Tag:Bruce Pearl
Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:16 am
 

Report: Former Vols assistant wired cash to Lyles

Posted by Adam Jacobi

USC fans wondering why former assistant Willie Mack Garza resigned so abruptly two days before the start of this season now have an answer -- and that answer has a paper trail. According to a report by Yahoo Sports, Willie Lyles informed NCAA investigators that Garza had wired him $1,500 in 2009 to get coveted tailback Lache Seastrunk onto the Tennessee campus for an unofficial visit; Garza had been an assistant of Lane Kiffin at UT at that point, before Kiffin brought Garza with him to USC's staff in 2010.

On unofficial visits, recruits and their families are responsible for all costs incurred, so if Garza supplied that money to Lyles for the purposes of getting Seastrunk to campus, that's a serious violation of NCAA rules. Whether Garza gave money to Lyles is not in question, though; Yahoo Sports has a copy of the Moneygram record of that transaction, and sure enough, there's $1,500 going from Garza to Lyles. Being that Lyles himself told the NCAA that the money was to pay for Seastrunk's plane tickets, which totaled $1,446.80 in a purchase two weeks prior to the Moneygram transaction, there doesn't appear to be much wiggle room for Garza.

CBSSports.com first reported that Garza's departure from USC was related to an NCAA probe of Tennessee's recruiting practices on the day that Garza resigned, on September 1. That report has now been proven accurate by this Yahoo story. 

For Garza's efforts above and beyond the NCAA guidelines, Tennessee didn't get much; not only did Seastrunk not commit to the Volunteers, of course, he didn't even take an official visit to Knoxville once it was time to make those choices. Seastrunk famously chose Oregon over Auburn in a recruiting process that still leaves a sour taste in Tigers fans' mouths to this day, and once the reports surfaced of Lyles maintaining close relationship with recruits even while getting paid large sums of money by the schools recruiting them, Seastrunk ended up transferring to Baylor.

For as bad as this report makes Garza look in the eyes of the NCAA, however, the real entity in danger here is Tennessee; that athletic department was hit with a failure to monitor charge in August among various major infractions perpetrated by then-head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, and the program is nowhere near completing its two years of probation handed down by the NCAA. If the NCAA finds this to be another egregious flouting of recruiting regulations, Tennessee is liable to be considered a "repeat offender" by the Committee on Infractions, and that easily could mean serious, long-lasting consequences for the entire athletic department.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 7:18 pm
 

Report: Kiffin, Tennessee escape sanctions

Posted Bryan Fischer

Tennessee's football program and former head coach Lane Kiffin will not be subject to further NCAA sanctions, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.

The two parties went in front of the Committee on Infractions in June to explain major violations surrounding recruiting infractions and Kiffin's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. According to the report, the committee deemed these violations minor and accepted Tennessee's self-imposed penalty of two-years probation.

Former basketball coach Bruce Pearl and staff were not as lucky, as a source told CBSSports.com that Pearl would receive a multi-year show-cause penalty and former Vols assistants Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay will each receive a one-year show-cause. No further restrictions were placed on the program beyond what was self-imposed.

Kiffin left Knoxville to become head coach at USC and is dealing with that school's NCAA sanctions following the Trojans' unsuccessful appeal earlier this year in the Reggie Bush case.

The News Sentinel and other outlets are reporting that the full NCAA Infractions report will be released on Wednesday.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Tennessee self-imposes two years' probation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Given the craziness breaking out in Columbus, Tennessee picked an awfully nice time to make a little announcement of their own: the Volunteers are self-imposing two years' worth of probation following violations committed under Lane Kiffin and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions could still set stiffer penalties at their meeting with the Vols, a meeting that at this time remains unscheduled but which should occur in the next eight weeks. But the university feels "the penalties imposed during the course of its investigation, coupled with its corrective measures, adequately address the violations that occurred."

Besides the probation, the school also imposed some minor recruiting restrictions on Derek Dooley's (as well as new hoops coach Cuonzo Martin's) staff. Their 168 "recruiting days" for the spring 2011 evaluation period were cut to 162, and only five members of Dooley's 10-member staff are allowed to make telephone calls to recruits on Nov. 1 of this year, the first day of the "recruiting "contact period."

The penalties come in addition to a number of other penalties issued by Tennessee compliance earlier this year. As the story from the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports:
As noted in the response [to the NCAA], all individuals associated with the violations, with the exception of football Director of Player Personnel Steve Rubio, are no longer employed by the university. That includes former athletic director Mike Hamilton, who resigned days before the June hearing, and former men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his three assistants, who all collectively misled NCAA investigators during June 2010 interviews.
The NCAA may slap on another year of probation or offer a few more (more substantial) recruiting restrictions. But unless another violation is uncovered during the two-year probation period, the worst for Tennessee athletics is now probably over.

