Alleges Impermissible Calls From Former Calipari Aide

Posted by jstevrtc on April 2nd, 2011

On Friday evening, writers Jeff Goodman and Thayer Evans released a story alleging that Bilal Batley, a former staff member at both Memphis and Kentucky, made what the NCAA would consider impermissible contact in the form of cell phone calls to recruits while employed by John Calipari at both programs. The FOX story specifically names former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins and class of 2012 recruit L. J. Rose, as well as numerous current and former  players who ended up attending various schools, as  having been contacted by Batley, going back as far as Batley’s time as a graduate manager under Kelvin Sampson at Indiana. As the story explains, only a program’s head coach or three “countable” coaches are allowed to make phone calls to recruits. Batley was not so designated at Indiana, Memphis, or during his six months at Kentucky.

Batley Was Calipari's Director of Basketball Ops/Manager At Memphis and Kentucky

Before last season began, we posted a story about how Batley left his position of Director of Basketball Operations/Manager at Kentucky (the same position he held at Memphis) when it was revealed that he had been involved in a minor rules violation a few months into his job. Batley shagged some rebounds for a player during a brief stop in the practice gym, and his job description did not permit such an interaction. Kentucky self-reported the violation. Nothing came of it, and nothing should have. What we considered odd, though, was that Batley soon afterward announced he was leaving his job in Lexington. He cited an ill family member back in Houston as the reason for his departure, even though his post at Kentucky — a rather plum gig, to be sure — would have been protected by law in the event that it was a first-degree relative who was ill, meaning Batley could have come back to that job if he chose to do so after the family member’s illness had resolved. We assumed that Batley’s reasons were his own and that his hand was not forced, because no link was ever found between Batley’s leaving and the incredibly minor violation. Like the rest of the world, we let the matter rest, and simply hoped everything worked out for the best regarding the illness in Batley’s family.

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09.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 21st, 2009

It was a very quiet weekend in college hoopsland, which is a good thing, because the RTC staff is working madly behind the scenes to get things together for the upcoming season.  You guys realize that we’re seven weeks to the day away from the first game, right (Nov. 9FIU @ UNC in the CvC)?

  • Jeff Goodman wrote a post on his blog last week that asked the question of which teams in 09-10 could be categorized as the deepest in college basketball.  He concluded that Big 12 stalwarts Kansas and Texas along with Kentucky are all bursting at the seams with nasty talent.  We have no dispute with him there – you’d have to be blind to state otherwise.  But after thinking about it a bit, we were left with the so-what question.  Having 10-12 players at your disposal doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you’re willing to use them, and we wondered what Self, Barnes and Calipari’s coaching history could tell us about just how important that depth will be for them this season.  Thanks to KenPom’s site, we did a quick analysis of how these coaches used their benches over the last three years (data was only available from 2007-09).  As you can see in the table below, the two Big 12 coaches are much more likely to ride their starters over the course of a season than Calipari will.  But none of them will often be accused of leading the way in bench usage.  Of course, if we had players like Kevin Durant, Brandon Rush, Derrick Rose and so forth at our disposal, we’d probably be hesitant to bring in their backup also.
  • reserve minutes 07-09
  • Luke Winn broke down his top ten nonconference schedules last week (among the good teams), and we really don’t have much else to say about his analysis, which is spot-on as usual.  Calling out Big East teams Pitt and Syracuse was great, especially since we all know that they’ll use the excuse of being young this year (true), even though they always pull this never-leave-home stuff in the preconference slate (also true).  We also noticed another oddity in Winn’s “Major Generosity” section, where he points out that UNC, Georgetown and Michigan St. will visit such titans as Charleston, Savannah St. and The Citadel, respectively, this season.  Strangely enough, these three homestanding schools are within about a two-hour drive of each other.  A weird confluence of luck , friendships and payback games means that the Low Country will be privileged to host three of the best teams in the nation on their turf within a six-week period starting November 21.  If you live around there, get your tickets now – this will probably never happen again!  Oh, and back at ya, Luke.
  • Quick HitsBilal Batley: yeah, this was itThe Jewish Jordan: retires at 27Greg Monroe: ready to forget about last seasonGene Iba: one more season for Hank’s nephew.  Freshmen in 09-10: seems eminently reasonableArkansas Gangbang: someone will be punished for somethingThe New Myles BrandMichael AdamsJunior Cadougan:  Marquette’s presumed starting PG out for the seasonTruck Bryant: was there ever a questionJosh Tabb:  Tennessee guard suspended indefinitely.
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Kentucky Admits Minor Violation to NCAA; Batley Out

