NCAA Gets Change Out Of Kentucky, But Will It Go After The Rest?

Posted by jstevrtc on June 17th, 2011

On Thursday, the University of Kentucky issued a statement claiming that it was in error in celebrating John Calipari’s 500th win on February 26 after beating Florida, and that in future media guides and any published material it would depict Calipari’s career win total with the vacated wins from his time at Memphis and Massachusetts subtracted.

Behold, the Statistic In Dispute, From Kentucky's 2010-11 Factbook

Here’s what happened. At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Kentucky considered Calipari to have logged 480 wins (vacated wins not removed), while the NCAA officially listed him with 438 (42 wins removed). The NCAA evidently considered it to be a slap in the face when Kentucky had its small post-game display to mark what UK considered Cal’s 500th win on February 26, as well as the fact that its media guides and website ignored the NCAA’s removal of the wins from Calipari’s record. It asked UK to change it and alert the media that the celebration of Calipari’s 500th was erroneous. Kentucky’s compliance office responded to the NCAA, but they were unmoved and sent another missive, again  pressing for the change. And the reason the NCAA knew about this and went down this road was…a tip from a fan of a rival program.

[Ed. Note: You can read the correspondence between the NCAA and Kentucky here. It’s pretty interesting. And we’re not sure how Lexington Herald-Leader sportswriter Jerry Tipton could ever comfortably show his face in Lexington again.]

This was the right move by Kentucky. It wouldn’t make any sense for the program to go out of its way to position itself on the NCAA’s bad side, and 42 wins is simply too small a prize to justify the continued poking of that bear. At some point John Calipari will move on and either coach somewhere else or retire. Kentucky won’t care how many wins John Calipari has then, but we guarantee the NCAA would remember it if Kentucky decided to openly defy them. As we all know, the NCAA is still judge, jury and executioner in this biz, and if anything should come up in the future, you’d rather they have a more favorable opinion of you. Kentucky noted the error, didn’t apologize — one really wasn’t warranted, though it sounds like that’s what the NCAA wanted — but promised to make the adjustment the NCAA asked for. And let’s be honest — if those are the rules everyone has to play by, then justice really was done here.

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Renardo Sidney Suspended Indefinitely

Posted by nvr1983 on December 24th, 2010

Late yesterday, news broke that Renardo Sidney, the troubled Mississippi State forward, was involved in a fight in the stands with a teammate at the Diamond Head Classic. Coming soon after he had served a one-game suspension for an outburst during practice, we wondered how Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State administration would respond. We may have our first indication as Mississippi State announced just a few hours ago that it had suspended Sidney and Elgin Bailey indefinitely. In a little over a year in Starkville, Sidney has only played in two official games due to suspensions — first by the NCAA for one year and nine games and then by the school for the aforementioned “conduct detrimental to the team.”

Sidney has not lived up to his potential yet

In between the three suspensions (counting the upcoming one), Sidney has shown flashes of brilliance in his two games as he scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 24 minutes against Virginia Tech, and scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes against San Diego. Still, there continues to be an aura of trouble around Sidney and many are questioning his commitment to the game as Mike DeCourcy astutely noted that, despite having nearly 20 months to get ready for his first game, Sidney still was not in shape. Now the question is whether Mississippi State, which waited nearly a year and a half to get Sidney into a Bulldog uniform, is willing to take Sidney back. His talent is unquestioned and many have stated that he may be the most talented player in college basketball, but you have to wonder how much more Stansbury and the rest of the team are willing to put up with before they cut the cord like Memphis did with Jelan Kendrick earlier this season. Now there are also reports that many of his teammates want him off the team as his talent is no longer worth the trouble. If he is kicked off the team, we suspect that he would seriously consider entering the NBA Draft as he would have a difficult time finding another high-level college program that would be willing to take a chance on him.

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Renardo Sidney Involved In Fight With Teammate

Posted by jstevrtc on December 24th, 2010

We saw this bit of news on Twitter a little while ago, and now an AP story on confirms it: Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney fought with a teammate in the stands on Thursday night just moments before the tipoff of the Hawaii vs Utah game at the Diamond Head Classic. According to the linked article (and the video below, of course), punches were thrown and Sidney was escorted out by police. No arrests were made.

[h/t: @dlhil00]

Sidney’s opponent in this particular scrap was junior forward Elgin Bailey. Earlier in the day, Sidney had scored 19 points and pulled six rebounds in just 20 minutes of action in the Bulldogs’ 69-52 win over San Diego, playing in just his second game for MSU. Bailey had two points and eight boards in 21 minutes of play.

Susan Shan, a sportswriter covering the tournament and proprietor of, posted an eyewitness account from a person associated with the team who saw the buildup to the fight as well as the aftermath. In the account she received from this witness, while the reasons for the squabble were rather trifling, Bailey appears to be more in the wrong, and may have even tried to attack an officer.

