Hey, Kentucky: Now you’re on Calipari’s Shame Train

Look familiar? John Calipari could bring UK down this road again.

Look familiar? John Calipari could bring UK down this road again.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who graduated from the University of Kentucky and I would imagine sleeps under a big blue Wildcat bedspread and wears those big puffy blue Wildcat slippers around the governor’s mansion, defended (shockingly!) Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari Thursday. When asked about Calipari causing humiliation at yet another of his past schools, Beshear said, “I’m not worried about it because they have never said Coach Cal did anything wrong at all. I think he’s a very upstanding guy. I think that’s his reputation and I think that reputation will be with him here. I really don’t foresee any problems.”

How much do souls go for in Lexington, anyway?

John Calipari has coached two different schools to Final Fours in his career — Massachusetts and Memphis. He also has managed to get two different schools stripped of Final Fours because of some combination of cheating/academic fraud/using an illegal player — Massachusetts and Memphis. I think they call this a trend.

Beshear believes Calipari’s reputation is one of an upstanding guy? Which branch of Rikers is he comparing him to?

Kentucky has experienced the shame of probation before (see: magazine cover). But it hired Calipari in March to run its basketball program. Why? Because Calipari knows how to win. And there’s that whole the-ends-justify-the-means thing. I wrote at the time that Kentucky was taking a huge risk. I believe that now more than ever.

It looks like Calipari was praying neither he nor Rose would get caught. (AP photo.)

It looks like Calipari was praying neither he nor Rose would get caught.

Memphis will have to vacate its NCAA record 38 wins and a trip to the Final Four in 2007-08 because of major NCAA violations. The most significant is that former star giuard Derrick Rose had somebody take the SAT for him to ensure his eligibility.

Of course, Calipari’s fingerprints will be not be found anywhere on Rose’s SAT, just as they weren’t found on the cash, clothes, jewelry and more salacious benefits that Marcus Camby received from agents when both were at UMass. I wonder if Calipari showed the NCAA his blindfold?

This is the way it works in big-time college athletics. The guy at the top makes sure nothing bad can be connected to him. It’s just like organized crime.

And by the way: When Kentucky was put on three years probation in 1989 for trivial matters like mailing Emery envelopes full of money to recruits, then coach Eddie Sutton’s finger prints weren’t on the envelope, either. That was pinned on an assistant coach. I guess Sutton wore gloves.

I don’t feel sorry for Memphis. The school should have known what it was getting into with Calipari. He had a history of recruiting kids with significant academic issues at UMass that continued at Memphis. (One player, Robert Dozier, was rejected by Georgia after a suspicious SAT score. Of course, he got into Memphis.)

But what’s unfortunate is the school is left to deal with the humiliation alone while the principle figures in the NCAA’s investigation — Calipari and Rose — are long gone. Calipari received an eight-year, $31.65 million contract at Kentucky. Rose was selected first overall by the Chicago Bulls in last year’s NBA draft and is pulling in about $5 million a season. That should buy a new conscience.

As for Kentucky, stop by a newsstand periodically. They may make it back on another magazine cover.

91 comments Add your comment

Gravy Train

August 20th, 2009
3:01 pm


What’s Bradley’s take on all of this. Are you guys in a spat now? Is the devil always taking the form of a slick haired Itallian with a shiny expensive suit? Will stereotypes cease to be propigated?

Gravy Train

August 20th, 2009
3:04 pm

Oops…meant propagated


August 20th, 2009
3:31 pm

Carl your a moron….hate speech! Anyone who doesn’t swallow your version of the “truth” is a hate monger?? No one makes you listen to Rush you twit..its entertainment bonehead…and its very entertaining or he wouldn’t have the largest number of listeners in the history of radio..now take your fascist drivel and blow away..

Jeff Schultz

August 20th, 2009
3:32 pm

OK folks, I took the three “State” references out of the Memphis thing. Don’t want to offend anybody. Let me know when they change the name to Memphis Tech or Memphis A&M so I can update it again.

Jeff Schultz

August 20th, 2009
3:34 pm

Carl — No problem.

