Friday, August 21, 2009

Reactions to Calipari from around the web

Before we get into the roundup, there a couple things I want to touch on. For starters, did you know that Derrick Rose "took" his qualifying SAT in Detroit? He's from Chicago, but he took it 283 miles away because his family was going to a Bulls-Pistons basketball game.

And William Wesley lives in Detroit. I'm just sayin'...

Another thing bothering me about this is that the reason that Rose's test was canceled wasn't actually because the Educational Testing Service had determined someone else had taken it for him, it was due to a "failure to cooperate". He didn't respond to letters the ETS sent him.

To his home in Chicago.

During March and April of 2008.

When he was in school at Memphis, and playing in the NCAA Tournament.

It really makes me question the capabilities of the ETS that they cannot figure out the best place to reach a college student during the school year (especially one that plays basketball on TV; all they had to do was put on ESPN or CBS to find him) is at school.

The only people I really feel bad for here is the university of Memphis itself. They really didn't do much wrong. While I understand, and partially agree with, the argument that the school should have figured out Roses's SAT's weren't legit, the fact of the matter is that the NCAA cleared Rose. The same organization that vacated the Memphis wins previously told the school Rose was eligible.

In big time college basketball, to win you are going to inevitably have to recruit some kids with question marks - be it behavioral issues, academic issues, or amateurism issues. Schools accept the students and then wait to hear about their eligibility from the NCAA. When the NCAA clears them, the school should be in the clear.

For Memphis, Rose was retroactively deemed ineligible (in May) by the NCAA, meaning the Tigers used an ineligible player all season.

Tough luck? Another example of how inept the NCAA is when it comes to issues such as this? Memphis's own fault for not doing their due diligence?

All of the above? Yes.

Follow the jump for reactions from around the web.

Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News: It's interesting, though, that the infractions committee probed no deeper into the question of whether Rose had, in fact, taken that test. The most essential question of this entire controversy was decided when the Educational Testing Service cancelled Rose's test score in May 2008. And why did that happen? Because the ETS sent letters to Rose's home in Chicago a couple months earlier—when Rose was attending school in Memphis and on the road playing the NCAA Tournament—and he did not respond to them. The cancellation of the test was "based on failure to cooperate," Dee acknowledged. So an action this profound, this lasting, was undertaken at least partly because Rose didn't get his mail. Isn't anyone else bothered by this? Shouldn't history be rewritten by someone smart enough to recognize that a student at the University of Memphis might be spending most of his time in Memphis?

Seth Davis of SI: I do have sympathy with regards to their position on the SAT. Rose got notices in March and April that there might be something wrong with his score -- are they going to, in the middle of the NCAA tournament, declare Derrick Rose ineligible to investigate this claim? Then, his test score doesn't get invalidated until a month after the tournament is over, so he's retroactively ineligible. What are you supposed to do? The eligibility center declares he's eligible and then they don't declare test invalid until after the tournament is over. I think that's why they didn't whack Memphis harder, not because Calipari's not there anymore. If you recall, the NCAA kept Kelvin Sampson off the road at Indiana after he committed violations at his previous job -- it's not like they don't have the option, they just chose not to penalize the coach moving forward.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports: My guess is that you think Ohio State was dirty under Jim O'Brien, UNLV was dirty under Jerry Tarkanian, Oklahoma was dirty under Kelvin Sampson and Georgia was dirty under Jim Harrick, but that you don't think of Ohio State, UNLV, Oklahoma and Georgia as independently dirty. Why? Because society doesn't attach filth to programs as much as it does coaches, that's why. And that's the hard reality Kentucky will battle going forward -- that whatever it accomplishes under Calipari will be met with a roll of the eyes by pretty much everybody outside of the Commonwealth. It doesn't matter whether that's fair or right or whatever.

Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal: And, yes, I know, Calipari won’t be implicated in the report. That’s part of the genius of the man. Calipari wasn’t implicated when UMass lost its Final Four appearance. He wasn’t implicated when the NCAA alleged that Derrick Rose didn’t take his SAT. He wasn’t implicated when the NCAA alleged that Reggie Rose, Derrick’s brother, made impermissible trips on the team plane, either. Maybe Calipari should think about ditching “Refuse to Lose” for a whole new slogan. Like: “Never implicated!” Or: “Not personally named!” It takes a village to take the fall for Calipari, doesn’t it? Or at least a university.

Mark Kriegal of FOXSports: So should I expunge the memory as well, to pretend that Mario Chalmers' three-pointer, the famous shot that sent the game into an extra period, never happened? And what of the fans from, say, UCLA, who traveled to Texas to get beat by a player who, it now turns out, shouldn't have been playing? Derrick Rose had 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists while holding the Bruins' Darren Collison to 1-of-9 shooting. I'm sure Bruins fans would love to forget that. Maybe it would help ease their pain if the NCAA reimbursed them for the price of their tickets to the vacated games. Actually, it's easier to pretend these games never happened than it is to imagine the NCAA parting with a cent.

Eamonn Brennan of The Dagger: If you're a coach, as long as you're careful enough, there's literally no reason not to cheat. If you're a player, and you're good enough to leave for the NBA in a year, there's literally no reason not to cheat. See where we're going with this? This investigation was basically a gigantic waste of time, energy, and authority. I hope the NCAA at least recycles its paper.

Luke Winn of SI: When Pitino was allowed to keep his job last week -- despite a morality clause in his contract that seemingly would have allowed Louisville to fire him without a buyout -- it wasn't a great day for the public image of college basketball. A message went out to present and future coaches: If you build up enough capital by winning games, your employer will be willing to overlook even the sleaziest of personal scandals. As the NCAA prepares to erase another Calipari milestone, another message is being sent: You can have not one, but two Final Fours vacated for using ineligible players, and still become the highest-paid coach in the game, at the most storied basketball school in the land. Knowing that, what incentive is left to stay clean?

rtmsf of Rush the Court: Speaking of Coach Cal (and UK fans will remind us that correlation isn’t causation), he now becomes the first head coach in the history of college basketball to have had NCAA-mandated removals of Final Four appearances at different schools. You should recall that Calipari’s only other F4 appearance in 1996 was later vacated because of Marcus Camby's prodigious affinity for cashmoney and bling. This latest Derrick Rose situation makes Calipari programs two-for-two, and, interestingly, the Memphis Tiger program two-for-three on removed Final Four appearances. Keep polishing that 1973 runner-up trophy, Tigers, it’ll be a while until the next one.

Strait Pinkie: "It is my hope that they played for Calipari, not because of money or fake SAT scores, but because of his style of play and his track record of getting players to the next level. At the University of Kentucky those two traits alone should be enough to get players to dress in blue and white. I also hope that these two traits are the reason that UK decided to hire Calipari."

Hick Flick from Rumors and Rants: There have been plenty of Final Four teams who have since had the infamous eraser taken to their Final Four apperances, with the Fab Five teams of Michigan being the most notable examples. But never has an NCAA champion seen their title stripped. Which begs a question — if Memphis had won, would the NCAA taken a different course of punishment to avoid that scenario? I think we can all venture to guess the answer to that question. But thanks to Mario Chalmers, we’ll never know. And for that the rules police in Indy should be permanently grateful.

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