Posted on: June 11, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 5:55 pm
 

Kiffin 'glad' COI hearing is over

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The NCAA's Committee on Infractions has been busy lately, meeting with Boise State for 13 hours on Friday. On Saturday it was Tennessee's turn, which meant Lane Kiffin was back in his old stomping grounds. Kiffin spoke with reporters after the hearing, and while he wouldn't go into specifics over what was discussed during the meeting, he did express relief that it was over.

“It was a very fair process,” Kiffin told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “I’m glad that it’s over, and I can get back to LA, and get back to our camps that are going on right now. Under the direction of the NCAA, we can’t comment about (specifics) at all.

“It was a lot shorter than the last one. I sat through three days of USC’s (hearing). I’m just happy that it’s over. I’m happy we got to get the truth presented, and so we’re going from here.”

Of course, just because the hearing is over, that doesn't mean Tennessee's problems are. After Kiffin's turn with the COI, attention was turned to Tennessee's men's basketball program and the disgressions under Bruce Pearl. As for the football team, though it's not exactly Kiffin's concern any longer as to what will happen at Tennessee, there's no time table as to when the NCAA will come to a decision on the school's hearing.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Fulmer open to discussing Tennessee AD job

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Tennessee announced that athletic director Mike Hamilton would be resigning, many Volunteer fans were happy to see him depart. After all, Hamilton's reign will forever be remembered for the Bruce Pearl violations and the disastrous Lane Kiffin project. Kiffin, of course was brought in after Hamilton fired beloved head coach Phillip Fulmer. After Hamilton's resignation, Fulmer's name has repeatedly come up as a possibility for his replacement. On Wednesday Fulmer spoke to Chris Low, of ESPN.com, and weighed in on the job opening.
"What I want is what's best for my university," Fulmer said. "I'll spend my time over these next few days trying to figure out what that is and whether this is something that's real for me to be able to do, both from a professional and a personal standpoint.

"We'll see what the feelings are of the people there at the university and the decision-makers, and that's simply where we are right now. I'm not politicking for the job, and I don't need a job. But if I can help my university, I'm interested in doing that any way I can."
One of Fulmer's most recent posts was a college football analyst here at CBS Sports. He clearly still has a passion for the school, and could be the perfect figurehead to lead the Volunteers out of this "dark age." Fulmer went on to compliment the work of head coach Derek Dooley, as well as speak highly of the new university administration. The idea of Fulmer as an AD is far from novel, and I expect this possibility to build momentum in the coming weeks.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 10-3

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun.

We're now down to the nitty-gritty: Nos. 10-3 below, No. 2 tomorrow and our No. 1 unveiled Friday. Stay tuned.


10. JOHN MARINATTO, commissioner, Big East. Marinatto joined the Big East executive staff as senior associate commissioner in 2002, just in time to see the biggest shakeup in membership since the conference began football competition in 1991. Now, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have shaken up the conference landscape with the expansion to 12 teams -- as well the ACC and Pac-12 recently negotiating lucrative multi-network media deals - the onus falls on Marinatto to bring the Big East up to par with the new standards of major conference football.

In his discussion with CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, Marinatto made no mistaking that the primary driver of Big East expansion is the expiration of their current television deal with ESPN at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning in September 2012, the Big East will have a 60-day exclusive negotiation period with the network. At that point Marinatto hopes to have expansion completed, and be holding all the attractive chips for a bidding war that will pay out the way it did for the Pac-12. TCU's arrival next season obviously holds the greatest national intrigue, as well as reaching a very un-Big East audience in the Southwest. But where will expansion stop? With the right moves, the league cound finally abandon its role as college football's BCS-conference punchline.

For now Marinatto insists that there is no model, and all options are still on the table. The only driving factor in the eyes of the conference is how will the addition of a certain team add value to television contract negotiations. College football is a big money business that networks will pay for, and after seeing the deal that Larry Scott got for the Pac-12 everyone will one a piece. But we'll get to Scott soon enough ... -- CP

9. LANDRY JONES, quarterback, Oklahoma. With Oklahoma being the popular pick to start 2011 on top of the polls, there's no arguing that quarterback Landry Jones won't begin the season as a Heisman favorite. But it's not just the visibility of being under center for the nation's No. 1 team: the junior-to-be has thrown for 7,916 yards and 64 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Norman. The formula will be pretty simple--the more games that Oklahoma wins, the more talk you'll hear of Landry Jones.

