Slive: Pearl's firing was difficult to watch

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive says it was difficult to watch longtime acquaintance Bruce Pearl get fired as Tennessee's men's basketball coach.

Slive said Monday he had "very different conversations" with Pearl before and after the coach's firing on March 21, more than six months after Tennessee revealed the coach was facing an unethical conduct charge from the NCAA for lying during a recruiting probe.

The commissioner spoke at the regional meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Slive wouldn't address the ongoing investigation at Tennessee.

Asked about the NCAA's investigation into the recruitment of former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, Slive says he has not heard anything indicating that the governing body has closed the case.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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