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

Saint Simons

August 20th, 2009
10:50 am

45-42!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Cincinatti Bowtie

August 20th, 2009
10:52 am

Cincinatti Bowtie

August 20th, 2009
10:52 am

just missed it!!!

Big A

August 20th, 2009
11:04 am

Jeff, I suppose that every coach should be at every sat test so that he makes sure that there nothing illegal going on, and also managing thier bank accounts. WHATEVER…

CrimsonRedScarlett

August 20th, 2009
11:05 am

A question for Jeff.
Will Memphis also have to return the money received for tournament play?

Art Vandelay

August 20th, 2009
11:05 am

Memphis State doesn’t exist anymore. They’ve been the University of Memphis since 1994. You’re totally right about Calipari, though — Kentucky’s “win at all costs” approach will, indeed, come with significant costs. Maybe not while Cal is pacing their sideline, but within a few years of his departure, the Mildcats will be on probation yet again. Hope it’s worth it!

DawginLex

August 20th, 2009
11:06 am

Up here in Cat land, the masses are anticipating articles like this one. Granted it is hard to believe, but the NCAA did interview Coach Cal and found nothing wrong and have not implicated him in any way. Take that for what it is worth.

It is amazing to me how lucky Rick Pitino is to have all of this attention directed to his neighbor 70 miles to the east while no one is slamming him for having sex on a restaurant table with someone other than his wife, getting her pregnant, paying for an abortion and having his equipment manager stand watch.

FWIW

Art Vandelay

August 20th, 2009
11:15 am

DawginLex, of course the NCAA didn’t implicate Calipari — he did a very good job of keeping his fingerprints off the scandals, just like he did at UMass. That doesn’t change the fact that he was in charge of the programs that were sanctioned. And as for Pitino, how do you figure he’s escaped scrutiny? Everyone knows the story of what he did, and to my knowledge, not a lot of people are rushing to defend his actions. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that. UK should be happy that Louisville has a scandal that’s equal to or bigger than their own, but it doesn’t erase the fact that Calipari has left yet another program decimated by cheating scandals that occurred on his watch. The stakes are a lot higher at UK than they are at Memphis or UMass, however — don’t think that the NCAA isn’t watching very closely.

Michael

August 20th, 2009
11:34 am

This is kinda like Bob Nardelli running Home Depot into the ground and then getting another CEO job with Chrysler. Why the heckfire Kentucky couldn’t find a non-tainted coach is beyond me — and I’m a Georgia fan. Kentucky can pretty much have its pick of coaches, and it went with one who is tainted just like Jim Harrick was. I just hope the UK players know how many points a 3-pointer is worth.

Jason

August 20th, 2009
11:34 am

easy….personal problem vs. professional problem. pitino can bang every girl on campus, still a problem between him and his wife. cheating other teams, players, organizations, etc while the ncaa, the governing and all-powerful entity charged with keeping it from happening, looks the other way. oh, i know…maybe we should get congress to look into it after they clean up baseball.

Jason

August 20th, 2009
11:36 am

gee, i wonder who exactly DOES have more credibility….congress or the ncaa….both duplicitous liars, cheats, and pocket stuffers….i dunno, im torn

kentucky's SHAME

August 20th, 2009
11:41 am

Some things never change in the bluegrass. They love basketball and don’t mind paying for the best players. Maybe they’ll get SMU’d.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 20th, 2009
11:43 am

How much do souls go for in Lexington, anyway?

Probably about the same as they do in any other major college sports town. The “student athlete” charade should have been dropped a long time ago. Go ahead and pay the players, admit it’s a business and the purpose is to make as much money as possible for the school.

Everybody seems to be getting well off the situation except the players.

kentucky's SHAME

August 20th, 2009
11:43 am

Also, thanks Jeff for pulling out an SI cover they’ll be able to reuse shortly.

Howard

August 20th, 2009
12:00 pm

Jeff…with Calipari at Kentucky and Pitino at Louisville, you have a great source of material…maybe even more potential stuff than Phil Fulmer ever gave you. Oh, Jeff, have you commented on “The Great Pumpkin” and his prediction he’s destined to coach somewhere soon?? And since Ralph Friedgen has dropped over 100 pounds, doesn’t that elevate Fulmer to #2 behind Mark Mangino as the largest human beings roaming the sidelines??