The Sooners offense has been an explosive one for as long as Bob Stoops has been at the wheel, and one that gives the quarterback a lot of toys to play with. Life is a lot easier when you have guys like Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills and James Hanna to throw to. Still, Jones is the kid in charge of driving the car. He doesn't have a ton of room to improve this year, though he has thrown 26 interceptions in his career. If Jones can cut down on turnovers this season it will only boost his touchdown numbers, Oklahoma might never let go of that top spot, and Jones will be in New York this winter to pick up some hardware. -- TF

8. MIKE SLIVE, commissioner, SEC. If you thought for one red second someone other than Slive was the true ruler of the SEC, we hope you paid attention to the league's recent spring meetings. Slive proposed a "soft cap" of 25 signees per class, among other "roster management" initiatives designed to curb oversigning. The SEC's 12 head coaches voted against the proposal 12-0. But with the final decision in the hands of the league's presidents, the proposal passed anyway, the presidents voting 12-0 in favor. What Mike Slive wants, Mike Slive gets.

Well, except maybe a new television contract. The "no outs" nature of the league's current 15-year deal, signed three years ago, looks worse and worse as league after league (most notably the Pac-12) strike it rich on the open market and the Big Ten Network's revenues continue to grow. The SEC is hardly hurting for money, though, and it's Slive who has overseen the conference rise to five consecutive BCS championships -- spread across four teams, even more impressively -- even as its number of programs under probation has dwindled (pending a few open investigations, mind). The modern SEC might still be the Conference (former commish and BCS visionary) Roy Kramer Built, but Slive has done a masterful job of pressing its football advantages while pushing a handful of successful academic measures (like the oversigning legislation) to battle the league's win-at-all-costs image. If the SEC does make it six-for-six in 2011, its commissioner will no doubt get some measure of credit--and it's hard to argue he won't deserve it. -- JH

7. BILL HANCOCK AND THE BCS, Executive Director of/and championship cartel. Boo! Hiss! The BCS and Bill Hancock aren't the most popular topics amongst college football fans, but they are both incredibly influential in the world of college football. It's the BCS that helps inject more money in the BCS conferences, and is also a driving factor behind the conference realignment we've seen the last few years. After all, 2011 isn't TCU's final year in the Mountain West if they hadn't just finished two undefeated regular seasons and not gotten a chance to play for a title. Of course, while it's fun to rage against a acronym, it's also nice to have a face to go with that acronym.

Which is where Bill Hancock comes into play. No matter who you are -- a fan, a writer or the United States government -- if you present the BCS with a rational, well-thought and logical complaint about the BCS system, Hancock is the man you'll hear from. He'll be the guy telling you that you're wrong, and that the BCS is perfect. The BCS will then go about its business doing things the way it always has, and at the end of the season they'll determine who has the right to play for a national championship, and you won't. -- TF

6. JIMBO FISHER, head coach, Florida State. First Will Muschamp burned Texas to accept the job at Florida, then the recent Dana Holgorsen/Bill Stewart feud exploded at West Virginia. It seems like one of the only "coach-in-waiting" situations that has worked out recently was Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. After contractually getting the title in 2007, Fisher waited behind the legendary Bobby Bowden to take control of the powerhouse in Tallahassee. But in those last few years under Bowden, the Seminoles had slipped from being perennial national title contenders to perennially playing December bowl games. But that all seemed to change when Fisher took the reigns and delivered the Seminoles' first 10-win season since 2003.

Now Florida State returns 17 starters from that squad, and last year's backup quarterback E.J. Manuel steps in after leading the Seminoles to victory over South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Fisher's promotion also paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail, with blue-chippers like defensive back Karlos Williams and running back James Wilder Jr. giving the 'Noles their strongest haul in years. (The 2012 class, incidentally, is already shaping up to draw consideration as the nation's best.) The pundits now have Fisher's team tagged as ACC favorites, and there is once again a major buzz around Tallahassee regarding Seminoles football. Fisher has demanded that his players understand what expectations mean. "Just because you're picked to win, they don't give you a trophy when the season starts," he explained recently.

The fast-talking Fisher will fill your ear with areas where his team needs to improve. He never gets complacent, and constantly asks more from his players. It was complacency that arguably played a major role in Florida State's fall from grace after the turn of the century, and now Fisher has a great chance to restore that dominance in 2011, in just his second year as head coach. College football's next true powerhouse could get its start here. -- CP

5. ANDREW LUCK, quarterback, Stanford. Luck finished runner up for the Heisman last season and many figured he'd be house shopping in the Charlotte area after dismantling Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Every NFL pundit was labeling him a surefire number-one pick and future Hall of Famer after watching him shred opposing defenses every time he dropped back. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang called him the best quarterback and elite prospect he's ever scouted. With his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, headed to the San Francisco 49ers, many assumed he was a lock to bolt for NFL riches.

