Auburn AD backs Bruce Pearl in podcast amid FBI investigation

Bruce Pearl and the Auburn basketball program has been at the forefront of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. Its former assistant, Chuck Person, was one of the first arrested in the scandal.

Pearl’s job status has been questioned ever since Auburn was mixed up with the scandal, however it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

New Auburn athletic director Allen Greene spoke publicly about Pearl on an interview on the in-house Tiger Talk podcast. Greene said that Pearl has done everything possible to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation — and he is confident Pearl will remain the Tigers’ coach.

“He’s been a tremendous blessing for the Auburn family,” Greene said. “The FBI investigation is a long process and we’re going through that process to make sure that we as a university are doing what it is that we’re supposed to do to comply.

“Coach Pearl has been excellent in that regard, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we continue to do the very best that we can to support he, his staff and the student athletes of Auburn University.”

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl cuts down the net after an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Greene was critical of the state of college basketball in general, and it’s easy to understand why. Two of Auburn’s players were forced to sit out the entire year as a result of the FBI’s investigation and Person’s arrest.

Pearl, though, still led the Tigers to a 26-8 record and a share of the SEC regular season title.

“We want to make sure we work incredibly hard to clean up the game, to make it as pure as it can possibly be so that our student-athletes can enjoy the intercollegiate athletic experience,” Greene said. “One of the things that we have to keep in mind is that the state of college basketball is not in a good place right now and I’m a little bit disappointed that Auburn is involved in that, but that doesn’t take away from the excellent job that coach Pearl has done.”

Auburn president Steven Leath was critical of Pearl’s cooperation in the investigation. In February, though, Leath told Yahoo Sports that the pair talk regularly.

“We clearly have some sensitive issues to work through with the NCAA and related to the actions of the former assistant coach,” Leath said. “Coach Pearl and I talk regularly, and I’ve repeatedly told him we want him as our coach. Auburn basketball has an exciting future.”

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