While it’s being reported that Bruce Pearl will be coaching the 2010/11 season without a contract, and to inform him of their decision, the University of Tennessee’s athletic department drafted a termination letter for Pearl, and it’s a pretty damning piece.
It’s clear to his superiors that Pearl knowingly committed various violations by inviting recruits to his home, while trying to initiate a cover-up of the his activities. The letter (PDF), written by Mike Hamilton, Tennessee’s AD, takes Pearl to task in such a manner, it’s honestly surprising he’s still the coach of the basketball team:
On September 20, 2008, you knowingly violated NCAA rules by hosting, at your house during a team cookout, three prospective students-athletes making unofficial visits and their families. At your house, you admitted to the unofficial visitors and their families that their presence at your house was a violation of the NCAA rules…
Your conduct failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men’s basketball program and conveyed the wrong message to prospective a student-athlete and his family about your stance…
Prior to and after your interview on June 14, you interfered with and failed to protect the integrity of the NCAA’s investigation by calling the father of the prospective-student athlete who had been at your home… At the very least, your calls to the father created the appearance that you were trying to influence the father’s statements to the NCAA.
During your June 14 NCAA interview, the NCAA enforcement staff showed you a photograph off you and a prospective student-athlete in the kitchen in your home and you were asked whether you recognized where the photograph was taken. You specifically denied that the photograph was taken at your home, which is false and misleading because you subsequently admitted to the NCAA (on August 5) and to Chancellor Cheek and me (on multiple occasions, including September 7) that you knew the photograph had been taken in your home.
They are on a serious roll:
Based on the facts described above, Chancellor Cheek and I have determined that you engaged in gross misconduct, including dishonesty and other acts involving intolerable behavior. As a result, the University is terminating your Employment Agreement for Adequate Cause… The effective date of the termination of your Employment Agreement is October 8, 2010 (“Effective Date”). On the Effective Date, you will become an employee at-will with no definite term of employment and will remain an employee at-will until the University enters into a new employment agreement with you.
So yeah, why did Tennessee retain Pearl again? Sure, he’s had success in Knoxville, but the letter is incredibly damning. So much so, in fact, if Pearl were to be fired, it’s hard seeing him getting another college coaching job for the foreseeable future. All things considered, Pearl should be counting his blessings. It would also be wise for Pearl to keep his nose completely clean, unless, of course, he’s actively trying to get fired.