Michael Adams

August 20th, 2009
12:05 pm

This stuff just shows you how unethical some of my fellow university presidents can be. Nobody at my school cheats unless I tell them to.

[...] Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "John Calipari has coached two different schools to Final Fours in his career — [...]

Carl Gibson

August 20th, 2009
12:15 pm

I know as a Georgia fan, the writer of this article has his fingers crossed that Coach Cal will make another mistake to justify the beatdowns the sorry UGA bulldogs will get (home and away) once conference play starts. Despite no recording wrongdoings (as of right now) at UK, Jeff Schultz wants to insinuate to his readers in Georgia that UK’s likely domination of the 2009-2010 season will not be the result of skill, effort, and talent, but of cheating and low-down means.

This kind of libel is the same kind that hate speech professionals Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh spew on national airwaves daily. Schultz is already accusing Coach Cal of dubious practices before the season has begun, just as Beck has accused President Obama of Nazism before Obama’s plans have even gone into action. Schultz has already cowered behind the defense of Cal covering up his tracks using his assistants as media shields if UK does incur NCAA infractions. No matter what may or may not happen, it’s Cal’s fault, no matter what anyone says, right Jeff?

This article is a proper example of poor sportsmanship and yellow journalism. If Cal is found guilty of infractions, I will, even as a Kentucky native and UK fan, join the masses in calling for his resignation and revoking of wins and tournament appearances. Until then, can the libelous accusations and let’s act like proper sports fans.

PMC

August 20th, 2009
12:15 pm

If they could manage to get Jackie Sherrill in football…. now that would be delicious.

Aaron

August 20th, 2009
12:21 pm

These guys are basketball coaches not saints. Didn’t Bobby Knight choke a kid? Anyway, if someone’s looking for a role model for their kid they’ll find it in the mirror before they find it in a sports figure.

PMC

August 20th, 2009
12:21 pm

The only way to stop these kinds of things is to stick the coach with the sanctions AS WELL AS THE SCHOOL. For whatever sport it is basketball football etc.

The coaches should also have probation and or sanctions and stiff fines. Sanctions should follow the coach that left to the new school he’s hired by… if Kentucky had known that they would be taking on infractions by hiring Cal… he’d never have been hired. This way coaches who cheat or are involved with a school with academic issues would also be punished, as it is now… the cheating at Memphis got Cal hired at Kentucky….and that’s a huge status jump.

The NCAA should step in and start giving coaches the same sanctions that schools get…that would clean it up.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
12:22 pm

What does “FWIW” mean? “F… Women in Wendy’s”? Also, I know that Bradley is very proud of his home state during all of this.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
12:25 pm

Since when did JS become a Dawg fan?

Joey

August 20th, 2009
12:36 pm

Boy is Carl Gibson is some kind of an idiot? Shultz is no UGA fan. And don’t you think in this lawsuit-crazy day and time, if Rush Limbaugh libeled someone, anyone, he would be hounded by lawyers. He tells the truth, Carl Gibson, you just don’t want to hear the truth.

Joey

August 20th, 2009
12:47 pm

So sorry, AJC, didn’t know “idiot” is a bad word. Or was it that I defended Rush Limbaugh? Let’s try again, Carl Gibson is silly. Shultz is not a UGA fan. Also R L woud get his pants sued off if he libeled anybody and it’s never happened. He tells the truth and Carl Gibson (and AJC?) doesn’t care to hear the truth.

Stuck in Kentucky

August 20th, 2009
12:50 pm

Ya’ll look up how many schools have had to give up their NCAA appearances. The list will surprise you. If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’. Remember the bandit edition Trans Am Hershel drove around campus???

Jeff Schultz

August 20th, 2009
1:00 pm

BigA – No, every coach shouldn’t be at every SAT. But every coach knows the academic abilities of his recruits and the ones who are on the border do/should be monitored more closely – because the program is ultimately responsible.

Crimson Red—Pretty sure the answer to that is a no. Also goes for all of the sponsorship money brought into the school/program during Calipari’s tenure.

Hillbilly Deluxe – Good point. I guess there’s just varying degrees.

Kentucky’s Shame – Yeah, SI can make a mint on souvenir reprints.

