Today was one of those surreal days that doesnt come around very often. Because of my column on Forde last night and the report on Bledsoe’s transcripts this evening, calls and emails came from all over and it was one of those “wow aint life strange” type of series of events. But in between the madness, I nearly finished what I believe is one of the best pieces of journalism I have ever read, Dave Cullen’s “Columbine.” If you are like me, you remember the images of Columbine vividly. I can clearly recall walking across Forrer Hall at Transylvania and seeing CNN broadcasting live from the school and being mesmerized by the events taking place inside. With the massacre taking place now over ten years ago, my memories were of the “Trenchcoat mafia”, the idea of bullying, the story of “Cassie” (the student who professed her belief in God before being shot) and the notion of crazed loners rebelling. Cullen’s book shows us that nearly all of those memories were incorrect and the Columbine story was told incorrectly for so long that the falsehoods have now become truths. It is an amazing portrait of an event, but more interestingly, a portrait of a community that tries to deal with a tragedy that was beyond horrific. I cant recommend the book (which was named one of the Top Ten Books of 2009 by the New York Times) highly enough and suggest it for (not exactly light) summer reading.
Some notes on the day:
— The story of the evening was our report late that Eric Bledsoe’s transcripts were leaked by a college assistant to a number of media outlets in the weeks leading up to the New York Times report. As I stated in the post, my source confirms that a college coach was responsible, but the actual individual was not told to me. I believe I know the person at the heart of the leak, but until I have what I believe to be sufficient confirmation, I wont release my guess. I will say that when thinking about this, it is important to remember that Memphis and Florida were given transcripts of Bledsoe’s but they easily could have been sent to other schools by those coaches. The initial leak has to be either from one of those schools, the Birmingham high school people or the NCAA. But the actual leak to the media could have come from a number of assistant coaches. I was shocked to find out this weekend that one gave out the material…but it shows how far-reaching the dislike for Calipari is, not only from the media but some of his rivals as well.
— I do hope the national and local media take a strong interest in the leak story. The plate is set for real journalism to be done. Instead of Jerry Tipton simply calling an investigator and asking for his opinion of transcripts (which he either didnt see or was given to by Jerry…either is interesting and more will be said about that typical Tipton piece tomorrow), he and others might try actually reporting this story. As Bomani Jones tweeted out tonight…if you are more upset about a kid having his rent paid so he wont be evicted from his apartment than you are a college assistant coach leaking a kid’s grades to the national media…well you and I just dont see eye to eye on too many things and you might want to look at your priorities and motives.
— It did seem to be a bit of a turning point today as some in the national media backlashed against the Calipari witchhunt. Gregg Doyel and Bomani Jones continued their beliefs on the subject, but Mike Decourcy also chimed in, joined by various other bloggers with no affiliations to the schools. I do think the writings on KSR and by UK fans who have taken the bull by the horns on this issue have had an impact. Even ESPN’s Eamon Brennan (who Beisner just loves and wants to hug) had a long article defending writers against the idea that people are out to get Calipari. At least all admit that the reason for the story is Calipari and not the idea that the Bledsoe facts (as have been reported now) are at all unusual or different than what takes place everywhere in sports (and life I might add).
— Louisville fans are abuzz about reports of more stories to come about UK, with rumors of stories on Wall, Cousins and more on Bledsoe. Howie Lindsey of Louisville’s Rivals’s site spreaded some of that on the radio today and a leak inside Tom Jurich’s office (who Jurich must know exist) posted about it on the premium section of Insidetheville. Here is my view on all of these stories. When investigations of UK are taking place, the news of the investigations travel. I knew about the Bledsoe and Cousins investigations for months and was confident a story would take place at some point. I am not saying there is no Wall or Cousins story, but if there is, it is much more hidden. The reason the Bledsoe story leaked months ago is that a prominent journalist in Louisville and a member of the UL basketball staff were telling everyone that would listen that the story would come out soon (unbeknownst to them, one of those conversations took place in front of a KSR writer). I have heard no such buzz about more stories…doesnt mean they wont happen, but color me skeptical.
— Finally, the SEC Spring Meetings are going on in Destin and I would expect John Calipari to talk to the press today. I am sure he will be asked about the Bledsoe thing and I think it likely that he will comment on it. It will be his first statement since the event and I would look for it at some point during the day.
On a personal level, this is a big day for the site and its future. The results of today wont be known for a while, but just cross your fingers if you are a fan. It has been a wild ride these last four to five days, but I am proud of the work done here on the site and by many behind the scenes. The reality is that those who work around KSR have done what many mainstream media outlets did not or would not do. I thank all of you who have given us your support (including the Frosted One, who was very gracious and complimentary as well, which was very nice). I honestly believe that we have changed the way the game is played…at least around Kentucky. And it couldnt have been done without you folks reading the site and supporting its vision. Again thanks.