NCAA hits Bruce Pearl with 3-year penalty

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“I brought them all together. I told them that, you know, we were thrilled obviously that they were there and that they were coming to Tennessee but that this part of their visit was not appropriate, not right, and not allowed,” Pearl said, according to a transcript of his interview with NCAA investigators. “And two things: one, you’re going to have to leave shortly, and I’m sorry, and two, please don’t repeat this.”

The NCAA enforcement staff interviewed Craft’s father, John Craft, on July 9, 2010, about the photo, and John Craft told investigators that Pearl had phoned him after his own interview with the NCAA to see what the Crafts’ story would be about the photo and the cookout.

Those actions led to the NCAA’s charge of unethical conduct against Pearl. Jones, Shay and Forbes were charged with failing to cooperate with the NCAA for neglecting to reveal information about the cookout at Pearl’s house.

Pearl and the assistants were also charged with making 94 improper phone calls to recruits, which resulted in a charge of failure to monitor against Tennessee.

Before firing Pearl in March Tennessee had docked the basketball staff’s pay, and the Southeastern Conference suspended Pearl from eight league games during the 2010-11 season.

University officials have placed additional recruiting restrictions on current basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and football coach Derek Dooley, neither of whom have been accused of any wrongdoing.

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