Bruce Pearl was fired by Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton after committing additional violations on September 14 and in March 2011, according to a statement released by Hamilton late Monday. The Sept. 14 violation we already knew about -- that's the so-called bump rule violation Pearl committed for running into a recruit and then not telling anybody about it.
But if Pearl committed another violation within the past few weeks as the NCAA's investigation was becoming more and more public and had been revealed in a formal notice, then that changes everything. The relevant part of Hamilton's statement:
Upon receipt of our NCAA Letter of Inquiry in September, we made the difficult decision to forego common national opinion and forge ahead with Bruce and his staff pending any further major infractions or issues that would preclude our basketball program from representing the University of Tennessee in the right manner. The months that followed have been difficult on everyone - our staff, our coaches, our administration, our fans and, certainly, our young men. During this time, the dynamics of our case with the NCAA have evolved further, including additional violations committed on September 14 and in March 2011.
No word on what that particular violation is, although if it's merely a way of terming the reportage of the bump violation to make it sound like two distinct incidents, then that's sort of shady. It could also be a minor, inconsequential secondary violation that Hamilton is hoping to play up as reason to fire Pearl.
We know Pearl is a beloved coach who had trouble at times with following the NCAA's rule book, but could he really be stupid enough to commit a significant violation with his job already on the line?