Thursday, August 27, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
NCAA wipes away Tigers’ great season
The basketball world will probably little note nor long remember what is, and has been, said in articles like this since the news leaped across all the media last week about the University of Memphis’ men’s basketball program. Its most spectacular season was wiped away in one fell swoop by the NCAA. The record setting 2007-08 season had set the collegiate sport of basketball ablaze.
One didn’t have to be a dyed in the wool fan to develop an unending admiration for their skyrocketing accomplishments. Each week of the regular schedule, they brought a greater base of excitement and expectations. They had the “horses,” so to speak. The era was ushered in with the advent of their prolific coach, John Calipari. A very likeable mentor, endowed with an engrossing persona. John C. was right at home in the TV spotlight. Now there are those in the Memphis community who feel that any indiscretions in the Tigers’ program should be laid at the door of the former coach.
The A.D. at Memphis (R.C. Johnson) has also come under scrutiny as having given Big John a free rein in leading the Tigers’ program. There are myriad reasons why this writer wouldn’t agree with such insinuations. Did the A.D. err in giving his new coach a certain latitude in building a program which was to gain national attention and respect? The truth of the matter is that the NCAA held Coach Calipari completely blameless in any and all of its allegations. It was not privy to all of the reports that Calipari cooperated fully in all areas of the NCAA committee’s investigation.
The inquiry targeted one player on the Tigers’ history-making team: Derek Rose. It would appear that Rose had failed his SAT twice in Illinois. There was a successful score recorded in Michigan, but the ETS said that the test hadn’t been taken by Rose. The NCAA had delved into these examinations and cleared Rose, granting him eligibility on not one but two occasions to play at the collegiate level. Rose was ruled illegal after the Tigers’ outstanding season was over!
We are not privy to all of the NCAA’s finding. But is it just to strip away a school’s best effort ever? Is there any credible, concrete evidence available that would be important enough for the indictment of an entire program?
The university is appealing the “death sentence.” And that would be completely appropriate in this instance. Research for this article was not extensive or exhaustive, but it turned up no successful appeal. Shouldn’t the NCAA be required to publish irrefutable evidence of complicity in this matter which resulted in irrevocable consequences?
Be completely honest. How do you really feel about the NCAA’s decision?
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