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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl sat in the student section Monday night for the tipoff of the game between the fourth-ranked Lady Vols and No. 1 Duke.

He was shirtless and his chest was painted in orange with a "V" for Volunteers on it.

Coach Pat Summitt appeared to acknowledge him and gestured enthusiastically at Pearl.

Some of the men's players were with Pearl, spelling out "Go Vols" on their painted chests.

Duke won the game 74-70.

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Seriously, bash all you want. Thats fu*kin awesome. Love the school spirit that is shown with that. Makes me proud to be a fan of Rocky Top.

I think this is terrific way to go way to show school spirit

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That's AWESOME! It doesn't amaze me at all. Back in his days at UWM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Pearl was able to get the students to pack US Cellular Arena. He has such a passion for his players, the University(now U. of Tennessee), and all that goes with it.

Major kudos to coach Pearl and the players for doing something like that. Tennessee's very lucky to have him on their team.

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Pearl's a classless snitch.

The dude could have been doing beer bongs in the stands and it still wouldn't have been cool.

That guy got a job within a year.

Watching Pearl in person last week he can cost his team a game (and he did agains't Auburn)

As for classless...not sure about that...but he has brought excitement back to UT basketball and a team that was second class compared to their women's team.

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Me and STL have completely different reasons for hating Pearl than that he works at Rocky top. For that I could care less.

From Wikipedia...this is how it transpired:

The Pearl / Thomas incident

During the 1988-1989 basketball season, Pearl, then an assistant coach at the University of Iowa, was at the center of a recruiting scandal involving the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both Illinois and Iowa were recruiting Deon Thomas, a top high school player from Chicago. Pearl lost this recruiting battle when Thomas committed to Illinois. Thereafter, Pearl relentlessly called the high school student over and over, and surreptitiously recorded a phone conversation with Thomas. Pearl attempted to get Thomas to admit that he had been offered an SUV and cash by Illinois assistant coach Jimmy Collins. Pearl then turned over the tapes to the NCAA, accompanied by a memo describing the events.[1]

When the NCAA investigated the alleged violations, they found Illinois guilty of no violations related to the Pearl/Thomas incident, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

However, Illinois was punished for vague violations of a policy known as "institutional control." Chuck Smart, the NCAA director of enforcement, could not explain the strange ruling. Smart said "We believe the Committee (of Infractions) did not say the allegations were false, but they did not find that they were true." Thomas's attorney responded: "When you bring an allegation and don't have the burden of proof, they have two words for that. It means, 'not guilty.' And when people on the enforcement staff shoot their mouths off and talk about the allegations still being true, it incenses me."

The Bruce Pearl-Deon Thomas incident cost millions of dollars to play out. Illinois spent a small fortune defending itself and the basketball program suffered greatly because of the sanctions imposed. Iowa certainly did not benefit from the negative publicity and Pearl skirted the brink of professional suicide.

An investigation conducted by now-SEC-commissioner Mike Slive and the university Chancellor demonstrated that Bruce Pearl might be the only one guilty of wrongdoing in this situation. Slive discovered gaps in the tape recording, which indicated deletions and/or creative splicing of the audio. Even with Pearl's editing, the tape "showed an obvious attempt by Pearl to lead Thomas to agree with a predetermined conclusion... Thomas never volunteered nor stated that he was offered or given anything on tape." (Chicago Herald & Register)

Furthermore, the grandmother of young Mr. Thomas alleged that Bruce Pearl offered her a new residence if Deon would attend Iowa, and that Illinois made no illegal offers.

When Pearl and Collins were both head coaches for four years in the Horizon League, the two men never engaged in the traditional postgame handshake due to bad feelings over the incident. When Thomas was asked about forgiving Bruce Pearl in a 2005 interview, he was quoted as saying "It's hard to forgive a snake". Thomas's basketball career was permanently knocked off its track, as he was barred from playing at Illinois -- today, he plays basketball in Israel.

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This was 18 freaking years ago...please get over it.

Seriously. Besides, STL was, like, one years old when that happened.

You're right...I think about it every single day of my pathetic life. Man we must bring it up all the time...how do you deal??? I mean...I did write that story up from memory...its not like I had to look up all the details because I had forgotten them.

Its the first time its ever been mentioned on the boards (to my knowledge). If something happened that put your program back 5-10 years and someone brought the name up 15 later, you'd most likely say something too.

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