Thursday, May 28, 2009
John Calipari, Kentucky, and Memphis NCAA Violations
The administration at Kentucky has confirmed that they were aware of this situation prior to hiring coach John Calipari. What is also known is the fact that Memphis knew of this during the courtship of Calipari and despite these allegations were willing to counter Kentucky's offer to try to keep him as a head coach. As far as Calipari is concerned there is no sanctions being brought against him or any evidence that he was involved with either of these situations. As far as the SAT scores that would have occurred prior to the alleged student being a Memphis basketball player, so he would have no control. As far as the individual traveling with the team, Calipari more than likely would not handle any of those arrangements. However, I think the issue here is cultural. Calipari is known for "skiriting" the rules, not necessarily breaking the rules but finding ways to get around some of the rules. Is he the only one who does this? I would say absolutely not, but the fact of the matter is Calipari could potentially have two Final Four trips wiped off of his record. Typically where there is smoke there is fire. Calipari was under the close eye of the NCAA while at Memphis and he knew that, Calipari did not personally break the rules. But while at Kentucky he will be on an even bigger stage and will not be able to skirt some of these NCAA rules. And at this level he may not have to. The recruiting game is ugly and has been for many years, but as fans of the NCAA you either deal with it or deny it. There is no doubt in my mind that Tubby Smith played by the rules 100% and did not get involved in that recruiting mess. However, Smith did not bring in the talent to win which eventually led to him leaving Kentucky. Gillispie wrote the book on skirting the rules and did so while recruiting as most good recruiters do. Calipari is going to know the rules, and he will abide by them 100%, but don't be naive to think that Calipari will not work loopholes and continue to target the top notch talent because he knows that is what got him the contract in the first place.