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Bad Day For Memphis, Calipari, And Kentucky

It's pretty funny to look at ESPN's headlines and see four Kentucky-related headlines, none of them offering much good news.

First up is the revelation that the NCAA has accused Memphis of major violations under John Calipari, including a player who may have cheated on his SATs. The player is unnamed, but since he only played one year at Memphis, that should narrow things down a bit. Eamonn Brennan of Yahoo says that it is Derrick Rose.

The other charge is that Memphis gave $2,260 in travel aid to "an associate of a player." Wouldn't it be interesting if that turned out to be William "World Wide Wes" Wesley?

So basically, the question the NCAA wants to answer is this: did Memphis knowingly fake Derrick Rose's SATs, and if so, who did it? Some enterprising reporter might like to find out if that person now works for Calipari at Kentucky.

Calipari has been asked to attend the hearing and presumably will be asked a number of interesting questions. Memphis faces the prospect of having its 38-win, national runner-up season wiped from the books. Kentucky faces the additional scrutiny that Calipari brings wherever he is hired. The scores of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe may now come under suspicion as well since both players just barely made it.

That gets followed up with the news that Billie Gillispie is suing UK for the full six million he believes he is owed.

Third is the news that John Wall pleaded guilty to the breaking and entering charge in Raleigh, which we've said all along is a minor issue. It still is, but when you stack the bricks up they still make a wall.

Fourth is a slightly older story about Calipari trimming the Kentucky roster to make room for his recruiting class. Is this right? To us, no. If someone leaves entirely on his own, then fine. But if they were encouraged to leave or told their futures were nothing if they stayed, then of course it's not right.

What's clear now is what we said recently: the reform era at Kentucky is over. They are prepared to do whatever is necessary to win games, including hiring a coach with a questionable past, running non-productive players off in droves (they still have yet to get down to the scholarship limit), and firing coaches who are owed millions of dollars.

The bright, shiny feelings of recent days are at the least clouded. If Memphis gets hammered, if it turns out that SAT scores were faked with the knowledge and at least assent of the coaching staff, things at Kentucky could get very messy.

In other words, it's back to the ends justify the means for Wildcat basketball: if you look at the date on the document the NCAA sent, it went out on January 16th. Obviously Calipari knew about it (and one would presume it played a large role in his decision to leave town) and it's hard to imagine that Kentucky didn't.

So not only did Calipari leave Memphis, knowing full well that NCAA issues were on the horizon, he also took most of his significant Memphis recruits with him. If Kentucky didn't know about it, AD Mitch Barnhardt should be fired. If he did know about and hired Calipari anyway - well, as we said, it's back to business as usual. How to sum up one of the worst days an AD has had lately? How about...Sued and Screwed?

Update - according to Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky said, when they hired Calipari, that the NCAA had given him the "all-clear."

For what it's worth, Calipari's UMass Final Four has already been vacated, and his trip at Memphis is at definite risk.

Somewhere in Minnesota, Tubby Smith is laughing his ass off.

ESPN Links - a good day's work for UK

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