Bruce Pearl Investigation Transcripts: Tennessee Attorney's Question May Have Led To Coach's Downfall

Transcripts from Bruce Pearl's initial interview with NCAA investigators were released on Saturday and they paint a picture depicting how the Tennessee head coach's tenure as head basketball coach eventually came to an end. After a picture of Pearl and Tennessee recruit Aaron Craft was mailed to the NCAA, investigators came calling about where the picture was taken. It was later discovered Pearl lied about the picture, covering up a violation and making the situation worse in the process.

The problem, as many immediately noted, came when Tennessee's own lead attorney, Mike Glazier, put Pearl on the spot in the initial interview. It was two simple questions about where a picture showing Pearl and Craft was taken that led to a series of lies.

"Do you recognize the woman that's in the picture?" he asked, referring to a shot of Jana Shay, the wife of Pearl's assistant coach Jason Shay, positioned with her head down in the background.

"No," Pearl said. "I really don't."

"Coach," Glazier said, "is that in your home any place?"

"No," Pearl said.

The picture showed an NCAA violation: Craft was at Pearl's home while on an unofficial visit, breaking a recruiting rule. In fact, as the story notes, there were multiple violations in play -- two of the recruits received transportation to Pearl's home from a current Tennessee player and free food and drink were given to the players and families while at Pearl's residence. But the entire situation was made worse by Pearl's initial denials.

Tennessee placed itself on two years probation as a result of violations uncovered in the subsequent investigation that spanned both the football and basketball programs. Pearl was fired, athletic director Mike Hamilton resigned and football coach Lane Kiffin, who was also involved in the investigation, moved on to USC before the fire heated up.

For more Tennessee Volunteers athletics news and chatter, visit SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk.

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