when that happens, Mike Hamilton will look like a complete idiot for having written a letter that basically acknowledges everything Pearl did but then says "hey man, this was wrong, but as long as you don't get caught, it's all good in our book and you can stay the course."

Any way you slice it, this thing stinks to high heaven.

Douglas James said...

Not to mentioned Pearl explicitly told recruits and there families that what he was doing was a rule violation. Umm really? Clearly he didn't care about breaking the rules.

I just don't see how the NCAA can suspend Dez Bryant for lying to investigators about something that was NOT a rule violation and not bring the hammer down on Pearl for lying AND committing 2 separate rules violations (1 that he had already gotten in trouble before at UW-Milwaukee). If the NCAA doesn't lay some heavy wood to the UT b-ball program and force Pearl's resignation/firing then I don't see why any school or any coach should follow any of the NCAA rules anymore.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Right: he told them he knew it was a rule violation, then obstructed the investigation by calling them up and telling the recruits and their families to remember they're supposed to lie about it. I mean, really?

Anonymous said...

Lots of things that suck seem to never go away. Bruce Pearl, american idol, etc...

Sometimes the more they suck, the more they seem to not go away and things that suck (Pearl, idol,etc) are the things that need to disappear the most.