Tennessee has lowered the boom on one of its own, as Bruce Pearl and his staff have been penalized heavily for misleading the NCAA during an investigation of their recruiting practices.
The NCAA began checking into the Vols' hoops program to see if the coaches had made improper telephone contact with recruits. Well, shoot. Pearl and his staff may have got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It's best to 'fess up because, as we all saw with Dez Bryant last year, the NCAA doesn't take kindly to lying. Plus, we've seen with Kelvin Sampson that it also takes phone calls to recruits seriously too.
Pearl apparently tried to cover things up though, something he tearfully apologized for today. Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton unleashed the fury in some self-imposed sanctions, hoping to get back into the NCAA's good graces a bit:
- Pearl loses $1.5 million in salary between now and 2015, and his $500,000 retention bonus in 2012 is gone.
- Pearl cannot do any off-campus recruiting between 9/24/10 and 9/23/11, a whole year.
- The three assistant coaches on the staff all get 25% pay cuts, and they are all banned from off-campus recruiting for varying lengths of time.
- Other various penalties were included, ranging from reducing official visits to not allowing basketball recruits on campus during next week's football game against Florida.
Through all the turmoil the football program has had, the men's basketball program has for the most part been a positive counterpoint. So much for that. The investigation into the football team's recruiting practices under Lane Kiffin's watch is still ongoing.