They are coming John!
The Calipari situation doesnt bother me at this point. Why? Its simple…we knew what we were getting when Calipari was hired. When UK made the decision to get Calipari, we knew that we would have one of the best coaches in America, the top recruiter and a guy who immediately could get Kentucky back to the top of the basketball mountain. And you know what, he has done all of those things. But we also knew that we were getting a coach that had a reputation nationally of being on the edge of the NCAA rules. Face it, before he came to Kentucky, you thought things were fishy with Calipari. Everyone did. There has never been any proof of anything, but when you mentioned Cal’s name to non-Memphis fans, they all thought something was up. It may not have been fair, but it was reality. The day UK hired him, they inherited that as well, and we all knew it going in.
They key issue then and the key issue now, is that Calipari had never personally been found to be guilty of wrongdoing. The Camby incident was not put on him and the counter to any question of his character has always been that he has never been found guilty of anything. The news last night led some (including Pat Forde, Rick Bozich and other non-Pitino story reporters) to question what UK knew, when it knew it, etc. But it actually changed virtually nothing for me and anyone who really thinks about it. As of now, it seems that UK knew of the allegations, checked up with the NCAA, they gave him a clean bill and then the hire was made. Calipari is not personally implicated in the Memphis violations and once again, the answer is the same….he has not personally been found guilty of anything.
Now none of that changes the fact that this does of course look bad. Just as in the Camby situation, Calipari potentially could have his championship game season wiped away. Whether guilty or not, the allegations and potential findings cast suspicion around Cal. But that suspicion was THERE THE DAY HE WAS HIRED. We all knew what people would think when he came to UK and the administration surely knew the general view of Cal around the media tables in college basketball. However they made the rational decision to hire him anyway, believing that without any conviction that hangs on him personally, the University was willing to live with the public whispers. Wednesday’s Memphis report changes nothing in that regard and still leaves the “whispers versus convictions” deal out there on another issue.
None of this is to say that it is great to have our coach part of this investigation. If you went to work today and encountered a Louisville fan, you know what I am talking about. But nothing that happened yesterday changed anything about Calipari and what his status as a coach will be. UK knew when they hired him what the whispers were like, what World Wide Wes was like and even what was coming down the pike at Memphis. They hired him anyway and it still was a great decision. The reason the rumors didnt bother UK was he still had no conviction or violation that was centered around him. Now certain journalists are ready to say, “SEE WE TOLD YOU!” about a story that has existed since January, but was only broken in May. However from what we know now, the story adds nothing to the Calipari narrative.
Before he came, there were whispers….today there still are. Before he came there were no violations…today there are still none. Calipari is the same coach he was last week and his NCAA record hasnt changed one bit. As Dennis Green would say, Cal is who we thought he was, and most UK fans (this one included) are at this point, perfectly fine with that.