Bruce Pearl will reportedly be hit with a three-year show-cause penalty sometime on Wednesday, when the NCAA is expected to announce its findings after a lengthy investigation into allegations levied against the Tennessee football and basketball program. Pearl and his coaching staff were
A show-cause penalty is a nice way of saying a coach is banned from the collegiate ranks for the duration of the period. If a school wants to hire the head coach in question, it must stand before the NCAA Committee on Infractions -- the same committee that hands down the punishments -- and explain why it's a good idea for the coach to return to collegiate ranks. It just doesn't happen. Nobody asks the COI for permission to hire a coach who's been hit with allegations severe enough to warrant a show-cause penalty.
For Pearl, like any other head coach who receives the dreaded show-cause label, the penalty also effectively ends his collegiate coaching career. Once the NCAA deems a coach worthy of its highest individual punishment, no matter the duration the show-cause is in affect, the black mark doesn't go away.
In fact, of all the NCAA men's basketball coaches to be given a show-cause penalty, only one has returned to the college coaching ranks. Todd Bozeman doled out improper benefits to a player's parent, then lied to the NCAA about it while at Cal. After spending 10 years in the NBA following the scandal at Cal -- eight of which were show-cause years -- Bozeman returned to the collegiate ranks to coach Morgan State.
Pearl's three-year penalty isn't nearly as long as Bozeman's, nor will it prevent him for theoretically returning to an NCAA institution to coach in the future. But the stigma that comes along with the show-cause is just as damning for Pearl, if not moreso.
Despite Pearl's ability to assemble a championship caliber team and create a powerhouse, it's more than likely schools will be weary about hiring him, even after his three-year period in college purgatory ends.