Mixed News for High-Profile Coaches in U. of Tennessee Infractions Case

August 25, 2011

The National Collegiate Athletic Association came down hard Wednesday on Bruce Pearl, the former University of Tennessee men's basketball coach, but imposed no penalties on the other high-profile coach ensnared in the university's rule-breaking case, Lane Kiffin, now at the University of Southern California. (It hardly held up Kiffin as a paragon of virtue, however.) The association's Division I Committee on Infractions said Wednesday that it had concluded that the university had failed to monitor its men's basketball program, which under Pearl engaged in an array of recruiting and other violations of NCAA rules.

The infractions panel said it would largely embrace a set of penalties that Tennessee had earlier imposed on itself, adding only a two-year probation. But the committee said it would require any college that hires Pearl by 2014 to show why it should not have to impose a severe set of limitations on his duties, given that his most serious rule breaking involved misleading NCAA investigators and encouraging other parties in the case to do the same. Three of Pearl's former assistants received similar "show cause" orders.

The committee also found that the Tennessee football program broke numerous "secondary" rules during Kiffin's one-year stint there in 2009, but that they did not rise to a level requiring penalties against the coach. But while Kiffin and officials at USC told reporters that they were pleased that he would avoid sanctions, the infractions panel did not have kind words for him. His time there was "not a record of which to be proud," the panel said.

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