Thursday, May 28, 2009

I see your true colors shining through

Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is back in the news today as allegations of major violations have surfaced at the University of Memphis regarding "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" on an SAT exam by a player on the 2007-08 team. This should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody based on Calipari's track record. The school received the letter of notification on January 16th, making it look more and more like the Kentucky job came along at the perfect time for him.

Geoff Calkins has a fantastic piece in this morning's Commercial Appeal, with a couple of great opening sentences:
John Calipari is one of a handful of college basketball coaches to take two different schools to the Final Four. Before long, he may be the only one to have both of those appearances vacated from the NCAA record books.
He's got a great point, and one that I made more than a year ago:
John Calipari’s only other appearance in the Final Four has been stricken from the record books thanks to a fantastic watch that Marcus Camby was given. Though Calipari successfully weaseled his way out of that, the UMass program is just now righting itself from his tenure there. In my opinion, this appearance has at least a decent chance of disappearing too.
So, for those of you scoring at home, here's a brief recap for you: Calipari - complete with his reputation for being a snake oil salesman - led the University of Memphis to the Final 4, bolts a season later and - shockingly - allegations of major violations surface regarding his star player form that team. This just more than a decade after he led UMass to a Final 4 and bolted shortly thereafter when major violations surfaced regarding his star player. Kentucky - you're officially on notice.

Which brings up some more questions. Did Calipari let UK know about these pending accusations? With UK's somewhat sordid history with NCAA violations, would they have risked the hire if they knew about them? Calipari's always been a "Just Win" type of guy, and it may have landed another of his former programs in trouble again. A Sea of Blue offers a very nice summation here, and has this advice to UK fans:
So embrace that hate, Big Blue Nation, and take pleasure in the loathing. I know I will. It is fun urinating on the schadenfreude of others, and watching them contort themselves into a tizzy to create self-deluded hopes of NCAA sanctions to come. It makes me laugh out loud to see logic tortured to the point of screaming agony. Parsing Coach Cal's occasional cryptic tweets just adds to the aura of suspicion. Have fun with it.
Calipari will most likely skate through this unscathed. He's a master of his devious craft and he almost certainly had the proper procedures in place to disassociate himself from this incident as much as possible. He'll plead ignorance here just like he did in Amherst and the NCAA won't touch him. His ignorance plea will be an outright lie - just like in Amherst - but he's established himself as quite the NCAA cash cow, and that means he won't be touched. (Let's call it the USC Principle.)

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