Archive for Thursday, August 20, 2009

NCAA announces Memphis will be required to forfeit 2007-08 victories

Final Four season to be lost

August 20, 2009, 1:19 a.m. Updated August 20, 2009, 3:28 p.m.


— Memphis has been stripped by the NCAA of every victory in its 38-win season under coach John Calipari that ended in the national title game last year. The reason: an ineligible player believed to be Derrick Rose.

The announcement Thursday came 16 months after the Tigers lost to Kansas in the championship game following the 2007-08 season. School officials were expected to discuss the report later in the day.

It is the second time both Memphis and Calipari 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 head coach at Kentucky, where officials have voiced support for him despite the Memphis scandal.

“I’m not worried about it because they have never said Coach Cal did anything wrong at all,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who appeared with Calipari at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday before the NCAA announcement. “I think he’s a very upstanding guy. I think that’s his reputation and I think that reputation will be with him here. I really don’t foresee any problems.”

Asked about the possibility of a vacated season Calipari said: “I would be disappointed if that’s what they chose to do.”

Memphis finished 38-2 in 2007-08, setting the NCAA record for wins in a season.

In its report, the NCAA did not identify the ineligible player by name, though earlier descriptions of him lead to the conclusion it could only be Rose. He was taken by the Chicago Bulls as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft and went on to win the NBA rookie of the year award.

The player was accused of having another person take his SAT exam so he would be eligible as a freshman. Memphis argued it did not have enough information to substantiate the allegations in November 2007 and cleared him to play.

However, the SAT officials later conducted their own investigation and notified the player, the university and the NCAA’s eligibility center that they were canceling his test in May 2008.

The agency said it sent letters to the player in March and April 2008; the second letter was sent three days after Rose and the Tigers lost to the Jayhawks. The player did not respond to either letter.

The infractions committee said it struck hard with its penalties because the ineligible player was used the entire season.

In addition to the lost season, Memphis must also return the money it received from the NCAA tournament to Conference USA and will be prevented from receiving future shares doled out in the conference’s revenue-sharing program.

Rose and his agent did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Two weeks ago, he told reporters he had talked with Calipari about the situation. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.

The NCAA said the committee pressed Memphis officials during a hearing on the matter about why steps weren’t taken in November 2007 to bench the ineligible player and avoid problems.

The committee also said the player’s brother received free transportation on the team’s charter plane and hotel lodging that season. Investigators said the total cost would have come to $1,713.85. Such an arrangement is considered an impermissible extra benefit.

“Neither the travel coordinator nor the business director had an explanation as to how the brother was permitted to board without having paid for the two flights,” the NCAA report said.

The school’s women’s golf team also received three years probation and lost a scholarship for violations in its program.


maxcrabb 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad we won (the championship). It makes it that much easier to forget about this, starting now.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 9 months ago

This is what happens when you sign "one and done" players.

My theory is a few teams have had final four's taken away, but never a championship. Maybe they don't look as hard if you win because that's a bigger mess and more of a black eye to the NCAA.

Maracas 8 years, 9 months ago

Calipari strikes again. Prepare yourselves, Kentucky fans. He comes for you.

Kent Fisher 8 years, 9 months ago

Funny how a coach will take the credit when he wins, but takes no responsibility in two scandals at two different schools while he was at the helm. Apparently, his programs suffer from willful neglect of internal compliance. UK careful what you wish for.

Boeing 8 years, 9 months ago

The player in question was Rose, right? Why don't they just come out with the name? Thought it was pretty widely known...

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 9 months ago

I remember when KU had to sit through the season after Larry Brown left us. So glad it wasn't this extreme.

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 9 months ago

Big TV= Big money into the program= this kind of stuff. How is it that the coach can still coach?

63BC 8 years, 9 months ago

It does bring to mind K-State's own Frank Martin.

Investigative reporter Robert Andrew Powell wrote in the KC Star after Martin's hiring:

I know Martin from his days as a high school coach in Florida...His team was a perennial superpower, marching to two state championships in a row and on track for a third when I started looking at it, in 1998...

