On a day where Rick Pitino had a conniption in front of our very eyes, one person who hasn’t caught the crazy is Jay Bilas. He ripped the NCAA and took up for Coach Calipari in his latest blog post, making a case for himself as Kentucky fans’ most acceptable Dukie not named Matt Jones. The article is insider only, and thus I can’t reproduce it all, but here’s a little excerpt that pretty well gets the point across.
Now back to Memphis. It has become far too easy to lay the blame for this at the feet of former head coach John Calipari. I don’t care whether you like Calipari or not; to simply state that Calipari has had two Final Fours vacated “on his watch” is unfair and without proper context.
UMass’ 1996 Final Four season was vacated because Marcus Camby took money from an agent. Calipari was not named in the investigation and not named in the findings. And with such a low burden of proof (i.e., none) for the NCAA to satisfy, the NCAA would have named him if they could have.
In this latest case, Calipari was not named in the allegations or in the findings. Call me old-fashioned, but when I imply that a coach was masterminding academic fraud and conspiring with accounting staff to undercharge for charter flight services, I require credible proof. There is none. And when there is no proof, I try not to use coded terms like “plausible deniability” to call a guy a cheater.