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Breaking: Bruce Pearl still refusing to interview with Auburn officials and legal counsel

Bruce Pearl still refusing to interview with
Auburn officials and legal counsel AUBURN – Bruce Pearl is still refusing to interview
with Auburn officials and university legal counsel. While the Tigers fourth-year head coach said
in a media conference Wednesday that’s his staff has done “a lot of things” to resolve
the school’s ongoing investigation into the men’s basketball program, sources close
to the university president’s office have confirmed he hasn’t done the foremost thing
asked of him – interview with university council. By declining requests to interview with university
council and the law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White of Birmingham, Auburn officials contend
the investigation can not be concluded and also has held up the eligibility reinstatement
of inactive players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. “If he’s running a clean program and hasn’t
done anything wrong, why won’t he talk?” the source told the Montgomery Advertiser
on the condition of anonymity. “The responsibility is to the school and
a athletics department and not just to a coach and his program.” Don Jackson, whose law firm The Sports Group
is based in Montgomery, contends the situation is much more complicated. Jackson, who has decades of experience representing
coaches and players in NCAA eligibility cases, says suggesting that Pearl should talk to
university council if he’s not responsible for any of the alleged actions resulting in
the arrest and indictment of former assistant coach Chuck Person is disregarding a critical
element. “It’s not that simple and I’ll tell
you why – it’s about NCAA working with law enforcement years before the arrests and
FBI raids of the last few months,” Jackson said. “I don’t believe any coach can assume
a transcript of an interview with university council or investigators being hired by the
school won’t be transferred over to law enforcement.” Pearl avoided a direct question from the Montgomery
Advertiser asking the Tigers coach if he felt he’d done everything asked of him by the
university in this process. “Again, we’re working through the process
and there’s been some discussion about whether we’re cooperating,” Pearl said. “We’ve done a lot of things to try and
get through this process and there’s still more that needs to be done. It’s all something that is running its course.”

David Frank