Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's in the Water in Kentucky?

Is there anything that will get you in trouble with officials in the State of Kentucky? Is there any standard of conduct whatsoever for someone who coaches basketball at the collegiate level?
Memphis will be forced to vacate the record 38 victories from its Final Four season of 2007-08, according to a report by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The newspaper, citing a source close to the situation, said on its Web site Wednesday night that the NCAA will on Thursday release findings of its investigation into violations committed by the program.

The NCAA investigated whether someone took the SAT exam for a player on that Final Four team. Memphis was notified of potential violations in January and met with the NCAA in June.

Memphis finished 38-2 in 2007-08, setting the NCAA record for wins in a season. The Tigers lost 75-68 to Kansas in overtime in the national championship game.

It would be the second time both Memphis and former coach John Calipari had to vacate Final Four seasons. The Tigers were stripped of their 1985 appearance and Calipari's Massachusetts team lost its 1996 berth.

Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson, coach Josh Pastner and a spokesman for the team couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Calipari, appearing at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday, had no comment because the report had not been officially released but did say he would be "disappointed" if Memphis was stripped of its trip to the Final Four.

Mitch Barnhart, the president of Kentucky who hired Calipari away from Memphis earlier this year, told the AP last week he's not concerned about the potential violations that became known only after Calipari was hired. The coach has not been deemed "at risk" by the NCAA, and Barnhart stressed Calipari is eager to help the Wildcats win the right way.

In Kentucky, basketball is king. Rick Pitino and John Calipari are gods walking the Earth, impervious to accountability. These men can say or do whatever they want and they will never be held accountable. Don't even begin to argue that a basketball program stripped of 38 victories because it was rife with academic cheating should not reflect upon the coach of that program. Academics, coaching, and ethics are all wrapped up as one, and if that coach didn't know, then that coach is either lying or incompetent. That should preclude that individual from having anything to do with collegiate atheletics, period. End of story. Clem Haskins can help you sort that out if you need help with it.

The next time some blowhard on ESPN or any other sports channel or forum goes off on Bobby Knight, tell them to shut their pie hole and hold up as an example the disgraceful conduct of Rick Pitino and John Calipari in the corrupt and venal state of Kentucky. (Yes, Jay Mariotti is the blind pig finding the acorn with this one and gets one right).

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