The architectural design and engineering major from Houston had other plans, however. He kept his Palo Alto address and announced he would stay at Stanford for his redshirt junior year to try and capture the inaugural Pac-12 title. He'll be gunning for the few Stanford quarterback records he hasn't already broken and look to get back to a BCS bowl as well. He's not just an accurate pocket passer, though; he can run and doesn't mind giving a shove to defenders if they end up in his way. It's good that he's mobile as two of the Cardinal's biggest challenges under new head coach David Shaw are replacing several starters along the offensive line and finding a few targets for Luck to throw to. Despite the issues on offense, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year. He's got a lot riding on his heavily insured right arm in 2011, but with a manageable schedule and the fact that he's competed over 70 percent of his passes for his career, don't be surprised if the talented Luck keeps the Cardinal offense humming and the team in the national title hunt as well. -- BF

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4. NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS, punitive arm of legislative body, NCAA. The 10 members of the Committee on Infractions (COI) might be the most talked about group in sports that no one really knows anything about. Of all of the committees that make of the NCAA, the group may also be the most infamous, meeting behind closed doors and dishing out sanctions through press releases. It is this group that is tasked with being the grand jury, judge and jury for every school that comes before them and, in just about every case, has a school (and their fans) in considerable disagreement with their ruling. The members that made up the committee run the athletics gamut (three independent lawyers, three professors, three from league offices and one athletic department veteran at the moment) but all have some law or compliance background. 

The COI will be in the news a lot this year, as the off the field headlines in college sports have dictated. First up is Boise State -- battling the dreaded charge of "Lack of Institutional Control" for violations in several sports -- and Tennessee this weekend. The Volunteers' case is one many observers are looking at with a close eye due not only to the coaches involved (Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl) but to see how they treat a coach that blatantly lied to investigators ahead of their later date with Ohio State and Jim Tressel. In addition to levying scholarship reductions, bowl bans, probation and a host of other penalties, the COI has also started to hand out suspensions to coaches, such as the three-game suspension for UConn head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

The committee is not bound by prior case precedent -- though they say they use it as a guide -- so decisions can feel arbitrary and vary from case to case. All of that simply makes predicting what they will do harder than getting the right lotto numbers. It's not a courtroom where schools have due process rights; the COI, rather, is all about finding "clear and convincing evidence" to support the NCAA enforcement staff's case against schools. The NCAA has recently tried to be more transparent with the COI, showing how things are done and opening the door into their world ever-so-slightly under new president Mark Emmert. Questions still remain, though, about what penalties will eventually come out of the room for schools such as Tennessee, Ohio State, and eventually North Carolina. The only answer at the moment is to wait. -- BF

3. NICK SABAN, head coach, Alabama. It's the year 2011, and the argument is over; Nick Saban is the most powerful college football coach in Division I. Every rival who might have challenged him for that honor is in decline, or gone entirely. Jim Tressel: resigned in disgrace. Pete Carroll: fled back to the NFL just ahead of the NCAA posse. Mack Brown: went 5-7, ceded Big 12 superiority to Bob Stoops. Stoops: has seen Saban win two rings with two different teams since he won his last. Urban Meyer: retired to punditdom (however temporarily). And when it comes to being the biggest, baddest head coach on the FBS block, are they really any other challengers?

If Les Miles can down the Tide in Tuscaloosa this season on his way to a second crystal football, or Chip Kelly can get his Oregon team over the hump of their nonconference struggles, or--most likely--Stoops can finally grab that elsuive second national title, then we can talk. But it's Saban until then, not least because he's as likely to come away with this season's ultimate prize as anyone; between what projects as the nation's clearcut No. 1 defense and what should be a punishing ground game, even a potentially up-and-down passing game (featuring a first-year quarterback and wideouts mostly more steady than spectacular) may not be enough to prevent the Tide's second BCS title in three years.

The old saying is that college football teams take on the personality of their coaches, and nowhere is that more true than at Alabama. Saban's brutally professional, clinically detail-oriented, obsessively driven approach has created a program where sloppiness and shoddy preparation--from offseason workouts to gameday routines to play execution--isn't so much "not tolerated" as nonexistent. It's not a particularly personable philosophy, which is one reason Saban has arguably become the SEC's most hated villain. But as the 2011 season grinds into motion, it's also what's made him the nation's single most successful active college football coach. -- JH

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:12 am
 

Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton resigning

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a tumultuous couple of years that saw issues in both the football and the basketball programs, Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton will resign today, according to a local report.

WBIR-10 in Knoxville first reported that Hamilton, who had been the athletic director in Knoxville since 2003, will hold a news conference at 11:00 a.m. to announce his official resignation. Since taking over as athletic director, Hamilton has taken heat for the firing of beloved football coach Phillip Fulmer, and the mess that was left after the departure of his replacement - Lane Kiffin. The basketball program is currently trying to repair itself as well after former head coach Bruce Pearl was punished for lying to the NCAA in an investigation of recruiting violations.

The announcement of the resignation comes just days before Tennessee's meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions Friday in Indianapolis. University spokesperson Jimmy Stanton confirmed the news conference, and said that Hamilton will still be traveling to Indianapolis for the NCAA hearings at the end of the week.
 
 
 
 
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