Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer 318d

Bruce Pearl refuses to comment on school's internal investigation

Men's College Basketball, Auburn Tigers

AUBURN, Ala. -- AuburnĀ coach Bruce Pearl said Thursday that he has told his players not to worry about an ESPN report that his job was in jeopardy if he continued not cooperating with the school's internal investigation of the program.

Pearl refused to comment on the ongoing investigation and did not say whether he and the university were speaking.

"I hope we're able to get through this and put it behind us," he said.

Auburn hired a law firm to perform an internal review of the program in the immediate aftermath of assistant coach Chuck Person's arrest by the FBI in connection to an investigation into college basketball corruption. Person was fired after he was indicted on six federal charges on Tuesday.

ESPN reported on Wednesday that Pearl has refused to talk to attorneys conducting the university's investigation. They've been unable to determine whether Pearl was involved in NCAA violations or other wrongdoing because FBI agents seized his computers and cellphones as part of their investigation.

Auburn officials haven't given Pearl a deadline to cooperate, but sources told ESPN that a decision on his future should come in the next week or two.

Auburn opens its season -- Pearl's fourth leading the program -- against Norfolk State on Friday night.

Pearl, who had previously been fired by Tennessee for lying to NCAA investigators about a prospect's recruitment, still had five months remaining of a three-year NCAA show-cause penalty when Auburn hired him in March 2014.

Auburn has gone 44-54 under Pearl's tenure.

Before last week's exhibition game against Barry University, Auburn announced that would leave forward Danjel Purifoy and center Austin Wiley on the sideline indefinitely while the school sorts through "potential eligibility issues." The move to sit the two sophomores is believed to be related to the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption that included the arrest of Person.

Pearl said he was receiving updates on the two players' eligibility daily and that, on the eve of the season opener, both could practice but had not been cleared to compete in games.

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