University of Tennessee Athletics Director Mike Hamilton announced that Bruce Pearl, the man that turned the Vols basketball team into one of the elite programs in the country, had recently misled the NCAA when questioned about recruiting practices.
In response to the allegations of lying to NCAA investigators earlier this summer, Pearl and his staff were handed severe self-imposed penalties from the university, which include a ban for Pearl and his assistants that will not allow them to recruit off-campus for periods of up to a year.
InsideTennessee.com reached out to one of the best basketball recruiting experts in the country, Dave Telep of Scout.com, to get his thoughts on how this would affect the University of Tennessee and its recruiting efforts.
"It's a major disadvantage on a few fronts," Telep said. "Your head coach should, in theory, be the final decision maker. In this case, he won't be able to evaluate the players and won't be able to adequately recruit them either. While other staffs are front and center, they'll be at a major disadvantage without a presence in the gym. "
According to Telep, it isn't an impossible situation to overcome, and he gives his thoughts on what Pearl and his staff must do in the next year.
"The lone way to work around this is getting kids to come to camps on your campus," Telep said. "Other than that, it's a video/word of mouth evaluation."
Telep was caught off guard by the Friday announcement.
"It's safe to say that it caught the college basketball world off guard," Telep said. "It's a significant deal. Tennessee now has to come up with creative ways to get prospects on campus.
"They have been great at building relationships with prospects that have to continue at a higher level. Bruce Pearl has always been great with his back against the wall. This will be the most significant test of his professional career."
Telep was also surprised by the severity of the self-imposed penalties.
"We're in somewhat unchartered waters here given the timing and severity of the self-imposed sanctions," Telep said. "There's a public relations and real life component to this thing. Coach Pearl is going to have to explain himself to current and future recruits. Over time he'll develop a way to address this head on.
"The big setback is the inability to be seen by the decision makers and players and then the ability to actually conduct live evaluations. It's a tough pill to swallow. Getting kids to come see them on campus, during the season and for camps is now the next best solution."
A couple of factors probably saved Pearl's job - his popularity in Vol Nation and the way he handled the situation. That appears to have been his saving grace.
"The way that Pearl handled the issue today, head on, is the first step in making headway toward a resolution" Telep said. "They ripped the Band-aid off and now it's time to heal, no doubt about it, the Tennessee program is hurting."