The basketball season is looming, but UT Coach Bruce Pearl still doesn’t have a contract. Also looming are the results of an NCAA investigation, and that’s the sticking point in the negotiation.
UT is insisting on protections for the school in the event the NCAA suspends or bans Pearl from coaching—what is the school’s obligation on a severance package or buyout of the contract? UT proposes having the ability to just fire him. Pearl’s lawyers want provisions to take care of Pearl in the event of a disaster. Having a contract that lets him be fired without a buyout is, well, sort of like not having a contract. Pearl has the suggested contract from UT, but has not signed it.
WBIR Sports had the scoop on a UT letter sent to Pearl, not announced by UT, detailing violations. The most egregious of Pearl’s sins seems to be telling NCAA investigators that he didn’t recognize the location in a photograph of him and a junior recruit—at his kitchen table. He also said he didn’t know a woman in the photo, who is the wife of one of his assistant coaches. Hosting high school juniors off-campus is an NCAA violation, but lying to the NCAA is worse. Pearl also asked recruits and their parents and his assistants not to tell anybody about the visit.
It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.