Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl is refusing to cooperate in the school’s internal investigation into his program and university officials have advised him that is in jeopardy if he doesn’t.
Auburn officials retained a law firm to conduct an internal investigation after associate coach Chuck Person was arrested Sept. 26 as part of the FBI’s investigation in college basketball corruption. Person was indicted on six federal charges by a grand jury in New York this week.
Pearl has reported refused to talk to attorneys conducting the university’s investigation, according to sources at ESPN, and they have been unable to determine if Pearl was involved in NCAA violations or other wrongdoing because the FBI has seized his computers and cell phones.
Although there is no deadline for Pearl to cooperate, a decision on his future will be made in the next two weeks.
Pearl is entering his fourth season as Auburn coach. His record there is 44-54 and the Tigers have yet to finish higher than 11th in the SEC in each of his first three seasons. .
Now might not be the time to go silent.
Auburn hired Pearl March 2014, five months before his NCAA show cause penalty for violations committed at Tennessee were scheduled to expire. The Vols fired Pearl in 2011 after he lied to NCAA investigators about the recruitment of prospect Aaron Craft who eventually signed with Ohio State. He was given a show-cause and prohibited from recruiting for three years.
Person, Auburn’s all-time leading scorer, was among 10 men arrested Sept. 26 as part of the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York accused Person and others of using brides to influence star players’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and financial advisers. A federal complaint alleges Person received $91,5000 in bribes from former NBA referee Rashan Michel and others, and that Person allegedly gave $18,500 to the parents of two previously identified players. Person is no longer employed by the school.
Auburn announced last week it was keeping key players Daniel Purifoy and Austin Wiley out of games indefinitely in an attempt to avoid eligibility issues.