Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Forget health care, let's talk John Calipari

As I've been depressed about the failure to block ObamaCare, I've become more absorbed in following the NCAA tournament. For a sports fan, this is the most fun part of the year. Your brackets might be a mess, but gosh, it's a blast to watch these kids giving it their all. The story of a Cinderella team like Northern Iowa beating the number one team in the nation is something that even those who are uninterested in the sport can enjoy following.

And the chickens have come home to roost for Memphis. The NCAA ruled yesterday that they had to vacate their championship from the 2007-08 season and pay back the money that they earned in the tournament.
The final decision to reject Memphis' appeal brings to a close the issue involving former point guard Derrick Rose, who was ruled retroactively ineligible by the NCAA after his SAT score was invalidated by the Educational Testing Service in May 2008. Memphis also was tagged for extra benefit violations involving Rose's brother, Reggie Rose, who was not charged for $1,713.85 in travel expenses with the team.
Memphis says that they will be looking into getting back the bonuses that they paid Coach John Calipari. Good. I hope he has to pay back every single penny.

Mike Goodman of CBS Sports voices
what I think. Why is Calipari still lauded and employed at a premium school?
Calipari makes the Final Four at one school and the NCAA comes calling. He bolted, fellas, the school tells the NCAA cops. He gets to another. Ding, dong it's the NCAA. He has bolted. Calipari stays one step ahead of the sheriff. If Bob Marley were still alive, he would sing a song about Calipari.

In the future, sports historians will look back at Calipari's reign and say he was one of the biggest reasons for the professionalization of college basketball and why it's transforming from Wonderland to New Jack City.

Yeah, I said it. Kentucky fans will flame message boards and threaten to burn down my house but in their blue and white hearts they know what I'm saying is true. They're holding their noses and enjoying the ride just like many others are.

Put on a surgical mask and take a deep breath, Kentucky fans. It's your turn to root for your for-now hero while looking over the shoulder and waiting for the NCAA to knock at the door.
Does anyone really believe that Calipari didn't know anything about Derrick Rose's sudden increase in SAT scores? Come on. Is it just a coincidence that this has happened to him at two separate schools?

And Goodman adds this kicker.
People hate Mike Krzyzewski but love Calipari. Think about that for a second.
Krzyzewski runs a clean program, works hard in the community to raise money for a variety of causes, and teaches young men values as well as basketball. And that's the guy sports fans love to hate? I just don't get it.


Bachbone said...

Money talks. It used to be football that kept the rest of the sports programs going, but basketball TV rights now bring in some big bucks, so many college administrations wear blinders where coaches are involved. Firing a coach over infractions usually means nothing, because they get hired immediately elsewhere. It's even corrupt down as far as some community colleges.

Some pro teams are still clean. The Pittsburgh Steelers get rid of players who refuse help to quit doing drugs or have repeated run-ins with law enforcement, whether they are "stars' or not.

Pat Patterson said...

Nothing new! Just witness the career of Jerry Tarkanian who escaped just as the boom was lowered first on Pasadena CC, then Long Beach State and finally on Las Vegas.

Even Coach Wooden needed a money man to secure some of his players.

Locomotive Breath said...

When will the NCAA ever figure out that the only way to put an end to this mess is to make the sanctions follow the coach as well as applying them to the school he just left?

Eagle1 said...

Good points.

Much of this could be resolved by the NCAA banning tournament teams or players that don't maintain 2.0 averages (yes, even in "elementary basket weaving") and that don't graduate at least the number of players that match the school's 5 year general student graduation rate. Deferring punishment until after a coach leaves is just not an effective deterrent to bad behavior if you know that you'll be gone before the hammer drops.

I should add that despite being a UNC fan I admire Coach K as a coach. teacher and man. And it is much more fun to have a great rival over there at Duke especially one whose players graduate.

equitus said...

My brother is a big-time Memphis fan and is livid. And we have cousins who live in Lexington, so there's a minor family feud going on right now (via Facebook - glad to not there in person)

My favorite March Madness story is little Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California. Practically in my neighborhood, I sometimes see some of their players in the grocery store or getting pizza. Also, it's interesting that 4 or 5 of their line-up are from Australia. I'm waiting for Tim Blair to take note. Go Gaels!

Pat Patterson said...

Don't forget the only other California school that won the NCAA basketball championship was the small University of San Francisco. Also a Catholic college.

equitus said...

Pat... um.. something about UCLA...

Pat Patterson said...

That's why I said "...the only other."

Brett King said...

Pat mentions Wooden so how can he not know that UCLA has 11 NCAA basketball championships, 10 under Wooden, the greatest coach/teacher the game has ever seen.