Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eric Bledsoe to sue, and a recap with plenty of links from the weekend

The latest news coming out in the Eric Bledsoe saga is that the former Kentucky Wildcat is considering suing whoever leaked his transcripts to the New York Times and ESPN.

High school transcripts are supposed to be confidential, which means that the person that provided the Times, ESPN, and whoever else had Bledsoe's transcripts committed a pretty serious violation of his trust. He's got a right to be ticked. The way I see it, the source of the transcripts must have been one of three places: the NCAA, Bledsoe's senior year high school, or any of the schools that he had sent his transcripts too. Early speculation is that Richard Pitino, the son of Rick Pitino who is on the staff at Florida (a school Bledsoe considered pretty heavily), is the leak. We'll see how that plays out.

If Bledsoe truly is considering a lawsuit, then that likely means he doesn't believe that a violation was committed. Lets say that something did happen, and that Bledsoe really did receive rent from his high school coach and had his grades changed to get him eligible. Wouldn't all of that come out during the trial? Would he really want a bunch of lawyers poking through his past, when questions will be asked of people under oath?

The biggest issue right now is that Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans did not actually provide any evidence that Bledsoe received any benefits. Sure, it is very easy to believe that when a kid's GPA jumps from 1.9 to 2.5 in a year that something illegal happened, but it is also possible that Bledsoe actually put in the work in the classroom. There's a lot of smoke, but no smoking gun.

Anyway, here are some links from over the weekend to get you caught up on the situation:

- On Friday night, both the Times and ESPN, who some believed were in a race to break this story, published articles questioning Bledsoe's eligibility.

- Kentucky released a statement saying that Bledsoe had ben cleared by the NCAA, but on Saturday, Dana O'Neil explained that even if Bledsoe was cleared, the Wildcats could still face penalties. Wins could be forfeited and the season could possibly be vacated. The NCAA set that precedent with Derrick Rose two years ago. The burden is on the school if they admit a player with a questionable past. Its why both USC and UCLA backed off of Renardo Sidney. Its why Lance Stephenson had so much trouble finding a school to play at. Kentucky took a risk with Bledsoe, and it may end up backfiring.

- Kentucky also released a statement saying that they had not been informed by the NCAA about a possible investigation, but the Birmingham News reported that NCAA investigators were in Birgmingham in February interviewing people close to Bledsoe.

- John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader went in pretty hard on Calipari on Saturday, asking the question many of us asked: how many times can he say "I didn't know what was going on." He backed off of that stance a bit on Monday once more facts came out.

- Eric Crawford of the Louisville penned an interesting column on Calipari on his blog. Rick Bozich called Calipari "Teflon John".

- Kentucky Sports Radio absolutely rips ESPN's Pat Forde (and takes a swing or two at CBS's Mike Freeman) for their criticism of Calipari. I really don't have a dog in this fight. My honest opinion: I think that everyone in college basketball cheats, and that Coach Cal is the best at doing it and keeping his nose clean. I don't really care whether or not he ever gets linked to one of these scandals. But I also doubt I'm the only one that would be enjoy watching all the apologist Kentucky fans eat their words if Cal costs Kentucky a season and bolts for the NBA.

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