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UK Prez - Why Cheat? DBR - Why Worry About Your Coaches Cheating?

Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. argues that that what Kentucky offers means no coach should have to cheat or even be in the gray zone. Obviously that's correct as far as it goes, but we notice that the president of the school which became famous for the $100.00 dollar handshake didn't mention alums. Yes, he referred to coaches, but given Kentucky's history, it's not a bad idea to cover the bases.

They asked Jay Bilas his opinion and he made this common-sense observation via e-mail:

"I may be old fashioned, but no program needs to cheat more than another (I consider bending the rules to be cheating, as well). Ethics are not and should not be situational, and it is not more understandable for a program with lesser resources to cheat relative to a program with greater resources.

"Ethically, there is no distinction between a rich person that robs a bank and a poor person that robs a bank. Just because the rich person doesn't need to do it misses the point. Whatever one thinks of the rules, the answer does not lie in their violation. It is wrong no matter who does it or for what reason."

Good enough. Given Jay's recent argument that the NCAA should get out of the enforcement business altogether, which is not a bad idea given their inconsistent track record, but once you eliminate that method of policing rogue programs, how do you replace it? Self-regulation? That's going to be problematic for places like Kentucky.

A few years ago, a Lexington woman was rear-ended by a Kentucky player. Her car was damaged through no fault of her own, and when she tried to use the courts to be made whole, she was nearly run out of town.

Similarly, when the Lexington newspaper had the temerity to investigate the program during the final days of the Eddie Sutton era, death threats ensued.

But it's not just a Kentucky problem. When IU was at the end with Bob Knight, professor Murray Sperber, a well-known critic of college athletics, received death threats of his own. When (false) allegations were raised against a UNLV player by a Tucson sportswriter, his life was also threatened.

Given the intense passions around sports in places like Lexington, Tucson, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Fresno, Norman, and others, the pressures on people to just drop it is always huge. And that's never any worse than it is at Kentucky.

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