Report: Bruce Pearl May Be Fired If He Won't Cooperate with Auburn Investigators

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2017

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl answers questions during the Southeastern Conference men's NCAA college basketball media day Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Auburn is reportedly considering firing head basketball coach Bruce Pearl as he continues to refuse to cooperate with an internal investigation into the program. 

Mark Schlabach and Paula Lavigne of ESPN.com reported Pearl has not spoken with attorneys retained by the university to investigate the actions of former assistant coach Chuck Person. The Department of Justice arrested Person in September as one of 10 people charged with crimes associated with college basketball corruption.

University investigators have not been able to determine whether Pearl committed any NCAA infractions or was apart of any illegal activity. FBI agents seized Pearl's cell phones and computers as part of their investigation.

"This is an ongoing investigation and everyone is working to try to get our players certified and eligible, and it's a process," Pearl said Wednesday after practice, per Tom Green of AL.com. "You guys know from the very beginning I'm not allowed to comment on the process. We are definitely working through this."

Pearl, 57, is 44-54 in three seasons at Auburn. The Tigers are coming off an 18-14 campaign, their first winning season under Pearl. 

Tennessee fired Pearl in 2011 for lying to NCAA investigators about infractions related to his recruitment of Aaron Craft. He was punished with a three-year show cause that did not allow him to contact recruits. Auburn hired him in March 2014.

Person allegedly received and illegally gave cash to two different recruits during his time at Auburn. Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley are being held out of games for the time being while the school investigates their eligibility. 

No timetable has been set for Pearl to cooperate with investigators. The Tigers open their season Friday against Norfolk State. 

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