Auburn Tigers men’s basketball placed on 4-year probation; Coach Bruce Pearl suspended for 2 games

Auburn’s men’s basketball program has been placed on four-year probation and head coach Bruce Pearl will serve a two-game suspension after the NCAA said Friday the program failed to monitor the former associate head coach Chuck Person for his role in the college basketball corruption case. in 2017.

This is Pearl’s second NCAA sanction. He was sentenced to a three-year show cause sentence in 2011 following a recruitment investigation while in Tennessee. Pearl was fired by Tennessee in 2011 and hired at Auburn in 2014.

Wes Flanigan will serve as interim head coach for Auburn’s game against Nebraska on Saturday, while Steven Pearl will coach against North Alabama on Tuesday.

Other penalties at Auburn include a self-imposed postseason ban for that season; a fine of $5,000 plus 3% of the men’s basketball program budget; and a 10-year show cause for Person.

The Division I committee on infractions ruled that the person violated NCAA rules of ethical conduct when he accepted $91,500 in kickbacks from a financial adviser in exchange for impermissible influence on student-athletes and their families. “In addition, the Associate Head Coach provided incentives and benefits to two men’s basketball student-athletes and their families,” the NCAA said. “The men’s basketball head coach failed to adequately monitor the associate head coach and foster an atmosphere of compliance.”

The conduct at the heart of this case was tied to a larger scheme that involved money and influence at the intersection of college and professional basketball. The scheme resulted in the arrest and prosecution of several people, including college basketball coaches.

This case began on September 26, 2017, when FBI agents arrested Person and nine other men – including three other assistant coaches from Arizona, Oklahoma State and USC – in connection with an indictment and a federal criminal complaint filed in the Southern US District Court. Neighborhood of New York. The complaint alleged that Person took bribes from financial advisers in exchange for influencing student-athletes to retain the professional services of advisers when the student-athletes entered the NBA. The person later pleaded guilty to these charges.

Of the head coaches, only Louisville’s Rick Pitino lost his job directly as a result of the scandal (he denied knowledge of the issues surrounding the case and is now a coach at Iona). Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose program was also among those targeted by the FBI, was not brought back to practice this season. His former assistant, Emanuel “Book” Richardson, was the only arrested trainer who served time in prison, and many in the industry believed he was a sacrificial lamb.

The head coaches of Kansas and USC — whose schools have both been implicated in the scandal — are staying at their schools.

The NCAA in November rejected an appeal from Oklahoma State and imposed a postseason ban on the program for the 2021-22 season and tied the program to three scholarships for its role in the scandal.