Gravy Train — Are we in a “spat”? Not that I know of. We certainly agree on more than a few things though.


August 20th, 2009
3:42 pm

OVerall, a good article. However, I want to correct something that has been thrown around far too often. Robert Dozier did have a suspect that was ultimately flagged, which cost him the opportunity to go to UGA. However, he went to prep school for a year and retook the test. That test score, not the one flagged in a previous test, was the qualifying score used.

I’ve seen this story told several times without an important bit of information that seems to imply the score that caused UGA to deny him was readily accepted at Memphis…which does not at all appear to be the case.

Jeff Schultz

August 20th, 2009
3:43 pm

Since somebody asked about the money thing earlier, here we go . . .

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has forced Memphis to give up every victory in its 38-win season under coach John Calipari that ended in the national title game in 2007-08, saying the school used an ineligible player.

The announcement came Thursday, 16 months after the Tigers lost to Kansas in overtime in the championship game.

The NCAA also said the school must return the money it received from the NCAA tournament appearance that season. School officials were expected to discuss the report later Thursday during a conference call.


August 20th, 2009
3:51 pm

NCAA clears a player to play. SAT board said nothing fishy happened.

Player plays for you. Years later found out player cheated.

Coach is called a crook.

This makes absolutely no sense.


August 20th, 2009
3:53 pm

Jeff, you are a moron. If you plan on roasting Coach Cal, then you may as well put every coach in America in that pot.

The man is innocent until proven guilty. Yeah, I know, just another crazy Kentucky fan defending Coach Cal right? When you assume, well, you know the rest……..


August 20th, 2009
3:55 pm

If Coach Cal failed, then so did the NCAA clearing house.

I seriously wish the NCAA would find it’s relevence.


August 20th, 2009
4:31 pm

Kansas on probabation, wins NCAA tournament, nothing mentioned. North Carolina hires a coach that left a team that was put on probation. Wins 2 National championships, nothing mentioned. Just proves who is number 1 in college basketball.


August 20th, 2009
5:58 pm

Lost in all of this is the lack of proper application of justice. Stripping the Memphis players and school of wins and appearances in postseaon plays does nothing. The money has been spent, and some other team that should/coulda qualified for the big dance got left out. The only proper way to punish Memphis is to ban forever all the coaches and players involved from NCAA Division 1A. Think what would happen if Big Time coach’s had that Sword of Damocles hanging over them.


August 20th, 2009
5:59 pm

Cory Magette admits to taking money, plays on an NCAA championship team and what happens to Duke or Coach K? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

The NCAA cleared Rose to play at Memphis. What is a school supposed to do?

The NCAA is a sham.


August 20th, 2009
6:02 pm

Thank you Greg Doyel:

The NCAA is so hypocritical
Posted on: August 20, 2009 8:55 am
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So the NCAA is about to vacate Memphis’ Final Four from 2008, presumably because — while he was in high school — 2008 Memphis star Derrick Rose used a fraudulent test score to get into college in the first place.


But what about the program that made it to a Final Four with a player who, the NCAA later found out, had accepted more than $2,000 from his AAU coach while still in high school? That player also should have been ineligible. That school also should have vacated the Final Four.

But that player was Corey Maggette. And that team was Duke. The year was 1999.

So nothing happened. To anyone. To this day. Nothing has happened, and it never will.

My point? My point is that the NCAA, even with as much progress as it has made under Myles Brand, still uses selective justice when crashing down onto various schools or coaches. Then-Memphis coach John Calipari is on the NCAA’s hit list, and so the NCAA ostensibly holds him responsible for Marcus Camby’s dalliance with an agent in 1995, and for whatever Derrick Rose did while he was in high school hundreds of miles away in Chicago.

But Mike Krzyzewski is not on the NCAA’s hit list, so Maggette is fine, Duke is fine, 1999 is fine, the world is a happy place full of seashells and balloons.

Forgive me if I vomit up a conch.