Posted by jstevrtc on September 11th, 2009

Readers of this site will probably assume that we’ve turned to coverage exclusively about the University of Kentucky basketball program, what with all the news that’s come out of the Bluegrass State this summer/off-season — the firing of Billy Gillispie, the hiring of John Calipari, the recruitment and signing of John Wall and the accumulation of other big-time prepsters, the Rick Pitino/Karen Sypher fiasco, the eventual further misadventures of Gillispie, and so on.  And now, there’s this:

From the Sporting News

In early July, [Assistant Director of Basketball Operations/Manager] Bilal Batley visited the UK practice gym to speak with a player regarding an academic matter…While there, [Batley] was seen gathering rebounds for one of the players.  The university determined it should be turned into the NCAA as a secondary violation.

Batley held the same post at Calipari’s Memphis program last year before accompanying him to Kentucky.  Before that he was a graduate manager at Indiana for a season.  The Kentucky job didn’t last long, though.  A few days ago, it was announced that Batley was no longer on the UK staff, evidently choosing to leave to go back to Houston because of an illness in his family.


Though no connection has so far been discovered or reported, a person cannot be faulted for asking the question regarding the possibility of a connection between Batley’s departure and what really does look like a minor violation.  It would be normal to ask that question if such an occurrence happened at ANY program.  When John Calipari is your head coach, though, it’s going to draw even more of a critical eye.  We know, nothing’s ever been actually pinned on him, but when you’re the only coach ever to have Final Fours vacated at the two schools you coached and when you associate with people named World Wide Wes, you can’t be surprised when you’re looked at a tad more closely. 

Did Calipari hear about the possibility of some kind of (even miniscule) violation perpetrated by this man, and order him out in the spirit of running a totally clean and pristine program at UK?  Or, if a bigger investigation is forthcoming, did the coaches convene and decide to oust Batley preemptively because some other things might be discovered?  Is there more news to follow from Lexington?  Nobody can say right now, and the possibilities mentioned above are total speculation and conjecture on the part of this blogger, as of right now.  There’s always the chance that — and you might want to hold onto something, here — the violation really is just a tiny thing that UK is playing it very safe (and understandably so) by reporting, and Batley really is going back to Houston for the aforementioned family illness.  If that is indeed the case, of course we hope everything turns out well for the Batley family.

I have one question, though.  Given what’s happened, the “minor-ness” of the violation becomes more compelling.  I mean, the guy grabbed a few rebounds for somebody while on his way to take care of something else; the NCAA is one bizarre organization when it comes to evaluating crimes and doling out punishment, but it would have to be utterly insane to attach any penalty to that.  People take leaves-of-absence from jobs all the time when family members get sick, and they’re often allowed to come back.  In fact, as most of you know, depending on who the family member is, your job is protected by law if you choose to take leave.  Jobs at programs like Kentucky don’t just grow on trees.  Maybe I’m misinformed on the whole thing, but a job like “Assistant Director of Basketball Operations/Manager” sounds like one that another person in the department could handle for a short time while Batley tends to the family issues, so that he could return when those matters are resolved (happily, we hope).  No matter whose decision it was, why is Batley now totally unassociated with the program?  Why would he seemingly remove himself or let himself be removed from such a plum position at a Leviathan program like Kentucky so quickly and so soon after taking the job in the first place, and over so minor an incident?

Who knows — right now, it looks like there’s no fire associated with this smoke.  But we’re going to stay tuned.

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