But for those who've followed the sport and know why Pearl was available to be hired at Auburn to begin with, there are a few questions regarding his new post with the Tigers. Pearl, 54, was fired by Tennessee on March 21, 2011, because of two reasons: he committed recruiting violations, but more specifically, he lied to NCAA investigators about those violations and asked others being investigated in the case to do the same.
This led the NCAA's Committee on Infractions to slam Pearl with a three-year show-cause penalty.
The full report from Aug. 24, 2011, when the NCAA handed down the punishment is below. The details of the show-cause can be found on page 14. Pearl's show-cause penalty ends on Aug. 23 of this year. CBSSports.com reached out to the NCAA for a comment on the matter. It said, "Since this hiring was announced before [Aug. 23, 2014], Auburn and Pearl will have to file a report with the COI within 30 days of his hiring agreeing to prohibit Pearl from recruiting until August 23 (or contest the restrictions)."
Auburn did not have to go through the NCAA in any way to confirm/get permission on Pearl's hiring. Auburn either has to accept the punishment as is, or opt to contest the conditions. It has until April 17 to do so.
The irony to this entire situation is that Auburn's assistant athletic director in compliance is a man named Dave Didion -- who was reportedly the lead investigator in the NCAA's case on Pearl. Didion knowing the ins and outs with the case could cause reason for Auburn to ask the NCAA to reconsider Pearl's show-cause status, but it's exceedingly unlikely any changes to the punishment will come.
As it is, Pearl will probably -- probably -- not be able to go on the road and recruit this spring and summer. But his new staff -- which will be not under NCAA show-cause order -- will be able to recruit in full. We will have an answer on this by mid-April.
Think Pearl cares about that right now? Here's a photo from airport, where Pearl landed via private jet. Fans were there to greet him.