Thursday, May 28, 2009

More on Memphis and Calipari

The attached article and the ones that follow have more information on John Calipari, Derrick Rose, and the issues surrounding the alleged violations at the University of Memphis.

The player involved in the alleged SAT fraud seems to be Derrick Rose. That much was assumed to be the case in the information I had yesterday. What's new to me is that the guy who flew on the team plane and stayed in the team hotel was allegedly Reggie Rose, Derrick Rose's brother.

If Reggie Rose did not qualify for college, would he have looked for a school that might help out his little brother? A school that might arrange for everything to be taken care of? Make sure Little Pooh had a high enough score to play for one year... Not too much help, mind you, but just enough.

If the older Rose was in charge of Derrick's recruiting, how much was his own self-interest involved in the process? "Hey, man, if Derrick signs with us, you'll be in the mix, too. Go to all the games. Stay in the team hotel. We can work all that out. You won't get that kind of personal attention with the straight-laced guys over at Illinois."

Is there any wonder now why the decision to go to Memphis instead of Illinois was a "family decision?"

Note: I'm not saying that any violation occurred. But the allegations and charges flying here and there are very serious, and the optics of the situation raise a lot of questions.

What will be the impact of the investigation on Calipari, and Calipari's new school, the University of Kentucky?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NCAA Alleges Serious Infractions by Calipari-coached Memphis Squad

This could get ugly. If the NCAA digs around at Memphis and diligently examines the program, there could be trouble.

University of Kentucky fans need to be aware of this situation.

A player with multitudes of handlers end up wanting one of their guys to be with them. Did Memphis just go along with the idea? If the handler did indeed ride on the team plane, how did Calipari not know? If he stayed in the team hotel, how could the guy be missed? Who authorized the travel? Who cut the check? Or was it cash?

If there was knowing fraud on the SAT, what happened? Who was behind the alleged fraud? How many players received a little extra help?

I'm not saying the allegations are all true, but something happened at Memphis, and it doesn't sound good at all. And if Memphis was informed of the violations in January and Calipari was hired by Kentucky in March, was does this mean for UK?

Any thoughts?

Billy Gillespie Sues the University of Kentucky

Not much of a surprise here.

When you have a signed memorandum of understanding, but an unsigned contract, there is plenty of room for disagreement. And if you throw in the amount of money that Billy Gillespie would have received under the contract, versus what he was deemed by the school to be owed under the memorandum of understanding, Gillespie had plenty of incentive to file a lawsuit.

It's interesting that he filed the lawsuit in Texas. Doubt a jury in the Bluegrass State would have felt too sympathetic for Gillespie's arguments. There will be all sorts of legal maneuvers over the location in which the case should be heard.

I think Gillespie should have just signed his contract. He didn't, so he bears at least some of the responsibility for his predicament. He still probably would have been fired, but at least there wouldn't be much of an argument about his separation package.

I'm thinking the University of Kentucky will settle, somewhere close to the amount that Gillespie would have gotten if the contract had been signed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Kentucky Way

It may seem like a good problem to have. Too many elite recruits coming in for the number of spots available on the roster.

However, there is the sticky matter of principles. Who stays and who goes? What is the university's set of guidelines for making these kinds of decisions?

Mark Richt talks about "the Georgia way," and it entails everything the school stands for, and all of the corresponding expectations the school has of its student athletes.

UGA basketball fell short a few years ago when we neglected the Georgia way in a misguided attempt to improve the team as quickly as possible.

Is there a "Kentucky way?" If so, John Calipari might be trampling all over it.

I know. UK fans will say it's jealousy, and they will bask in the light of their run of recruiting good fortune. They will look forward to world domination.

Call it sour grapes or whatever you like. I'm still stunned by Calipari's actions and the reasons he states for taking them.

Calipari says he has talked to three current players and let them know that they will not have a place with the team for next year. At the same time, Calipari also remarks that he will not make any final decision on the roster until Jodie Meeks decides in mid-June whether or not to return.

In other words, "If I need you, I want you. If I don't, bye."

Calipari justifies his actions by saying that he would not cut a player unless there were "issues." In so stating, he seems to be claiming the moral high ground as he makes roster decisions.

However, by "issues," Calipari does not mean academics. He doesn't mean moral shortcomings-- not the typical matters that fans and the public understand mean qualification and suitability to represent the school. What Calipari really means by issues is "talent," or lack thereof.

Just call it what it is. Don't have the euphimistic expression of "issues" hanging over a player's career-- especially since Calipari is apparently unbothered by and willing to brush aside some of his recruits' "non-issues."

And then there is the matter of directing players during May and June to find and enroll in a new school by August. A scholarship offer should mean that it carries with it certain ethical commitments from the university-- the university's way.

As it stands, it appears to me that the University of Kentucky is allowing Calipari to set a troubling standard. He is equating the Kentucky way with having NBA talent. That's not good for the student-athlete, and ultimately, it's not even good for the institution.

The way Coach Calipari is treating UK's student-athletes is unseemly. Some of the long-time fans should say something before it's too late.

If your goal is to win at all costs, sometimes you do.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mark Fox on Stegeman

This article is from a few days back, but I wanted to post it anyway so that it would be available to readers.

Coach Fox believes that Stegeman is just fine. I agree that the issue with our program is not the gym. If we win and avoid NCAA problems, we will have a lot of support from the fans.

My question: Has Coach Fox has been in the bathrooms? When are those supposed to be remodeled? Maybe I missed it, but the last time I checked, the bathrooms still had that weird configuration. Stegeman has the only bathroom in the country that you have to think to figure out what to do once you step in the door.

Interview with Anthony Grant

I was very impressed with the interview. I think that Grant could have done quite well at UGA, and he will have Alabama very competitive, very soon.

Hope he loses against Georgia, though. We'll have to work hard on recruiting, since Alabama always seems to get more than their fair share of the best ballplayers from our state.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Noel Johnson Gains Release?

That's exactly what has taken place, if you believe the information circulating on the Net.

With all of the O.J. Mayo investigating going on at Southern Cal., I would bet that Noel Johnson and family did in fact ask for a release. As others on the link have speculated, if USC granted the release, that may mean that the athletic director sees the handwriting on the wall with regard to the Tim Floyd era. Floyd may be on his way out, and sanctions from the NCAA could be on their way in.

Hard to say what any of this could mean for UGA recruiting. Doesn't sound like UGA is what Johnson has in mind, since Georgia was not mentioned in the list of schools that Johnson favors.

Any coaching staff would have to look very hard at the circumstances. It may not be fair, but Johnson will be painted with the same brush as O.J. Mayo. Does a new coach want the press attention that Noel Johnson would bring? Would the NCAA assume that if a former USC recruit ends up at a new school, that the new school paid to get Johnson's commitment?

With all of the above said, Johnson is an elite recruit. He is a big scorer, and Georgia needs a two-guard/small forward that can shoot. We have a scholarship open.

Could it work? What's your take?

Calathes Turns Pro

Nick Calathes, former starting guard for the Florida Gators, has decided to go pro. He signed recently with a European team in Greece.

Nick's brother, Pat, also plays professionally in Greece, so the opportunity to join his brother abroad was attractive to the younger Calathes. Nick Calathes will earn approximately $2 million a year during his 3-year contract.

Although UF coach Billy Donovan has had difficulty in managing his roster, there won't be many tears shed at his plight-- not at least by those competing against him in the SEC. Donovan is a good coach, and he will still have a number of talented players to put on the floor when the season starts.