NCAA Suspends Bruce Pearl, Accepts Auburn's Self-imposed Ban After Recruiting Probe

Adam WellsDecember 10, 2021

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - JANUARY 20: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers yells at his team during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on January 20, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Tigers 75-73.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The NCAA has announced the punishment for Auburn's basketball program stemming from former assistant coach Chuck Person's involvement in a bribery scandal. 

Per Meghan Durham of NCAA.org, the NCAA infractions committee announced it accepted Auburn's self-imposed postseason ban from last season and head coach Bruce Pearl will be suspended for two games. 

The university and Pearl, who will begin serving his suspension on Saturday against Nebraska, issued statements about the NCAA's decision:

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

Statements from Auburn and Bruce Pearl about today’s NCAA decision. Pearl will serve his two-game suspension immediately, missing games against Nebraska and North Alabama. <a href="https://t.co/HyvfZVKnfx">pic.twitter.com/HyvfZVKnfx</a>

In addition to those measures, Auburn has also been put on probation for four years and must vacate all team records from when ineligible student-athletes played in games. 

The Tigers were one of seven programs implicated in the college-basketball corruption scandal in 2017 when the FBI arrested 10 individuals, including four assistant coaches, three athlete advisors and three Adidas employees. 

In February 2018, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports obtained federal documents that also tied programs like Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC and  Alabama to potentially giving "impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players."

Auburn announced in November 2020 a self-imposed one-year postseason ban for the 2020-21 season as a result of Person's role in the scandal and arrest. 

Person was hired as an associated head coach by Pearl in April 2014. He was going into this third season with the program at the time of his arrest and subsequent firing. 

The 57-year-old was sentenced to 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a charge of bribery conspiracy.