Knoxville, Tenn. The NCAA said it wanted to send a clear message by slapping Bruce Pearl with a three-year show-cause penalty: Coaches are responsible for their programs.
The sanctions announced Wednesday make it harder for the former Tennessee men’s basketball coach to get another college job anytime soon. Pearl is prohibited from recruiting during the next three years, and a school would have to convince the NCAA to change its mind if it wanted to hire him during that time.
“As these allegations are becoming more and more regular, it’s very clear that a head coach is being held responsible for his program,” said Britton Banowsky, Conference USA commissioner and vice-chair of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
The NCAA said Wednesday it had punished Pearl for lying to investigators about improperly hosting recruits at his home and urging others to do the same. Former Pearl assistants Tony Jones, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes face the same sanctions, except they were only given one-year show-cause penalties for their own roles in misleading the NCAA.
“Those who are not forthcoming and not cooperative and unethical in their responses, the committee takes that very seriously, and they will be punished appropriately,” said Dennis Thomas, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioner and chair of the Committee on Infractions.
Pearl did not immediately respond to a call by The Associated Press seeking comment.
The Committee on Infractions was impressed with the level of cooperation it got from Tennessee during the two-year investigation into recruiting by Pearl’s program and the football program under then-coach Lane Kiffin. It chose not to punish the university beyond its self-imposed sanctions, which include two years of probation beginning Wednesday.