Last summer, Michael Vick was a social pariah who threw away his career and just didn’t get it. Bruce Pearl was an eager ESPN guest whose most scandalous act was painting his shirtless body orange. He was fresh off an extended tournament run. Less than a year later, Vick is doing the ESPN carwash with impunity (Dogs?). Pearl’s career in big-time college basketball may be over. The media world moves quickly.
Pearl was fired. Possibly committing more violations, though minor, didn’t help his cause. The Bruce faces NCAA charges for illegally contacting a recruit, a secondary violation, which occurred in September after announcing the initial sanctions. He also gave a player extra tickets for a home game against Kentucky on March 6.
Andy Katz reported as well that Tennessee senior forward Brian Williams violating the Volunteers’ substance abuse policy contributed to Pearl’s dismissal. Williams was kicked off the team last year for more than a month last year following a Jan. 1 arrest on misdemeanor weapons and drug charges.
Losing by 30 in a nationally televised 8-9 matchup wasn’t a rousing endorsement for his candidacy.
Pearl probably should have been fired, but the real question is why has Men’s AD Mike Hamilton not been? His job has one basic responsibility: keep the football and men’s basketball programs out of trouble. Both programs have put the University at risk of major NCAA violations. He has failed miserably. Hamilton has no excuses, since he hired both Kiffin and Pearl.
He also had the foresight to alert the media that “the jury was out” on Pearl right before the team was to play an NCAA tournament game. Didn’t affect the team’s motivation one bit…
Keep an eye out for flaming orange jackets at your Knoxville Salvation Army.
[Photo via Getty]