Do Unto Others…

Do unto others what you would have them done to you–the Golden Rule.  It has applied and held true since the beginning of time, and continues to be a part of every day life to this day.  Just ask former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

Bruce Pearl will no longer need his Tennessee Orange sport coat (google images)

Pearl was fired this week, amid an NCAA investigation that he lied and misled the NCAA.  Pearl admitted to lying to the NCAA and has been very up front with the media and fans that he was wrong and any punishment he incurs is due to his mistakes.

If you feel like Pearl got a bad wrap for this recent incident that ultimately cost him his job, think again.  While I have been (and will continue to be) critical of the NCAA and some of their rules and decisions, it could be argued that Pearl got a nice dose of karma over the last year.

To most basketball fans, Pearl is known for the charismatic coach that has a great relationship with the media and has embraced the success of legendary women’s coach Pat Summitt, even showing up at one game in body paint to cheer with the students for the Lady Vols.

A closer look at Pearl’s past, however, shows a completed different side of the former head coach.  Back in 1989, Pearl was an assistant coach at Iowa.  Pearl, known for being a great recruiter, was involved in the recruitment of blue chip recruit Deon Thomas, who was Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois.

When Pearl lost the prized recruit to rival Illinois, without Thomas’ permission or knowledge, Pearl recorded a phone conversation with Thomas that bordered on entrapment.  In the conversation, Pearl coaxed the star recruit into allegedly admitting that he was offered a Chevy Blazer if he signed to play for the Illini. 

Pearl promptly submitted the recorded conversation, along with a memo to the NCAA.  Thomas would later tell investigators that he said the things he said to get Pearl off the phone with him, and after going as far as taking a polygraph, it was determined that Thomas was telling the truth, when he told investigators that he was not offered the vehicle.

Still, the damage was done.  When the NCAA investigates nearly any major athletic program, they’re going to find something.  I mean, let’s face it–any team that is competitive at the major revenue-producing sports of football and basketball is, at the very least, pushing the envelope and testing the grey areas of the NCAA rules.  Illinois was no different.  Although the investigation into Illinois found no violations with this particular issue with Thomas, it uncovered other minor violations, and a major violation in 1990.

Fast forward twenty years.  In case you haven’t been following Pearl’s struggle with the NCAA for the last several months, we will fill you in on why he was questioned by the NCAA in the first place.  Recruiting violations.  

Do unto others….well, you know the rest, right?

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