Bruce Pearl came to Tennessee from Wisconsin-Milwaukee and revitalized its men's basketball organization. It got better on the court, and his off court energy and personality gave a previously nondescript program a recognizable and marketable face.
I believe that is why UT has stood by Pearl so far through his NCAA troubles. It heavily penalized him instead of firing him when the scandal broke. AD Mike Hamilton, who hired Pearl, has not indicated as of yet that his coach's job might be on the line.
After reading through the Notice of Allegations though, it's hard to see how Pearl keeps his job for the long term.
For one thing, the NCAA has very meticulous records of the impermissible phone calls. They didn't happen at one time when the record keeping got lax. They happened over a period of several years, and they involved several members of the coaching staff. Pearl and his assistants were out of control at best and deliberately breaking rules at worst.
Furthermore, three assistant coaches (Steve Forbes, Jason Shay, and Tony Jones) are accused of lying to NCAA investigators and otherwise not participating appropriately in the probe. It's unlikely that had Pearl been running his program properly that they would have done something so stupid.
The worst of it all is that after being caught, Pearl didn't stop breaking rules. His press conference where he tearfully apologized for his transgressions happened on September 10, 2010. The Notice of Allegations documents that Pearl and Jones made improper contact with a recruit on September 14, 2010. Just four days after getting formally busted and having a heap of sanctions put on his program, Pearl was back out there violating bylaws again.
Given that fact, I can't see how Pearl will make it through this whole process and still be employed by Tennessee. He's not just a rule breaker, but a committed rule breaker who kept doing it after being caught. If Pearl can survive this, how can anyone take any kind of ethics code at UT seriously?
It's also likely that Hamilton's job is in jeopardy as well. He hired both Pearl and Lane Kiffin, the two head coaches cited in the Notice of Allegations. His athletics department overall was hit with a Failure to Monitor charge, and he still hasn't fired Pearl despite all the damning evidence against him. With so much scandal going on in two of Tennessee's three most visible sports, can the guy in charge really make it through this?
Regardless of what happens with Hamilton, Pearl has to go for Tennessee men's basketball to regain any semblance of respect. If he's still in Knoxville next year, what exactly does a coach need to do to get fired there?