SEC Commissioner Slive Questions Wall’s Eligibility

Posted by jstevrtc on October 22nd, 2009

There aren’t many things these days that could spoil the tidal wave of hope and anticipation that has consumed the entire state of Kentucky and Wildcat supporters the world over.  But this is definitely one of them. is reporting that issues have been raised regarding the recruitment and signing of presumptive freshman superstar John Wall.  Evidently, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has confirmed to ESPN that the eligibility questions are centered around Wall’s having played AAU ball for coach Brian Clifton, who was once a certified agent.  By NCAA rule, playing for an agent implies that you accepted illegal benefits from them.  It is being investigated how much — if anything at all — Wall would be responsible for.  Things are a little vague at this point, but Wall’s eligibility for any or all games would be affected by the amount of benefits he is deemed to have accepted, which he would have to repay.  It should be noted that Mr. Clifton claims that, though he admits he was at one time a licensed and certified agent, he forfeited his agent’s license in August of 2008 to commit all of his energies to his AAU teams. 

In the early going, there are two questions at the forefront of this:  first, if you play for someone, is it to be assumed that you accepted illegal benefits from them?  Second, if you technically have an agent’s license but aren’t acting as an agent, are your players violating NCAA rules?  Given the NCAA’s, er, interesting way of interpreting the rules, it will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, this goes.

More on this as events unfold.

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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4 responses to “SEC Commissioner Slive Questions Wall’s Eligibility”

  1. jtruman37 says:

    I’m going to try really hard to withhold judgement of this story until more details come out. & i have nothing against Wall. He deserves a chance to play college ball. Cal is a buffoon & I would love to see him louse up the Kentucky job. The situation just looks bad. It’s exactly the sort of headline UK fans did not want to see. @ least not before they won a title. Hiring Cal was the right thing to do. UK is a cornerstone of the college basketball world. Cal is a coach that will get players & win games. He has a system that has been successful. It seems like a matter of time before he up & wins his first title.

    But he is a total slimeball. His track record is spotty. We all know about the two vacated Final Four runs. We know how he left the Memphis program in shambles. I’d like to know when the Camby story broke. I don’t remember & I’m not about to research it (Sunny in Philly in 15 minutes), but is it possible that Cal bolted for the NBA (& tons of money) bc he knew the Camby story would break? It’s possible the Camby story was years later, I can’t recall. We know he slipped out of Memphis just before the Rose story broke. He did leave for a better job & a truckload of money. So he can’t be blamed for leaving Memphis. But they did get crushed, by the NCAA, weeks after Cal left.

    So I want to be slow to indict Calipari & not bc he deserves it. I’ll take my time with it bc I’m sure he will ultimately hang himself. & when they finally pin Johnny Clam Chowder down, it will be sweet. He’ll likely take UK w/ him, which is unfortunate, but hopefully UK fans get some memories before it happens.

    If Wall does miss any time over this, I vote for him missing the Dec 9 game against UConn.

  2. jtruman37 says:

    Alright, clearly this has nothing to do w/ Cal. It is really about Wall’s AAU coach. I was reacting to the appearance of impropriety by the program. It could be that Clifton is in bed w/ Cal (wasn’t Wall going to play for Cal @ Memphis?), but this story is about Clifton’s impact on Wall.

    Still, it’s the sort of attention that the Kentucky faithful were looking for. & it looks like Wall may miss some time, which is no good. But it doesn’t appear to be a Cal related scandal… this time.

  3. garik16 says:

    Two things: 1. There’s an easy solution…any payments for trips made by Wall that were paid for by Clifton should be repaid by Wall and then…we’re done! Easy solution. Declaring Wall ineligible would be silly, unless they were to forbid AAU coaches from being agents in the future.

    2. Duke’s Ryan Kelly may also be in a situation here….Kelly was also on that AAU team. What’s the difference here exactly?

  4. jstevrtc says:


    In theory, no difference. In reality, there are some differences. Wall was certainly a higher-profile recruit than Kelly (though Kelly wasn’t exactly too far down there). Kentucky also expects more from Wall than Duke does from Kelly as evidenced by some folks who think Wall is going to be the SEC or even national POY. This makes the Wall story a little more compelling, but we’re in agreement that if the NCAA disciplines one of them just because this Clifton fellow was his coach, it should discipline the other one as well. But then again, this is the NCAA….

    Probably no disciplinary action will be necessary. Sources in Lexington say that this has been a hurdle that Kentucky has known about for a long time, that they’ve been dealing with it from day one, and that the national press (I referenced the story as it appeared on simply didn’t know about it and report it until recently. Maybe that’s all true, maybe it isn’t, we’ll just have to wait and see. Looks like a non-issue at this point. But IF there is a penalty for some reason, then you’re right about the repayment scenario.

    John Stevens

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