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Bruce Pearl's Job Status In Question As Tennessee Prepares For Michigan

Michigan will take on Tennessee in second-round action of the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament on Friday. If the Wolverines win the game, it's possible that could be the end of Bruce Pearl as head coach of Tennessee.

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On Wednesday, Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton told a radio station that "the jury is out" on whether or not Pearl will be back for the Volunteers next season, as the decision won't be made after the NCAA tournament.

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"We don't know the answer today," Hamilton said when asked if Pearl would be coach next season. "We've done a lot of soul searching about the direction of our program, and we'll continue to do that, and we'll decide after we're out of the NCAA Tournament what direction it is that we're going to go next.

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Pearl actually doesn't have a contract right now. In September it came out that he mislead investigators from the NCAA, and he was charged with violations as a result. Penalties that came along with the violations included a reduction of Pearl's salary and no recruiting off of campus for a year. He was also suspended for the first eight SEC games this season.

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It remains to be seen if this news will have any effect on Tennessee as it continues getting ready for Friday's game with Michigan. It's always possible that news like this could rally a team and motivate the players, or it may not have any effect whatsoever. Whatever the case, after what happened with the Michigan football program going into the Gator Bowl, it's nice to be on the other side of this turmoil for a change.