Umass fan

August 20th, 2009
6:12 pm

What doesn’t make sense here is that Calipari is being roped into Camby’s misconduct. Camby met the agents, Camby took kickbacks and Camby brought the vacated F4 appearance himself. I don’t seem Calipari as heavily implicated…

FL Dawg

August 20th, 2009
6:42 pm

UK took a big risk with Coach Cal. Maybe he is innocent, maybe his guilty, I don’t know. I just would not have made the hire if I were UK. They could get just about any coach they wanted with the exception of Billy D., although I don’t know that they really wanted him to start with.


August 20th, 2009
7:03 pm

I am a resident of Florida so I can unbiased in this dicussion.If you worked on my newspaper I would call you in and fire you.You are supposed to report facts you haven’t an idea what that is you are spectulating as to what that is. Are you running out of things to write about or are you just trying to make things difficult. Try writing something with substance so you can keep your job.


August 20th, 2009
7:10 pm

Very interesting…

…an Atlanta prognosticator chiming in on the Memphis Mess invoking Kentuck’s “shame.” What great copy it would make to find Kentucky’s basketball program on the ropes once again.

However, I suspect after the past couple of years getting beat up by the likes of Garner-Webb, etc. Kentucky fans have earned the right to look toward an immediate future with optimistic pearly blues. I also suspect that the likes of the Journal-Constitution will play the cheater’s card as far and as long as it continues to sell copy to a starving college basketball fan base still longing for the “Tubby years.”

At the end of the day, I suspect that most of the fandom from the Big Blue Nation would rather trade the speculation of probation and loosing future wins for the humiliation it would endure loosing to second-rate programs.

Here’s hoping that the AJC and more specifically Jeff Schultz will find something interesting to write about in Georgia with regards to college hoops! Or maybe, better yet, they should try to stick to football.


August 20th, 2009
8:52 pm

Hey everyone they say Calipari does has not been caught yet do you think maybe that he may just be clean. Its innocent untill proven guilty I thought. maybe he really is not involved.

Ron Thies

August 21st, 2009
12:02 am

Calipari will bring your program down. Enjoy. You will be sorry that you hired this dupe.

john calipari | sodini video

August 21st, 2009
7:18 am

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Go Gators

August 21st, 2009
9:54 am

The U.S. News & World Report college ratings are out today, and Georgia schools retained their rankings from last year for the most part.

I think the rankings influence where students go to college. (I also think many students are influenced by the “Colleges that Change Lives” franchise.)

Many people dismiss college status as a factor, but there’s evidence that where you go to school impacts how much you earn.

PayScale Inc., which compiles compensation data, says the median starting salary for Ivy League graduates is about 30 percent higher than that of liberal-arts college graduates. However, the study doesn’t address whether that pay differential is the result of a better education, or simply because the Ivies attract higher-achieving students in the first place. (I would also ask whether the Ivies attract better connected kids; it’s easier to end up at Goldman Sachs if your mother worked there.)

In its 2009 report, PayScale says the median starting salary for a University of Georgia graduate was $43,900, compared to $60,00 for a Harvard grad, $58,900 for a Georgia Tech grad, and $50,600 for an Emory grad.

I am sorry to report that PayScale also lists degrees that pay you back and teaching and journalism offer some of the lowest returns. The big money is in the STEM fields; science, technology, engineering and math.


August 21st, 2009
11:32 am

in the story above it says he managed to get 2 final fours taken away, if HE did that then why hasnt HE been punished? its because he didnt have a thing to do with cambys issue or roses issue if he would have he would be just like kelvin sampson “banished”,i love how these storys are trying to smear the reputation of a guy whos never been caught doing anything wrong ever not one time,i wish that they would treat these people the same way when one of there children got caught for a DUI while he was supposed to be at a movie with friends, and put them in jail and fire them from there jobs when they had no clue there kid was doing something wrong,,, dont make much sense does it?


August 21st, 2009
11:50 am

Cincinatti Bowtie, you COULD have been the 1st punk!!! ;o)


August 21st, 2009
2:18 pm

Please explain why a kid{Rose} takes a test 3 times. Flunks it all 3 times then travels from Chicago to Detroit takes the test again and passes.Please that’s a big red flag for the school and coach,The coach and school wanted the kid to be eligible period no questions ask.The secondary violation the kids brother flys on a couple of flights and the coach knows nothing.Coach Cal is like Sgt Schultz ” i see NOTHING..”


