Former Tennessee Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl — currently working a cushy marketing job with a Knoxville grocery distributor — is banished from NCAA coaching for the next 3 years, but will somehow manage to hang onto his $2.6 million, 10,000 square foot mansion. By contrast, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish writes, two of Pearl’s former assistants, Jason Shay and Steve Forbes, are professionally and financially fucked.
Had Pearl not been photographed doing what he did, Forbes wouldn’t be the head coach at a junior college here in the panhandle (Northwest Florida State). And Shay wouldn’t be his assistant. And Shay’s two young children wouldn’t be sharing bunk beds in a two-bedroom apartment. And they wouldn’t have had to leave the family dog with relatives because dogs aren’t allowed in the complex.
And nobody’s house back in Knoxville would be, in all likelihood, headed for foreclosure.
“I’ve tried to sell it, but I can’t even rent it,” Forbes said. “My monthly check here doesn’t even cover my monthly mortgage payment on that house.”
Shay made around $150,000 a year at Tennessee. Now he makes $20,000.
So not only have their careers been damaged, their lives have been turned upside down — all because they A) didn’t stop Pearl from having an improper cookout at his home, B) didn’t after the fact inform the Tennessee compliance department of what would’ve almost certainly been a secondary violation, and C) weren’t “forthcoming” with information about the cookout when the NCAA initially asked about the picture of Pearl and Aaron Craft.
When an NCAA investigator pulled the picture from a file and laid it in front of Forbes, he couldn’t sacrifice himself for the greater good because it wasn’t him, his recruit or his home in the picture. It was Pearl, Pearl’s recruit and Pearl’s home. So Forbes had two options — one of which was to identify the people in the picture and mention the cookout at Pearl’s home. But everybody knows what happens to men who roll on their bosses like that.
“You do that in this business and you’re done,” Forbes said. “Blackballed. You’re not loyal.”
“You’re selling cars,” Shay added.