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Monday, October 25, 2010
UT freshman's dad: Contract doesn't matter

By Eamonn Brennan

Last week's revelations that Tennessee had, already, without letting anyone know, terminated Bruce Pearl's contract, was, well, let's just call it a surprise. We could also call it a drastic step. And also potentially the end of Pearl's career at the school, even if the NCAA is eventually lenient, which is far from the likely outcome. And it has to throw recruiting efforts into a major lurch.

Fortunately, Pearl already has a handful of players from the 2010 class on campus, and it's a lot harder for those guys to rethink their commitments. One player, Tobias Harris -- the best of Pearl's 2010 recruits, and the highest-ranked player Pearl has ever landed -- seems OK with the situation. According to his father, that is:
“There’s no impact on Tobias,” Torrel Harris said. “He’s very focused and ready for the basketball season. He’s working extremely hard and his energy level is very high. I expect great results for Tobias and the UT basketball team.”

Uh, OK then? On one hand that's good. On the other it's probably a little unrealistic. Harris' new coach is the figurehead of a program that lied to NCAA investigators, told recruits and their families to lie, and then voided its coach's contract but didn't fire him (huh?) in the midst of three ongoing NCAA investigations. I'd say that might have some effect on how Harris, and the rest of the Vols, play this year.

That's an unfortunate bit of collateral damage. But right now, it's the reality of life with Pearl.