Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NCAA Infractions at Memphis; Calipari Not Named


The Memphis Commercial Appeal has released a story indicating that the NCAA has charged the University of Memphis basketball program with major violations during the 2007-08 season under John Calipari.

The allegations include "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" on an SAT exam by a player on the 2007-08 team.

The Commercial Appeal website states:

"The wording of the report seems to indicate the player in question only competed during the 2007-08 season and specifically the 2008 NCAA tournament. The player’s name was redacted in the report, obtained by The Commercial Appeal through the Freedom of Information Act, due to privacy laws.

"The player has subsequently denied the charge, according to university personnel.

"The only player on the roster who competed only during that season was Derrick Rose, who subsequently was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft last June."

Implications for Memphis:

If the violations are proven to be true, Memphis could be forced to forfeit their NCAA-record 38 victories and Final Four appearance.

The report does not cite "lack of institutional control," which means Memphis would likely be spared of serious penalties that would damage the program moving forward.

Memphis, which received the notice of allegations Jan. 16, is scheduled to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions June 6.

Implications for Calipari (and Kentucky):

New University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari was not named in the report, but the NCAA has requested his presence at the hearing.

Kentucky performed an extensive background search on Calipari before making a hire. It has not been stated yet as to whether these allegations were discovered during the Kentucky hiring process.

“We take it very seriously. We don’t condone it,” said athletic director R.C. Johnson, who declined to comment in detail about the allegations. “We’re doing a thorough investigation.”
Johnson said the university of “still working” on its response to the NCAA notice of allegations.

My Thoughts: First and perhaps most importantly, Calipari is not named in the report and not included in the allegations. The NCAA has requested his presence at the June 6th hearing, but he has not been charged with any infractions.

While that is the good news, there is plenty of bad news, as well. Even if Calipari is 100% innocent, there will be negativity coming from all angles during the next couple of weeks. I'm sure there are already hoards of people dying to shout, "I told you so..." in the general direction of Lexington. There will even be those in the Kentucky base of fans that will state that this is what they expected.

So, make no mistake about it, this is bad news for John Calipari and for the Kentucky Wildcats. He doesn't have to be guilty for it end the storybook honeymoon that he has enjoyed during the first two months on the job. We will have to see how it plays out during the next few weeks.

Article on CommercialAppeal.com

ESPN Article

The NCAA's Letter to Memphis

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