Thursday, August 20, 2009

Memphis to forfeit victories from the '07-'08 season

According to a report from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Memphis Tigers will receive a ruling today which will vacate their wins from the 2007-2008 season in which they came a few missed free throws from a national title. Along with the Final Four, Memphis will also lose their record 38 win season and 16 of their 61 game Conference USA win streak.

Back in the spring, news came out that a player on that team (eventually confirmed as Derrick Rose) had used a stand-in in order to gain a qualifying score on the SAT's. It was also alleged that an associate of that player (Derrick's brother Reggie) owed in excess of $2,000 for travel expenses from flying on the team charter.

It is the second time for both Memphis and John Calipari that a Final Four will be expunged from the record books. In 1985, Dana Kirk's squad had their Final Four erased, while Coach Cal's 1996 Final Four run was vacated after it came out that Marcus Camby was getting money from an agent.

Overall, this is the 9th Final Four run that has been vacated, although luckily none won the national title:

- Ohio St. (1999) – Jim O’Brien
- Minnesota (1997) – Clem Haskins
- UMass (1996) – John Calipari
- Michigan (1992 & 1993) – Steve Fisher
- Memphis (1985) – Dana Kirk
- UCLA (1980) – Larry Brown
- Villanova (1971) – Jack Kraft
- St. Joseph’s (1961) – Jack Ramsay

Before I give you my thoughts, here are the reactions of a couple Memphis players:

Antonio Anderson (via FOXSports):

Honestly, I don't care. We know what we did. We didn't do anything wrong, but it is what it is.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (via Twitter, what else):
They took our Final 4 but they can't take the memories. Can't take away that lefty d..nah I'm playing. K Love is my guy!
My first reaction?

What does this mean for Coach Cal's legacy? Because in the grand scheme of things, all vacating wins does is remove a banner from the rafters. Memphis fans will still have the memories of that season. Highlights like CDR's dunk will remain on youtube. The players won't be losing the memories of that experience. And it isn't like Marcus Camby hasn't had a successful NBA career.

The only thing that will be hurt here is Cal's reputation. Is he still a hall of famer?

I'm not so sure. I know the argument - he wasn't named in either report. Well, as Kentucky fans should know, Eddie Sutton wasn't named in the report that cost him the head job at UK either. Sutton is one of seven college coaches with 800 wins and has reached three Final Fours, but he isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Neither is Jerry Tarkanian. Tark won a national title and reached another Final Four while putting together one of the best teams in college basketball history.

Why aren't they enshrined in Springfield?


Which is now what Cal's name is going to be associated with.

Cal will go down in history as one of the greatest of all-time. (I don't know if there is a better recruiter, motivater, or X's-and-O's coach in this era.) But guys like Pete Rose, Mark McGwire, and Eddie Sutton are/were also considered one of the best of all-time.

Where are they now?


Kyle said...

Add Coach K's name to that list... assuming the ncaa dares come after dook for paying maggette

Rob Dauster said...

And I've also heard a lot about the Dukies paying Boozer's mom while he was in school.