People are curious to learn more about the Bruce Pearl controversy after USA Today’s Dan Wolken connected his prior NCAA breaches to Hugh Freeze’s.
Bruce Pearl is an American collegiate basketball coach in charge of the men’s basketball squad for the Auburn Tigers.
Before that, Pearl led the coaching staff at Tennessee, Milwaukee, and Southern Indiana.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches recognized Pearl Division II Coach of the Year for leading Southern Indiana to a Division II national championship in 1995.
As a Division I head coach, Bruce has won four conference titles and three conference tournament titles made ten NCAA tournament appearances and reached one Final Four.
Sporting News named Pearl Coach of the Year in 2006, and he received the Adolph Rupp Cup in 2008.
Additionally, he oversaw the men’s basketball squad for Maccabi USA, which captured the gold medal at the 2009 Maccabiah Games.
Bruce Pearl Controversy: Was Auburn Basketball Coach Arrested?
No, Auburn Basketball coach Bruce Pearl was never arrested despite all the controversy. But he has been a part of several scandals.
The Auburn men’s basketball team was penalized by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions for rules infractions by former assistant coach Chuck Person.
After Person was detained in 2017 on allegations of federal bribery and fraud, the NCAA launched an investigation into Auburn.
Chuck received a 10-year show-cause sentence, a one-year show-cause sentence for former assistant Harris Adler, and a two-game suspension for head coach Bruce Pearl.
The infractions were discovered following a lengthy FBI investigation into collegiate basketball corruption.
In exchange for persuading prospective student-athletes and their families to convince the players to commit to Auburn, Person collected $91,500 in bribes from a financial advisor.
Additionally, the individual gave two families of Auburn basketball players financial incentives and advantages.
The infractions committee concluded that Pearl failed in his duty as head coach by failing to keep an eye on Person. Pearl insisted that he monitored his assistants per NCAA guidelines.
The committee also discovered that Pearl failed to ask him specific crucial questions after learning what Person was up to.
Bruce Pearl NCAA Violations And History
Bruce Pearl was under NCAA investigation regarding an unofficial visit of high school junior Aaron Craft and his family to Tennessee for a cookout at his Knoxville home.
Pearl urged everyone present to keep quiet about the fact that Craft wasn’t permitted to attend due to NCAA regulations. He also reportedly instructed Craft’s Father to fabricate other details as well.
On September 10, 2010, Pearl admitted to the Craft case’s transgressions and misleading the NCAA.
Tennessee consequently imposed penalties on Pearl and his staff, including a delayed retention incentive and a $1.5 million wage decrease over the next five years.
Tennessee dismissed Pearl on March 21, 2011, three days after the Vols’ humiliating loss to Michigan, after learning of new NCAA violations and a player’s violation of the school’s substance usage policy.
For lying to the NCAA, Pearl received a three-year show-cause suspension on August 23, 2011, valid until August 23, 2014.
Bruce Pearl Incident With Dean Thomas
Pearl, then Iowa’s assistant coach, was also at the center of a recruitment scandal involving Illinois during the 1988–89 basketball season.
Deon Thomas, a great high school player from Chicago, was being recruited by both Illinois and Iowa. When Thomas decided to attend Illinois, Pearl lost the recruitment fight.
Then, Pearl called the high school student and taped a phone call with Thomas, possibly violating the law, depending on where Pearl made the call.
When Pearl questioned Thomas about whether he had accepted an SUV and money from Illinois assistant coach Jimmy Collins, Thomas appeared to suggest that he had.
Pearl then gave the NCAA copies of the audio and a memo outlining the incidents. Thomas refuted the accusations and said the tale was made up during the subsequent NCAA inquiry.