Sources: Tennessee receives notice

Updated: February 23, 2011, 1:52 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Tennessee received its notice of allegations from the NCAA Tuesday detailing infractions by the men's basketball, football and baseball teams, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The heaviest charge of unethical conduct is expected to be levied against basketball coach Bruce Pearl for misleading investigators over a barbecue at his house when prospective student-athletes were juniors.

According to multiple sources, the Vols will go in front of the committee on infractions at a hearing June 10-11 in Indianapolis. The committee meets in April, but the Vols couldn't get on the schedule in time because they are afforded 90 days to respond to the allegations and wouldn't make the April docket.

That means Pearl, who is currently working without a contract, will not learn of any further sanctions from the NCAA until later this summer.

[+] EnlargeBruce Pearl
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesBruce Pearl is expected to be hit with an unethical conduct charge by the NCAA, according to sources.

Tennessee is expected to release the entire notice of allegations Wednesday.

According to sources, the notice of allegations also will include the football program under former coach Lane Kiffin. The baseball team also is under investigation. The investigation was delayed because it involved more than one sport.

If multiple programs are involved then the university could face a charge of a lack of institutional control in its athletic department. However, multiple sources told ESPN.com that the NCAA is not expected to levy a failure-to-monitor charge against the Vols football program.

A charge of unethical conduct is one of the most serious against an individual, according to a source familiar with the NCAA process. The charge means the person knowingly violated a rule.

But a charge of unethical conduct doesn't always stick, as was the case with former Connecticut assistant Patrick Sellers, who was charged with the same violation in UConn's original notice of allegations but was not cited once the committee on infractions ruled Tuesday.

Assistant coaches Jason Shay, Steve Forbes and Tony Jones were charged with failing to uphold the high standards of sportsmanship and honesty during the interview process, according to sources. They were not charged with unethical conduct.

Forbes and Jones were also cited for impermissible phone calls and off-campus contact with at least one junior, as it relates to a barbecue at Pearl's home.

Pearl was suspended for the first eight SEC games of this season in a proactive move by SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Pearl had already been docked $1.5 million over five years by Tennessee and prevented from recruiting on campus for one year beginning Sept. 24. Shay was kept off the road for three months, Jones for six and Forbes for one year, as well.

The COI can add to any sanctions on Pearl when it releases its findings after the June hearing, including more game penalties.

Pearl's contract was voided and he is now working under a letter of appointment because of the admitted violations.

Pearl has said he misled the investigators about a photo taken at his house during an unofficial recruiting visit. Pearl later said he initiated a call with the NCAA to say that he had not told the truth.

Pearl was unavailable for comment and his attorney, Steve Thompson, referred all questions to the university.

Pearl was allowed to coach in a non-conference game at Connecticut on Jan. 22 during the suspension. Jones coached the Vols during Pearl's suspension.

Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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