When Leslie McDonald graduated from UNC last weekend, we learned that he was the first in his family to get a college degree. How cool is that?
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Yet what immediately occurred to us, which we didn't really want to say during graduation, was that, fair or unfair, people are going to wonder if he earned it.
It's not just him. It's Sean May, Tyler Hansbrough, Jackie Manuel, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green - everyone who was at UNC during the fake classes era and everyone since who also has to bear the fallout. People will always wonder or will blur memories and associate the innocent with the guilty.
As UNC taught us, it's not that hard to fake results. Which is why we're surprised that Mike DeCourcy takes Kentucky's recent APR scores at face value.
Look, we're sure some of Kentucky's players over the past few years were studious. But a perfect score? At Kentucky?
That's hard to believe, particularly when several players leave early every year. It's also hard to believe when you know that at least one former Kentucky athlete was barely eligible and was involved in a bit of a transcript scandal at the end of his senior year in high school.
We're not saying they didn't do the work, but after seeing what happened at UNC, we should all know that manipulating grades is not that big of a deal. Tutors writing papers, fake classes, compliant professors - there are a million ways to do it.
For that matter, we should remember that Derrick Rose's SAT scores were found to be suspect and Memphis' Final Four run was vacated.
Again, we can't sit here and say, look, we know John Calipari was behind it. But we can absolutely tell you that there are certain high schools where you can manipulate the SAT.
One of them was in Raleigh, and a prominent ACC player of the early years of the century was said to have gotten his score up after taking the test there.
We can promise, with no fear at all, that if we knew about it, most of the coaches in the country did too.
There are always ways to game the system, and new ways are being invented on a regular basis. With the APR now a requirement to play in the tournament, that's going to be gamed as well.