Is Bruce Pearl getting the benefit of the doubt because of race?
Ostensibly, Tennessee and Indiana are different programs with very different history and tradition. Sampson’s embarrassing allegations were incredibly disjointed from IU’s history of innocence and winning “the Indiana way.” Tennessee, on other hand, had little history of success before Pearl.
The same NCAA that investigated Sampson also investigated Pearl. Their findings alleged both Sampson and Pearl provided false and misleading information to investigators and made improper phone calls.
It was determined Sampson failed to meet the “generally recognized high standard of honesty” as required by the NCAA. I have no issue with the latter but it more than obvious Pearl did not meet them either.
Why the apparent double-standard?
Sampson made improper phone calls to recruits, but he didn’t host parties for with recruits and take pictures with them. Unlike Pearl, he did not tell the prospective recruits parents to keep quiet. Nor did Sampson confirm or deny the most recent allegations against him.
What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
Look at what happened to Nolan Richardson.
Richardson was the former Arkansas basketball coach who won a National Championship in 1994. He wasn’t being investigated by the NCAA nor hosting parties for recruits. He was merely speaking his mind.
In 2002 Richardson claimed he was being treated unfairly at Arkansas because of race. He hasn’t roamed the sidelines of a college program since he was fired. After he won the title, Richardson stated, “If I was white, and I did what I’ve done here, they’d build statues of me.”
Later on he would say, “I know for a fact that I do not play on the same level as the other coaches around this school play on.”
Based on how Richardson was treated, is it logical to conclude his race assertion had merit?
In light of the Pearl situation some in the media are praising Slive for punishing Pearl so harshly.
Slive knew of Pearl’s admission in the beginning of September, yet it took him over two months to administer discipline because he had to investigate the situation. What was there to investigate? Pearl already had come clean about his lying; therefore, it should not have taken two months.
Meanwhile, IU parted ways with Sampson immediately. Once the NCAA notified the athletic department they were given 90 days to respond, but, as history demonstrates, they only needed a week. Rick Greenspan was the athletic director at IU at the time. Greenspan resigned in June of 2008 amid pending NCAA violations.
Before Greenspan left he issued the following on Sampson: “I think shortly after our president said those allegations were troubling and deeply concerning and that we’d work through this is when we came to the conclusion.”
Once the NCAA concluded its investigation, IU was slapped three-years probation. Sampson was hit with a five-year show-cause order. The order essentially means Sampson cannot coach at the Division I level until 2013. The ruling, in essence, further labels Sampson, making it difficult for him seek a head coaching job at the Division I level even after he is eligible to coach.
Meanwhile, Pearl has a new contract, a vote of confidence from Tennessee, and a weak suspension from the SEC. Based on the actions of the university and the SEC, the NCAA will likely not punish Pearl any further.
Does race factor in this situation?
The short answer is, yes.
Pearl is investigated and admits he lies. He hosts a party, tells parents to keep quiet and has recruits present when they shouldn’t. Then he gets a restructured contract and the benefit of the doubt.
Sampson was ousted for allegations before a decision was reached by the NCAA. Then he was it with a five-year show-cause order by the NCAA. Without question Pearl committed more offenses than Sampson yet he was given some money and told to leave.
Then Richardson has been black-balled for merely speaking his mind about how he was treated at Arkansas.
If race does not play a factor in this situation, please explain to me how it doesn’t.