Currently under investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations in the form of impermissible phone calls, the Tennessee Volunteers basketball program has proactively punished four members of its coaching staff, the school announced during an official press conference Friday at 3 p.m.
The NCAA believes Tennessee coaches purposely made excessive phone calls to recruits from unauthorized phones and may have even attempted to mislead and deceive investigators. The organization has already sent the school a formal letter of inquiry.
The Volunteers have decided to reduce head coach Bruce Pearl’s salary by $1.5 million through 2015 (the end of his contract) while also delaying a $500,000 retention bonus the school was set to pay him by 17 months from November 2012 to June 2015.
Additionally, “Coach Pearl will not be permitted to engage in any off campus recruiting for a period of one year,” Tennessee officials ruled. He will be stuck speaking to recruits on campus from Sept. 2010 to Sept 2011.
Three Volunteers assistants – Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay – were also punished. Each received a 25 percent reduction in their salaries and off-campus recruiting bans of nine months, one year and three months, respectively.
Other penalties the school self-imposed on the four men include:
– Requirement to attend the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in June 2010
– Not allowed to make recruiting phone calls from Aug. 7-14, 2010
– A 33 percent reduction in official recruiting visits for 2010-11 – from 12 to 9
– A 20 percent reduction in “recruiting opportunities off-campus” – from 130 to 104
– No official or unofficial visits for the weekends of Sept. 17-18 and Sept. 24-25, 2010
The NCAA continues to investigate Tennessee’s football program for impermissible practices but has yet to send a formal letter of inquiry to the school.