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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tennessee receives its notice: A ticking bomb, or the UConn treatment?

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the notice of allegations from the NCAA to Tennessee, which was posted on the school's web site on Wednesday morning.

There are four allegations against the men's basketball program and current head coach Bruce Pearl. There are three against the football program and its former coaches - i.e. Lane Kiffin and company.

Southern California, where Kiffin now coaches, also received a notice on Wednesday about the allegations against Kiffin.

I'm sorry, but this moment, and the irony of it, keeps popping in my head.

Here's what happens next, at least as far as the NCAA goes: Tennessee has until May 21 to submit its response, then has its hearing before the infractions committee on June 20-21.

Prior to that, of course, there could be further punishment, or more, for Pearl. He's already been suspended eight games by the SEC, and served that punishment. The timing of it will make UT's decision tough: If the hammer comes down it won't be until mid-summer at earliest, not exactly an easy time to make a coaching change. On the other hand, do you make a change right after the season, with every prospective candidate knowing that NCAA sanctions could be at hand?

This much is obvious: Tennessee wants to keep Pearl, or else he would have been fired already. The question going forward is whether it will be forced to change course.

Where Tennessee may have lucked out is with football. The NCAA notice refers to the "former head football coach" and "former assistant coach." And the charge against the athletics department is for "failure to monitor" the basketball program. So it's possible any football charges will only be applied to Kiffin.

Meanwhile, if I were Tennessee I would be a bit heartened by the NCAA infractions committee decision on the Connecticut men's basketball program. Well, at least I'd be heartened if it were a sign that the NCAA was being lenient, rather than just wildly inconsistent and selective.

UConn head coach Jim Calhoun was suspended for the first three Big East games of the 2011-12 season, after he was found to have failed to "promote an atmosphere of compliance." The case involved a former team manager turned agent who provided recruiting inducements, as well as impermissible text messages.

UConn was also penalized with scholarship reductions for three academic years, recruiting restrictions, permanent disassociation of a booster and three years probation.

As Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com writes:

NCAA committee on infractions chair Dennis Thomas said it over and over again -- the head coach is responsible for everything that happens within his program. On behalf of college basketball writers from coast to coast, Mr. Thomas, let me tell you that we agree. But then why did Jim Calhoun only get a three-game suspension?

"We think the penalty is appropriate," Thomas said during Tuesday's teleconference to announce the sanctions levied against the Connecticut basketball program.

Rest assured, the committee members are among the only folks who feel that way.

Calhoun declared he was “very disappointed” in the ruling and would consult with his lawyer. You gotta admire the chutzpah.

If Pearl and Tennessee receive a similar penalty, I doubt they'll be very disappointed.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So sick of the ncaa's hypocrisy. They'll throw the book at athletes but coddle Coaches & Athletic Directors. If UT keeps Pearl & especially Mike Hamilton around it will show just how much they respect playing by the rules.

Anonymous said...

I hate most of what the NCAA does but find a refreshing ray of sunshine in the fact that Kiffen is not shielded simply because he moved 3,000 miles down the road.

If the NCAA would punish the coaches rather than the school I would feel much better and I think we would see fewer incidents.

Ban a coach for 3 or 4 years (or until his last recruit graduates) for recruiting violations and the cheating would likely go away.

Anonymous said...

If the past year is an indication (Auburn and Ohio St.), the NCAA seems to have shown that they are more interested in slapping the hand of big programs when big money is involved. They will make a show of doing something and then hand out some nominal punishment.

Jawara Kampung said...

nice blog, thanks u

AppleDawg said...

There is not a single reason that Tenn should not be slammed HARD

Yet I am sure they will protect Tenn as much as possible

Some reduction of schollys and some vacations or whatever

Nothing severe

As usual