Sidelines with John Clay

Bruce Pearl might have said one thing while Auburn basketball did another

Leave it up to Bruce Pearl to allegedly break his own rules.

That’s what is being alleged in more than one quarter. Not long after the Auburn basketball coach told, or at least hinted to CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein on a recent podcast that his basketball program had already started serving self-imposed penalties as it awaits the expected NCAA’s Notice of Allegations. And reported that Auburn did not “conduct recruiting” of any kind from September 2017 through April 2018.

Maybe, maybe not. As Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk points out, Rivals reporter Dan McDonald has a picture posted Feb. 3, 2018, of two future Auburn commits visiting the school. And Yahoo’s Pat Forde provides a couple more examples that lead us to believe that, well, Pearl might have misspoken. Or something like that.

As previously proven, Peal has “misspoken” before. While coaching at Tennessee, Pearl told the NCAA in 2008 he did not know where a picture of recruit Aaron Craft was taken. Turns out the picture was taken at Pearl’s house during a dead period. Pearl later called the NCAA to correct himself, but it was too late. He was fired by Tennessee and served a show cause penalty before being hired by Auburn. He led the Tigers to the Final Four this past season, beating Kentucky in the Midwest Region finals.

Allegedly breaking your own self-imposed recruiting ban isn’t an NCAA violation, but it isn’t a good look. Same with saying one thing, then doing another.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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