Morning Five: 09.15.10 EditionPosted by rtmsf on September 15th, 2010
- If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin‘ is a quote that’s tossed around a lot in the NCAA, but it may have come to an offseason head yesterday as no fewer than three separate reports came out in the world of college basketball that has us wondering… is anybody clean anymore? Anybody at all? Or has the sport been so dirty for so long that now that the NCAA actually has an investigative arm with some sharp teeth and halogen flashlight, we’re finally seeing all the roaches scurrying around underneath the mat?
- The biggest news was that another allegation came to light with respect to Tennesssee’s Bruce Pearl, merely four days after he begged forgiveness in front of the world for misleading NCAA investigators in their investigation into his recruiting practices. CBSSports.com reported on Tuesday that Pearl initially told the NCAA that he never hosted recruits Josh Selby (currently at Kansas) and Aaron Craft (currently at Ohio State) at his home during their junior-year visits to Knoxville, but apparently the NCAA had in its possession a rather probative piece of evidence — a photo of Craft standing with Pearl in the coach’s living room. If that’s not a smoking firearm from hypocrisyville, we’re not sure what is. Pearl owned up to it in a second interview with investigators, but if this is the misleading piece of information that he was referring to last week, but we openly wonder why he wouldn’t have been more forthright about it then. The final question on everyone’s minds, though — how did Jimmy Collins sneak inside the Pearl household sight unseen with a digital camera?
- Moving down a state to Alabama, another report that came out on Tuesday from the Birmingham News revealed that there may have been tomfoolery going on with respect to former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe’s high school transcript. We already know that the NYT’s Pete Thamel unearthed suspicious circumstances back in May in Bledsoe’s academic career, but yesterday’s news suggests that the suspicious circumstances may have risen to the level of grade-fixing so that Bledsoe would be eligible to play college ball. If the NCAA finds that Bledsoe was never eligible and Kentucky is held to the same standard of strict liability that it held Memphis to in the Derrick Rose scandal, then UK’s 35 wins in 2009-10 could be completely erased from the record books. Thamel anonymously spoke to three compliance officers in light of this latest information, and all three thought that was a realistic possibility.
- And next, we move out west to Oregon, where new head coach Dana Altman may have walked into a situation in Eugene quite a bit more complicated than he bargained for. According to OregonLive.com, recently-departed center Michael Dunigan and at least four other former players may have been involved in receiving improper benefits over the last two seasons at the school. This is especially hilarious considering just how bad the Ducks have been during that period, but we’re sure that the NCAA is already involved and has the 2-0 and rather dominant-looking football program feeling a little nervous.
- Whew. What a Tuesday. Well, we may disagree with incoming NCAA president Mark Emmert in other ways, but at least he’s already talking tough about levying harsh penalties on cheaters. And finally, we’re actually talking about big-time schools in big-time conferences with slaughterhouses full of cash cows at their disposal. The game is only at its greatest when the playing field is level, and there’s no way to approximate that when the moneyed schools can do whatever they want with reckless abandon. This could be Emmert’s greatest accomplishment if he has the will and buy-in to do so.