August 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

I said this when UK first hired Cal. I like him, I’m glad Billy G is history, but I am concerned about the fact that rumors follow Cal wherever he goes. How long are people going to believe that he’s Mr. Clean? Two schools in a row? Come on!!! I bleed blue, but I want our program to be quality all the way.

Glen Wilson

August 21st, 2009
6:29 pm

No every coach should not be expected to attend but a flag should go up if the player takes the test in the hood of your hired talent scout.
Question, was Cal on the plane trips to away games? Would it be reasonable to question how the young man sitting next to the star player can afford these away trips? Must have a great job, off every away game and money to burn. Cal didn’t know, you bet.

Denver Dog

August 21st, 2009
7:53 pm

He is a changed man


August 21st, 2009
8:26 pm

Ye out there in the uniformed land…Cal was sitting 3 rows behind Derek’s brother on the private plane for numerous trips on their way to ball games. Was he so busy he did not notice. You watch Rose fail badly on 3 ACT tests in Chicago, and then somehow ends up in Detroit(250 miles away) a month before enrolling and he passes the SAT(much harder test) with flying colors…No,Cal knew nothing.

Shively Slim

August 21st, 2009
9:57 pm

UL fan here casting my vote as to waht the rename the battle of the Bluegrass………I like that ‘ strange vs change’ title.

Leslie in KY

August 21st, 2009
11:36 pm

This article (and SI cover) is ridiculous. Are you so intimidated by U.K. and Coach Cal that you need to bring up something over 20 years old ?? I almost feel sorry for those who need to jump on this bandwagon. Believe me, if the NCAA had anything on Coach Cal, he would’ve been punished. Until you’ve got a legitimate, proven violation on him, don’t embarrass yourself with this tripe. BTW the relative of Rose did not fly free for all the games. Coach is not a flight attendant. He’s a coach, a damn good one. GO BIG BLUE !


August 22nd, 2009
7:28 am

hitler killed 6 million jews in the death camps..but was clever /devious enough to never put down anything on paper..it’s called plausible deniability….my point here is that you can cheat etc…..without there being a paper trail that leads back to coach cal.any rational person looks at his “footprint” and sees trouble. hey big blue….enjoy losing all national respect!


August 22nd, 2009
11:01 am

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to

say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




August 22nd, 2009
2:08 pm

owen dorsey

August 22nd, 2009
5:00 pm

Innocent until proven guilty? Now guilty before anything happens? The schools spend a bundle on infrastructure to operate and oversee the athletic programs (i.e. the watchdogs) – where are THEY when the academic infractions occur? If the utility bill doesn’t get paid and they cut the lights off in the stadium or the arena, is the coach going to get blamed for that too? If it hits the fan in Lexington, then the NCAA Darth Vader will show them no mercy – and shouldn’t. In the meantime, the more Kentucky can stay on TV all season long and can make it happen in the post season, the greater the revenue share for every school in the SEC.


August 22nd, 2009
6:48 pm

As for Pitino compared to Calipari. Pitino has been on every sports page in America. The difference? Pitino is cheating on wife is not a NCAA vioation.


August 23rd, 2009
8:06 am

Hey Jeff you are spot on…. who thinks Cal would be here today if NCAA had stripped him of his FF before the hiring? No way, too big a risk for UK or any other top bb program, if that would have happen pre hiring.

Plus most UK fans think that Cal will be in the hall of fame someday…..they must be on crack….. who today is in the hall of fame with two ff vacated under their watch, No one…….


August 25th, 2009
11:21 am

Jeff, who cares what Mike Vick is drinking? Was he drunk? If so, that would be news. I thought this is a sports column. Write about news not nonsense.

Jon Reidel

August 30th, 2009
9:41 pm

Fact: Cal knew nothing of the scum bag agent talking to Camby nor that Rose had someone take the SAT. Anyone who has looked into either incident — national and local reporters included — know this to be true. He has done nothing wrong.


September 30th, 2009
10:48 am

A5I6NN I want to say – thank you for this!