Carl – You really had me going there until I read in the third paragraph that you were a Kentucky fan.

Jeff Schultz

August 20th, 2009
1:02 pm

Howard – Really, what do we call the Kentucky-Louisville game. Soliciting Names Now!

Chris

August 20th, 2009
1:03 pm

Georgia self-reported eight NCAA secondary violations – four involving the football program

In November the NCAA put Georgia Tech on probation for two years and stripped the institution of several scholarships after discovering that academic officials had inadvertently allowed 17 ineligible athletes to compete over a six-year period.

A University of Georgia alumnus admitted in published reports that that he violated NCAA recruiting regulations by arranging for Tyrone Sorrells.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has placed the University of Georgia on probation for four years for violations of NCAA bylaws regarding recruiting inducements, unethical conduct, academic fraud and extra benefits in the men’s basketball program.

… and so on

Get a life Jeff!

Stuck in Kentucky

August 20th, 2009
1:05 pm

On top of that this is the 2nd final four that has been taken away from Memphis along with Tourney appearances from 82-86. 9 schools have had final fours taken away.

Lance

August 20th, 2009
1:28 pm

I do not understand why everyone makes a big deal about coaches getting caught or in most cases not caught doing illegal things. And when I say illegal i mean illegal according to the NCAA, but we all know it happens so why is Coach Cal such a bad guy. I would say that almost every half way big school in this country violates and gets away with things that the NCAA would not appreciate. Not saying its right to pay recruits cash or things of that nature but we all know it happens all the time at alot of universities. Now whether or not someone took derrick roses’ SAT for him I dont know, I never took the SAT but from what I hear all you have to do is put your name on it and you get so many points. Not to mention you have to present a picture I.D so that they know its you taking the test.

KY_Wildcat_AL

August 20th, 2009
1:29 pm

IMHO, The NCAA can make the rules say what they want to, when they want to… the NCAA clearinghouse gave Rose a “thumbs up”. That is what coaches and schools look for. In this case, if the same NCAA provided Memphis and Calipari the OK with Rose… how can they come back later and say differently? Why is not Rose, the substitute test taker and even the NCAA held responsible instead of Memphis and Calipari. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and put the blame where it belongs.

TROTTINGHOMETUDD

August 20th, 2009
1:31 pm

you can’t say “crime doesn’t pay…”.

Got to love our institutions of higher learning.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
1:35 pm

Call UL v UK the “Cheaters Theatre”, one cheats his wife, the other cheats the NCAA.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
1:42 pm

or “Snatch Match” One snatches the money while the other…..; well, you know.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
1:49 pm

or “(I Want) Some Strange vs. (I Want) Some Change($)”

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

Jeeze, doesn’t anyone else have any ideas? This is too easy!

KM

August 20th, 2009
1:55 pm

The fastest response in any NCAA investigation ever on record. It must have been so overwhelming? Drag on the USC football, Kansas basketball, and the ‘99 Duke investigation. None of those show overwhelming evidence. Its simply Memphis and their admissions standards. The NCAA had no role in this? Okay….

Jeff, you’re right, if Calipari is around, expect it to happen again. Like Harrick, like Sampson, like Sherrill…..plenty to choose from.
I guess you’re only able to hide so much. Amazing that you get paid for just reading what other media is reporting?
Work a little harder Jeff; your readers deserve a better effort!

Donnan was just on ATL radio talking about how players their tickets to keep $$ in their pocket, right or wrong, and the seniors just pass down the process. Sounds like a clean process to me, just don’t call the NCAA for advice.

Brian Halloran

August 20th, 2009
2:02 pm

I get the “hater” mentality, it comes with being totally freaking awesome (see eg: Calipari, John and Kentucky, University of:) but if the NCAA had any shred of evidence that Cal or any of his coaches had ANYTHING to do with Camby’s f-ups at UMASS, it would have hit him hard. Truth is that Cal had nothing to do with that and neither Shultz (”I SEE NOTHING!”) nor anyone else has anything more than innuendo and hearsay that anything else exists.

