In the latest, it's reported that two recruits paid an illegal visit to Pearl's home, and he lied to NCAA investigators about that. That's worse than what everyone originally thought, which was that Pearl merely made a few impermissible phone calls to recruits and lied about that. In either case, the lying is the really bad mistake. Cheating is one thing, but the NCAA really hates it when coaches lie about cheating. Sources tell CBS Sports Pearl recanted his false statements apparently because he realized the jig was up. The NCAA has photographs of the players at Pearl's house.
So here is our question: If the NCAA comes down hard on the university at the completion of its investigation, will Pearl's buddy Bill Haslam save his job?
Pearl endorsed Haslam for governor this summer and gushed about his greatness in appearances with the Knoxville mayor all over the state. We wonder if Pearl did all that because he knew he was about to get into this big jam with the NCAA and he hoped to curry favor with the Haslams? To reporters last month, Pearl acknowledged the Haslams' influence at the university.
Haslam told reporters this week that Pearl has phoned him tell him that "he's very, very sorry for what happened." And Haslam thinks the university already has punished Pearl enough by cutting his pay and restricting his recruiting activities. Isn't that a cozy arrangement these two guys have developed? Considering how bad his team is this season, maybe football coach Derek Dooley should give Haslam a call too. It's never too late for another endorsement.