Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has been suspended for the Volunteers’ first eight Southeastern Conference games as punishment from league Commissioner Mike Slive for violating NCAA rules and misleading investigators.
“I have been a very public advocate for playing by the rules,” Pearl said Friday. “When you don’t play by the rules, these are the things that can happen. So while these penalties that we’ve self-imposed and now the commissioner’s imposing are unprecedentedly strong, it sets a very high standard and a high standard that I agreed to.”
Tennessee associate head coach Tony Jones will replace Pearl during those eight games with help from assistants Jason Shay and Steve Forbes.
Slive, who was given authority to issue suspensions during the SEC’s spring meetings, sent a letter Thursday informing Pearl he cannot participate in SEC games between Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 and any related activity or practice on those game days.
The commissioner said he considered suspending Pearl for the entire slate of SEC games and punishing Pearl’s assistants, who have also been accused of NCAA violations, but took into account Pearl’s admission of misleading the NCAA and the punishment Tennessee officials had already imposed on him.