Bruce Pearl might not be the head coach at the University of Tennessee any longer but he at least still looks the part. It was Pearl, who was dressed in an orange and white tie with orange suspenders, took his turn before the NCAA in hopes of explaining his role in the major recruiting infractions that eventually cost him his job.
"The hardest part is just being here," Pearl said. "This was not something I was looking forward to."
Pearl was before the committee for an estimated five hours while former Tennessee football and current USC coach Lane Kiffin was there for four. They were also joined by outgoing athletic director Mike Hamilton. It is kind of ironic that Tennessee's fate with the NCAA essentially relies on two coaches that are no longer with the program.
Both Pearl and Kiffin were charged by the NCAA with failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance within their respective programs. Pearl was also charged with unethical conduct after he attempted to mislead NCAA investigators about a cookout that he hosted for high school juniors at his house. This led to a tearful acknowledgement at a news conference conducted by Pearl on September 10.
The NCAA committee is expected to take eight to 12 weeks before announcing any punishment for Tennessee.