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May 28, 2009


Sources have told ESPN what appeared obvious when the Memphis Commercial-Appeal first reported that the NCAA has charged Memphis with major violations -- that Derrick Rose is the player in question in the allegation of "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" on an SAT exam.

   The report obtained by the Commercial-Appeal confirmed that it was a player who played one season for Memphis, the 2007-08 season that saw the Tigers advance all the way to the title game (blowing it to Kansas, and the NCAA sure is grateful for that right now), a run that included a Rose-fueled trouncing of MSU in the Sweet Sixteen in Houston. Rose is the only player who played just the 2007-08 season for Memphis.
    But this is about John Calipari, not Derrick Rose.
    Calipari has been shrouded in smoke for a long time. A lot of people who cover college basketball think he's its most brazen cheater. And just about everyone who comes into contact with Calipari thinks he's a great guy.
    He's charmed himself a lot of rope. I've heard more than one national guy say something to the effect of, "Yeah, but everybody cheats," when the subject turned to Calipari's methods.To which I say: #%*$@ that.
    When Kentucky hired Calipari (apparently with knowledge of this allegation, because he knew about it in January), it was the latest, clearest indication that no one is afraid of the NCAA. Or at least that Kentucky is too desperate to care anymore.
    Although the UMass scandal (the school had to forfeit its Final Four run under Cal because Marcus Camby took gifts from agents) is the only official spot on his resume, his recruiting practices and close relationship with famed delivery man William Wesley have been the subject of countless scornful pieces. He has a reputation. Kentucky didn't care.
    This is the same Kentucky that was basically wiped off the Earth for a brief period 20 years ago because of cheating. Apparently, the painful days of integrity and consistent winning -- but not quite enough -- under Tubby Smith are the lesser alternative in Lexington.
    So now people are coming after Cal:
    The Commercial-Appeal has harsh words. Yahoo's Dan Wetzel calls it a nightmare for Kentucky. CBS' Gary Parrish comments on the fleeting nature of Calipari-raised banners. Fox's Jeff Goodman thinks it will be Memphis, not Kentucky, that pays the price here. He's probably right. But I have a feeling there will be more payments down the road.




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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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