Sports Outside the Beltway

Memphis Slammed, Calipari Skates Again

For the second time in his career, John Calipari has taken a former lowly school to the Final Four by cheating and managed to leave it in the rubble while he went on to a bigger and better job.

The NCAA has forced Memphis to give up every victory in its 38-win season under coach John Calipari that ended in the national title game in 2007-08, saying the school used an ineligible player.

The announcement came Thursday, 16 months after the Tigers lost to Kansas in overtime in the championship game.

The NCAA also said the school must return the money it received from the NCAA tournament appearance that season. School officials were expected to discuss the report later Thursday during a conference call.

It is the second time both Memphis and Calipari have had to vacate Final Four seasons. The Tigers were stripped of their 1985 appearance, and Calipari’s Massachusetts team lost its 1996 berth.

Calipari is now the coach at Kentucky, where officials have voiced support for him despite the Memphis scandal.

I’m very seldom in agreement with Skip Bayless on much of anything. But he’s right here:

Punishing the current Memphis players and coaches for something they had no control over, while allowing John Calipari to go unpunished is an absolute travesty.

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I think vacating wins is a rather stupid punishment in any event (whether basketball or football or any other sport). The wins happened. The revocation is mostly an asterisk. I think a better way to go is to cut scholarships and allow current players to transfer out without penalty. Despite the vacated victories, Memphis fans still probably view having had Calipari as a net benefit to the program. I probably would. Cut scholarships and ruin a few seasons going forward, though, and they may not be so eager to go that route again.

Posted by Trumwill | August 21, 2009 | 12:19 pm | Permalink

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