The Division I Committee on Infractions on Wednesday announced that Tennessee failed to monitor its men’s basketball program and the penalties include a show-cause order for former head men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
The show-cause order means that Pearl is prohibited from engaging in recruiting activity for three years at any NCAA member school. Any school wanting to hire him must go before the NCAA to explain why and could face penalties.
|COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS|
The Division I Committee on Infractions is an independent group comprised of representatives across NCAA membership and the public. The committee members who reviewed this case include:
Additional penalties imposed by the committee include:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Two years’ probation from Aug. 24, 2011, through Aug. 23, 2013.
Also, three former assistant coaches — Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay — were cited for a failure to cooperate with the investigation. Each of the former assistant coaches received a one-year show-cause order, which also prohibits recruiting activity.
In addition to the 20 penalties self-imposed by the university and the Southeastern Conference and agreed to by the infractions committee, Tennessee must also serve two years of probation. Among the sanctions given Pearl by UT and the SEC were the loss of $1.5 million in salary and a coaching ban of eight SEC games.
Pearl was fired March 21, after the Volunteers lost to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament.
While the investigation included allegations of major violations in the football program under former head coach Lane Kiffin, the committee concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support findings of major violations. However, the committee stated it was “troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions” by the staff during its one-year tenure.
The football staff committed 12 secondary violations over 10 months, all of which were related to recruiting.
While the basketball violations stemmed from impermissible recruiting contact and phone calls, the committee stated the most serious allegations included the former coaching staff’s provision of false and misleading information and their encouragement of others to do the same, including recruits and a parent.
“Head coaches bear primary responsibility for monitoring all aspects of their programs and promoting an atmosphere for compliance,” stated the committee report. “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.”
The NCAA enforcement program strives to maintain a level playing field for the more than 400,000 student-athletes. Commitment to fair play is a bedrock principle of the NCAA.
The men’s basketball violations began when three prospects and their families attended a dinner at Pearl’s home in conjunction with their unofficial visits to the school. After they spent some time at the dinner, Pearl ushered the prospects and their families to an outdoor veranda. According to the committee, he informed them that their attendance was a violation of NCAA rules and encouraged them to not disclose their presence to others.
Pearl did not report the violations and denied knowledge of them when later questioned during the investigation. Further, he placed a series of phone calls to a prospect’s father in an effort to influence him to make false and misleading statements during the investigation. Pearl later provided truthful information to investigators during a subsequent interview.
Jones, Forbes and Shay did not cooperate with the investigation when they failed to provide full and complete information to the university and NCAA enforcement staff.
The investigation also revealed the men’s basketball coaching staff placed 94 impermissible phone calls to 12 prospects over two years. The committee found these violations were not discovered in a timely fashion, which led to the failure to monitor by the university and Pearl.
The public report details each of the penalties self-imposed by the university or conference and adopted by the committee.
• Tennessee fires Pearl after six seasons