Sidney was suspended by head coach Rick Stansbury for Mississippi State’s game against Washington State on Wednesday because of an “outburst” of Sidney’s during the team’s practice on Tuesday. While there have been no official details emerge as to the reason for the fight in the stands on Thursday — we admit, no matter why it started, we can’t think of many things that would justify a brawl in the stands with a teammate — it doesn’t really matter who’s found to be at fault in the end. It cannot be ignored that, since joining the squad, Sidney now has as many behavioral gaffes as games under his belt. Sidney is bound to again face punishment from Stansbury, if not an outright removal from the team. Forget why the fight happened — the point is that it happened at all, and that Sidney, just off a disciplinary action, is seen throwing punches in the stands at a person — a teammate who is on the ground, mind you — in full view of spectators and TV cameras.

This thing brings to mind those awful images from the infamous Pacers-Pistons atrocity exhibition  (the Malice in the Palace) from 2004, one of the lowest moments in American professional sports. True, the court/crowd barrier was never broken in this case — or was it? Whether they’re on the playing surface or sitting in the stands, athletes are representatives their schools, and we wonder how many invites to the Diamond Head Classic that Mississippi State will be receiving in the upcoming years.

Obviously we should all reserve final judgment until the full details are known, or at least until Stansbury comments on this issue. We’ll update the story as details emerge.

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Pearl, Pitino Succeeding Through Tough Times

Posted by jstevrtc on December 13th, 2010

We hate the off-season. The only college basketball there is to watch is whatever we decided to keep saved on our TiVOs or DVRs from the previous season, we’re coming down from the buzz of traveling to see games during the year, and we know there are certain friends we won’t hear from for about six months. Like the rest of college hoopheads, we rely on occasional stories from certain topics to get us through — recruiting, the buildup to the NBA draft, the musical chairs game in the coaching world, and so on. Still, every summer feels longer than the last.

This off-season was different. In addition to the above, we had a little conference realignment, a decision on the fate of the Tournament (specifically, the number of tickets to the dance), and a couple of big-time coaches dealing with scandals from which they’ll most likely never separate themselves. The specter of the Karen Sypher scandal haunted Rick Pitino for months, and Bruce Pearl is still in the middle of dealing with the recruiting scandal he’s heaped upon the Tennessee program.

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Looks Like Karen Sypher May Have Tried This Before

Posted by jstevrtc on July 7th, 2010

Karen Sypher’s credibility just took a(nother) hit.

Earlier today it was revealed that Sypher, the woman who claimed that Rick Pitino raped her and who allegedly attempted to extort $10 million from the Louisville head coach, had also lodged false claims of sexual harassment against another Louisville man back in 2001.  This AP report posted on details how Sypher had consensual sex with a Louisville businessman nine years ago (the man is now dead, by the way), and was subsequently hired by him at his auto glass business.  When the man’s fiancee found out about his relationship with Sypher, he broke it off.  Sypher then claimed to be pregnant, and sued this guy for sexual harassment.  No criminal charges ever materialized.

Last year, you may recall, Sypher claimed that, in 2003, Pitino raped her on two different occasions.  This accusation came after Pitino revealed that Sypher was attempting to extort ten million bucks from him, and he even admitted to a consensual affair with Sypher (remember the Porcini’s incident?) after she came out with her rape claim. Prosecutors say that a few weeks after the consensual sexual affair, Sypher told Pitino she was pregnant and wanted money for health insurance; prosecutors say that pregnancy was eventually aborted, and it’s been reported that Pitino paid for it.  It was six years later that Sypher then attempted to extort the money from Pitino.

Today's revelation doesn't paint Sypher in the best light.

Now that you’re up to date on the events of last year, what does it have to do with Sypher’s upcoming extortion trial which starts on July 26th?  Well, if prosecutors can establish a pattern of this type of behavior from Sypher, it makes it easier for a judge to see her dealings with Pitino as a planned scheme, and makes it appear more likely that she did indeed attempt to extort Pitino — a charge she told federal prosecutors was without basis — which could land her in some seriously hot water.  Multiple extortion attempts, lying to federal prosecutors, false rape charges…not exactly the kinds of things that judges tend to blow off or be too warm and fuzzy about.  Rick Pitino has by no means been just an injured innocent in all of this, but despite her initial accusations regarding Pitino, it’s Sypher who could wind up in the most legal trouble.