It’s the same with this Memphis situation. The NCAA looked at this SAT exam, very closely too, and cleared Rose for competition. Then, a year later, long after Rose is gone, they say “Sorry, we f-ed up…we need to look at that again.” Not a single shred of evidence exists that Cal was in any way responsible for, or took part in, any kind of fraudulet activity. Yet here sit the haters, sure of the sweet gumdrops of salaciousness floating around in their minds, and out here spewing it in the guise of “journalism”. I have one thing to say about that….come with proof or shut your mouth. The FACTS are that Calipari has been neither a target of an investigation by the NCAA, nor has he been found to have committed any wrongdoing at ANY school he’s coached, muchless at UK.

So, hate on ladies….we UK fans will be laughing all the way to the next 7 blue banners hanging in Rupp saying “National Champions”. It’s gonna suck to be you.

And Jeff S., it’s Memphis. Not Memphis State. Memphis State doesn’t exist anymore. If you were actually a journalist, instead of a just a plain old hater, you would have caught that. Go Cats!

[...] Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "John Calipari has coached two different schools to Final Fours in his career — [...]

Carl Gibson

August 20th, 2009
2:11 pm

I was going to seriously respond to Joey until he told me that RL tells the truth. The disease of unwarranted fearmongering and hate speech is spreading, it seems.

And Jeff, being a Kentucky native and born in Lexington, I can readily agree that Kentucky takes its basketball WAY too seriously. But its still no cause for false accusations of corruption without evidence. Also, my apologies for assuming you were a ‘Dawgs fan. But there are so many of them, just as there are RL devotees.

James

August 20th, 2009
2:14 pm

cal is a snake oil salesman and kentucky has bought over 32mil worth of that venom. just wait and see, he will cited because he probably knows a lot more than we think. he will not make it to the sweet 16 this year.

Too Easy

August 20th, 2009
2:16 pm

Ed-Covington: you’ll be hearing from my lawyer over your unauthorized use of my name.

Old Dawg

August 20th, 2009
2:25 pm

Carl Gibson: You obviously don’t read Jeff’s columns very often … he’s anything but a Dawg fan. Believe it or not, I appreciate his talents and ability to develop hard-hitting copy on timely subjects. And I enjoy his snarky attitude. It’s not too difficult to follow the career of anyone and see trends in their work and performance. Regardless of whether it’s Charlie Pell and Jackie Sherrill in football or others who cross lines when running college programs, they always leave a similar trail. Like Alabama and its addiction to football, Kentucky will do just about anything to remain on top of the college basketball world — consequences be damned!

Stuck in Kentucky

August 20th, 2009
2:26 pm

At least Coach Cal hasn’t gotten a restaraunt sued over someone choking on italian suasage, Ed-Covington that is too much! LOL

DawginLex

August 20th, 2009
2:28 pm

Boys and girls, the only thing in Cal’s court in his favor(and in a BIG way) is a lady by the name of Sandy Bell. she is UK’s Compliance Director and she is a good one. And yes, she was hired after Eddie sutton was there.

Nothing gets by her.

She was the one that forced UK to self report the 200 minor violations for free food for athletes at a local restaurant. She was eating in the restaurant and one of the wait staff commented “UK athletes sure do tip well”. The rest is history.

She may well keep Calapari employed and out of trouble.

Steve Brown

August 20th, 2009
2:40 pm

As a UMass grad and self proclaimed precursor to Dr. J on the cement courts of Long Island, Calipari and Pitino have both been embarrassments to the Redmen (now Minutemen), and I believe will continue to be.

Joey

August 20th, 2009
2:40 pm

You’re the one who opened this door, Carl. The article was about Kentucky’s Calipari. You threw UGA and somehow, Rush into it. But since you did…. I’m not a devotee, just a listener. I think for mayself. Obviously you’ve never listened to a show of his. I’ve heard numerous shows since 1991 and have never heard hatespeech or fearmongering. If you want hatespeech, go to the other side of the political spectrum and log on to dailykos.com.

Ed-Covington

August 20th, 2009
2:46 pm

AJC just posted an article about GT playing 3 basketball games in Canada. I’m a GT man, but isn’t this just handing dawg fans more fodder for their blogs? I can hear it now: “Oh, Canada…..”

Warren Peace

August 20th, 2009
3:00 pm

I thought I was on a basketball blog and I wound up in the political blogs again. AJC can’t you fix the way we are directed when we hit an article. Sheesh hire some computer technoweinies.