Auburn Tigers head men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl came to the school after a shady exit from Tennessee, where he coached for six seasons, but he doesn’t seem to think that his legacy should be tarnished because of the NCAA sanctions against him.
Speaking in a video produced by AL.com, Pearl elaborated further.
“The decision that we made, I had about 100 people at my house on a Saturday after a Florida football game, and about 96 of them were allowed to be there,” Pearl said. “We had three committed kids that really couldn’t have been there, shouldn’t have been there. I let them come and just said, ‘Don’t say nothing to nobody about what a good cook I am.’”
“The great devastation for me is when I lied. No matter whether I came back a week or two later and tried to tell the truth, didn’t matter. I made that mistake. I had to own that. That’s probably the biggest thing, I let so many people down. Its not so much what we did. I ran a clean program. We did a lot of things really, really right, but we made a mistake and paid a huge price.”
In 2010, Pearl was found to have committed recruiting violations by having committed players over at his house for a barbecue two years earlier, and the situation was only made worse when he lied to the NCAA about it. A Tennessee player was later found to have violated the school’s substance abuse policy which, on top of the NCAA sanctions, led to Pearl being fired by the university in 2011.
He was hired at Auburn after his three-year show-cause penalty expired, and the Tigers went 15-20 (4-14 SEC) in his first season with the team.
Hopefully, Pearl has learned from his experience and can move forward from it with his head held high as he looks to bring Auburn to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Fox Sports