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Georgia Will Be Looking For A New Athletic Director

Posted by nvr1983 on July 4th, 2010

Along with numerous other media outlets we reported on the DUI that Georgia athletic director Damon Evans picked up less than a week ago. Following the initial reports of his arrest the news got even worse for Evans as the married Evans was driving with a woman who was not his wife (not a big deal) and he was found to have her red underwear between his legs (ok, that’s bad) before reportedly telling the officer, “I am not trying to bribe you but I am the athletic director of the University of Georgia [. . .] I am not trying to bribe you, but is there anything you can do without arresting me?” (really, really bad) As we noted last week we expected that the DUI arrest alone would put Evans in the cross-hairs of the many journalists, fans, and boosters calling for his head. It turns out that the calls will be answered about as quickly as one could reasonably expect as reports indicate that Evans will resign today. While we expect the Georgia administration to select an internal candidate as the token interim athletic director, but some media sources are already speculating about potential long-term replacements for Evans.

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NCAA To Announce USC Decision On Friday

Posted by nvr1983 on May 31st, 2010

Over the past two weeks three of the premier college basketball programs in the country had been hit by scandals (Kentucky with the ongoing Eric Bledsoe saga, Kansas with a ticket scam, and Connecticut with…we don’t even know where to begin). The latest college powerhouse — USC — may not be in the same realm of those schools  in terms of basketball heritage, but it may send bigger shock waves through the NCAA landscape than any decision by the NCAA in years  when the NCAA announces its decision on punishing the school on Friday. While the headlines of this proceeding will center around alleged improprieties involving Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush, the case of O.J. Mayo and the infamous Rodney Guillory could also be be brought up. The Trojans have already self-imposed sanctions on themselves stemming from the Mayo case, but are continuing to contest the allegations against Bush and his family. Although any punishments levied would be against the football program as “repeat offenders” since they were sanctioned in 2001 and the Bush era (2003-2005) falls within the 5-year window the sanctions might have significant ramification for all Trojan programs. Beyond the obvious direct impact of taking back the 2004 BCS title, Bush’s 2005 Heisman trophy, and essentially erasing the highly-controversial USC dynasty from the record books, a harsh verdict would be a blow to all USC athletic programs and provide strong ammunition for every team recruiting against the Trojans in the coming years. While many readers are undoubtedly convinced that the NCAA will only impose superficial sanctions on the Trojans there is a chance that they may come down harder than expected particularly now that both USC programs have fallen on (relatively) hard times and the NCAA would not be losing as much of a cash cow as it would have had they sanctioned the Trojans two years ago.

They may not even have that one soon.

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Knight’s Calipari Remark — Let It Go

Posted by jstevrtc on December 18th, 2009

No doubt by now you’ve heard about Bobby Knight’s return trip to Indiana last night to speak at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, and the lick he got in on Kentucky head honcho John Calipari.  Just so we’ll have it in front of us, here’s what the General said:

“We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching.  You see, we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching.  I really don’t understand that.”

That’s from the report on Knight’s trip to Indianapolis for his speaking appearance.  The initial reaction for most people is going to be to question Bob Knight’s definition of integrity.  They’ll reel off a laundry list of Knight’s transgressions and try to discredit him in that fashion.  They’ll assault his character and call him all kinds of nasty names.  Much will be written about the irony of Bob Knight accusing another man of a lack of integrity.

Forget the slam...does he have his facts right?

Forget the slam...does he have his facts right?

Of greater importance to us, though, is the actual content of what the guy said.  Everything you read is going to focus on his slam of Calipari (though he didn’t actually say the name, for some reason), but we think any examination of the statement should start with a much more basic question:  is what he said factual?  Were things really “cleaner” back in the good ol’ days of Knight’s time of prowling the sideline?  And did John Calipari really put two schools on probation?

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The Implosion Continues: Binghamton AD to Resign

Posted by nvr1983 on September 30th, 2009

When we brought you the news that Binghamton was releasing 5 more players last Friday we speculated about how high up the administration would go to clean house. We felt that the administration was punishing the players rather than coach Kevin Broadus because of a buy-out that likely would have approached $500,000, but we knew  that there would be others who would be affected by the fallout of the scandal. The first to feel the effects of the scandal was the Binghamton Zoo, who responded angrily when journalists and school officials compared the basketball program to a zoo. The next in line was Sally Dear, a lecturer in human development at Binghamton who was critical of the program and the pressure she felt to change grades for players. Dear was fired yesterday under the pretenses of an “uncertain fiscal environment” and “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university”. However, Dear noted that the chairman of the department, Leo Wilton, is a big supporter of the basketball program and that their relationship changed significantly after the Dear spoke out about the program.

