BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Tennessee men's basketball Coach Bruce Pearl has been suspended for the first eight games of the Southeastern Conference season, the league said Friday.
The action stems from an NCAA investigation of the Tennessee program in which Pearl allegedly misled investigators. Other alleged violations include improper contact with recruits.
The SEC said Pearl would be barred from team activities on game days from Jan. 8 to Feb. 5. Team activities include practices, meetings, pregame and postgame activities and the game itself.
"The suspension from coaching duties has been imposed after a careful review of the facts established during the NCAA's investigation and reported to the SEC office," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.
"I am extremely disappointed in the nature of the violations involving coach Pearl and the Tennessee men's basketball program. The penalty applied to this circumstance is significant, which is consistent with the directive approved by the SEC membership in 2010 granting the commissioner authority to act in such cases."
Pearl apologized for his actions but the school still reduced his pay 25 percent this year -- from $2 million to $1.5 million -- and barred him from off-campus recruiting for a year.
Tennessee, 3-0 and ranked 23rd, next plays Wednesday at the NIT Season Tip-off in New York.