Volunteers defend decision not to fire Pearl
The Tennessee Volunteers went on the defensive Monday, standing up for their decision to spare former basketball coach Bruce Pearl’s job despite the discovery that he lied to NCAA investigators. Pearl’s contract was terminated last September after he admitted lying to investigators about his improperly hosting prospects a year earlier. Pearl made the admission last July. His pay was reduced by $1.5 million over five years and he was hit with strict recruiting sanctions, but he wasn’t fired until March 21 of this year. The NCAA accused Pearl of continuing to rack up violations even after the first round of penalties. Tennessee said in a 190-page response that Pearl was not fired because the school was afraid that letting him go would deter others from coming forward with other misconducts. Tennessee has placed itself on two years probation, during which time it will report on a regular basis to the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference. It has also placed recruiting limits on basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and football coach Derek Dooley.