Late last night, Dana O'Neil broke the news that ESPN.com had obtained documents that show the violations that Tennessee self-reported to the NCAA. (To read them, click this link for a PDF file.)
In those documents, almost 100 impermissible phone calls were made by Pearl and his staff over a two year period, including 44 (39 by Tony Jones and five by Pearl) to a recruit currently on the Tennessee roster. In addition, a previously unreported violation was revealed:
The university admitted that assistant coach Jason Shay approved lodging expenses for the parents of three recruits, who were en route to Knoxville for official visits, and that those three recruits each were allowed visits that extended beyond the NCAA mandate of 48 hours.Four player's currently on the Tennessee roster had their names redacted in the document, but there was quite a talented group of players -- Elliot Williams, Chris Singleton, Josh Selby, Rico Pickett, Aaron Craft, Griffin McKenzie, and Justin Martin -- whose names were kept in the documents.
The thing to keep in mind here is that none of this information is new. Tennessee knew about these violations, handing down some initial sanctions earlier this year -- including reductions in recruiting hours and the like -- and last month, once it was revealed that Pearl lied to NCAA investigators, bringing the hammer down on the coaching staff's wallets.
Hell, the public knew about most of this information already. These documents, simply put, give us specifics.
And the specifics aren't terrible. Pearl and his staff were found to have made less than 100 impermissible calls, which is about the same number that cost Kelvin Sampson his job at Indiana. The difference is that Sampson was a repeat offender, losing the gig at Oklahoma for some 577 impermissible calls he made while with the Sooners.
But, as has been reported over the last two weeks, the issue for Pearl is not that he committed violations, but that he lied about them when the NCAA had him caught red-handed.
Seeing these documents really must irk Vol fans. These violations are relatively minor.
But an epically failed attempt at a cover up could cost them their beloved head coach.