Bruce Pearl Fired as College Sports Scandals Continue

Mar 22, 2011, 07:25 by David Hope

Bruce Pearl has been fired by the University of Tennessee as the school's men's basketball Coach. Pearl is caught up in the midst of a recruiting scandal - a common headline that continues to hurt adolescent students and colleges across the country.

Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton issued a statement saying Pearl had been fired following an NCAA probe of potential recruiting violations.

Pearl has admitted initially misleading NCAA investigators.

"The cumulative effect of the evolution of the investigation combined with a number of more recent non-NCAA-related incidents have led to a belief that this staff cannot be viable at Tennessee in the future," Hamilton said. "Therefore, it is in the best interests of our institution to move in a different direction."

Pearl has a 145-61 record with six NCAA Tournament appearances in six years with the Volunteers, who went 19-15 this season with a first-round loss to Michigan in the NCAA tourney.

The 2009-10 Volunteers reached the Elite Eight, the first time the school had done so in the 102-year history of the program.

The NCAA is looking into allegations of impermissible phone calls to potential recruits and impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes. Pearl misled investigators when asked about photos of him with recruit Aaron Craft, now with Ohio State.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported the coach had improperly hosted the prospect at his home in 2008.

The university hit Pearl with a $500,000 reduction in pay after receiving the letter last fall. He also was banned from off-campus recruiting.

The SEC suspended Pearl in November, banning him for the first eight games of the 2011 conference season.

Tennessee officially received a notice of allegations from the NCAA Feb. 23. Pearl also is accused of failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failing to monitor the activities regarding compliance of his assistant coaches.

The school has until May 21 to respond to the NCAA and is to appear before the Committee on Infractions June 10-11.

Source: UPI