(photo credit:

(photo credit:

While those are certainly significant events (ok, the Zoo thing is more humorous than anything else), we had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And today that shoe has certainly dropped very hard as Joel Thirer, the athletic director at Binghamton, has announce that he will resign today. Thirer (LinkedIn resume here for programs that are looking for a new AD) has served as an athletic director at Binghamton since 1989  helping them transition from a Division III program to a Division I program. While we usually would suspect that this would be a move forced by the university president, it appears this move may have been of Thirer’s own volition as he was surprisingly candid about his responsibility in the situation. With all this fallout we may end up getting more information on what actually happened than we originally anticipated (assuming Binghamton’s lawyers haven’t already drafted a strict nondisclosure agreement). Given Thirer’s candidness about the situation he may well be the one to eventually give us the details about what actually went on behind closed doors (if the lawyers don’t get in the way first). The question now is how much longer does Kevin Broadus have before he will need to have a similar press conference.

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Binghamton Basketball Program Imploding

Posted by nvr1983 on September 25th, 2009

After the news broke about the arrest of Binghamton guard Emanuel Mayben, we assumed that the program might make a few changes in its recruiting. We had no idea that they would decide to blow up the entire program by releasing 5 more players from the team today including the “should have been” conference POY D.J. Rivera. The university has not released information on why these players (Rivera, Malik Alvin, Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby, and David Fine) were released and we probably won’t be getting an answer in the near future at least from those remaining at Binghamton as Associate Director of Athletics for Communications John Hartrick stated that coach Kevin Broadus, other members of the staff, and players would not be available for further comment on the situation.

In a statement to the Binghamton’s Press & Sun-Bulletin, Hartrick stated that the 5 players were released because “they are not toeing the line. Their attitude and behavior … is not what we expect from our student-athletes.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it sure seems like a program run amok and Hartrick had 2 choices: fire the players or fire the coach. And unlike professional sports where it is much more expensive (and hence unfeasible) to get rid of the players, in college it is more difficult to get rid of the coach. I’m not saying that these 7 players (the 5 today, Mayben, and Miladin Kovacevic) are completely blame-free (particularly Mayben, Kovacevic, and Alvin who all have charges against them), but when half of your players get thrown off the team it usually isn’t a problem just with those players. Instead, it speaks to a larger issue with the program. However, Binghamton just inked a Broadus to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season, which likely would have cost at least $500,000 to buy out given the fact that Broadus was making $205,000 annually on his previous contract as a brand-new head coach. Because of what likely would have been a large buyout, it was easier just to get rid of the “bad apples”.

The question now is two-fold:

  1. What’s next for the Binghamton basketball program? Hint: It’s not a return trip to the NCAA tournament. More likely with just 10 scholarship players (only 1 guard, no point guards, and nobody under 6’5″ according to Pete Thamel–and they don’t have a Magic Johnson-style PG at Binghamton) this team will struggle to stay above .500 even in the very mediocre America East. However, for those of you who think this may be a death knell for the Bearcat basketball program, remember how quickly Baylor recovered from a much worse situation in a much more competitive league.
  2. What happens to the 5 players who were released today? I’m not sure about how the NCAA will handle a situation like this, but all of the players should have some eligibility left so let’s handle each player going in descending order of ability:
  • D.J. Rivera: The man who should have been the America East POY last year if the league’s coaches hadn’t decided to make a statement against how Broadus was running the program, which looks quite prescient now even if it was an idiotic way to make that statement. Rivera, who was our Mid-Major Impact Player for the Northeast, averaged 20 PPG and 6.5 RPG last year as junior making him one of the top mid-major players in the country. As much as programs would normally try to avoid players from situation like this, programs are probably already trying to contact Rivera for his services. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up at a BCS conference school.
  • Malik Alvin: 11.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and an attempt to practice safe sex that will be attached to his name forever. While Alvin won’t draw the BCS schools like Rivera will, some mid-major will snatch him up quickly and direct him to the nearest student health service center to help him stock up as soon as he arrives on campus.
  • Corey Chandler: A transfer from Rutgers, Chandler was an all-state player in New Jersey and put up decent numbers at Rutgers, but never really developed into the star that Rutgers fans expected before he was dismissed from the team in August (notice a pattern here). The guess here is that with those kind of numbers in the Big East and two more years of eligibility left someone will take him. Does anybody know who Binghamton West is?
  • Paul Crosby: A former all-state player in Michigan, Crosby was academically ineligible at Toledo, but was expected to contribute this year for the Bearcats. Honestly, I’m not sure what his next move is as programs will be intrigued by his size (6’8″, 235 lbs), but character issues (first grades and now behavior) and his mediocre overall rating will limit his options.
  • David Fine: Averaging 0.9 PPG as a junior in limited time will likely mean that Fine will have to try to walk-on somewhere or call it a career because I can’t see a program offering him a scholarship for 1 year with his/Binghamton’s baggage.

We doubt that we will hear anything from Binghamton’s athletic department any time soon, but it will be interesting to hear what these 5 released players will say about the situation so keep your eyes open for crazy Twitter feeds or Facebook status updates from these 5 players.

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