By going into the school system database and simply looking up the given home addresses of the players, I found a nest of rules violations...

[one example]

*A star point guard, Steve Blake, who now plays for the Denver Nuggets, claimed to live with Joyce Lund, a Stingarees booster who owned a home a few blocks from Miami High. Blake actually lived with his family in Miami Lakes, an upscale suburb miles outside the school district.

That's against the rules in Florida. My article came out just before the state playoffs that Miami High easily won. Almost as soon as Martin and his squad cut down the nets, the Florida High School Activities Association (FHSAA), the agency that oversees scholastic sports, launched its own investigation. It confirmed my findings and then some...Miami High was required to return the 1998 state championship trophy. Martin was fired, along with the school's athletic director...

"This is one of the most, if not the most, blatant violations of FHSAA rules against recruiting that I have encountered in my seven years as commissioner of this association," said Ron Davis when he handed down the penalties in August 1998...

The press release announcing Martin's promotion to the top job started simply enough.

...stated school president Jon Wefald. "I have the utmost confidence in Frank's ability to lead this program while continuing to attract high-caliber student-athletes who can compete for championships in the Big 12 Conference."

I scanned down farther, looking for anything on Martin's Miami High past. I didn't see how they could ignore his time in Florida, since he's never served as a head coach above the high school level. A few paragraphs down, I got to the part I'd hoped not to see.

"During his three-year stint with the Stingarees, (Martin) posted a stellar 102-10 (.911) overall record and captured three consecutive Florida 6A State Championships (1996, 1997, 1998). Martin's last two squads compiled impressive 36-1 records and finished among the nation's top 5 in the USA Today Top 25 poll, including a program-best No. 2 following the 1997-98 season."

Oh, gosh. That's just wrong. Martin did not win three state championships at Miami High. In his last year at the school, his team did not finish 36-1, the record advertised on his bio. That year, 1997-98, the Stingarees actually finished with a record of 0-37. They forfeited every single game, and Martin was fired.

But just to bring it home...Steve Blake was on the Maryland team that knocked KU out of the 2002 Final Four!

tolawdjk 8 years, 9 months ago

So do the wins become losses? Did we play in a national championship against a team that was 0-1 at the time or 0-39?

Write2Know 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious if they had won championship and had to vacate it. Would the runner up become the national champion or would there simply be no national champion that year?

3crookedhearts 8 years, 9 months ago

If Mario had not made that shot and nothing else had happened, it would read:

NCAA 2008 Men's Basketball Champions: *vacant

Practicality 8 years, 9 months ago

Why is it that one never hears about academic fraud concerning their student-athletes at places like Harvard or Yale or Stanford or Brown or Penn etc. etc. ?

truman1902 8 years, 9 months ago

This comes under the heading "No BAD deeds go UNPUNISHED!! Coach Gillespie is fortunate to have been released from that ZOO and replaced by Calipari...Hey Kentucky, how's your SUPER-COACH hire look to ya NOW!!

DRsmith 8 years, 9 months ago

The Calipari hire is looking great. He has 0 NCAA violations, check some of the bigger names like Roy boy and see if they have 0 violations. The hire will look much better when we hand your *sses to you in the tourney.

Matt Warman 8 years, 9 months ago

Calipari should be run out of the college game. He has two strikes against him and will get the third at Kentucky, who is no stranger to NCAA violations. You get what you pay for, Kentucky. Enjoy the probe.

Jock Navels 8 years, 9 months ago

kentucky is as kentucky does...hey mayer, do one of your historical columns about the time they were banned from almost everything for a year because of gambling connections.

july241983 8 years, 9 months ago

This is how we gain on Kentucky in the all-time wins category. We just need one season in which UK is forced to forfeit all of their games because of Calipari. It's just a matter of time, right?

kcgregory 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm as big a KU fan as anybody, but how is this different than Darrell having his grade changed? The NCAA clearinghouse cleared both players (and I believe that was the reason we didn't get punished?). Was Memphis involved in the false SAT test? Please help me out.

Bruce Bertsch 8 years, 9 months ago

Darrell was exonerated. He legally graduated from HS. Rose had someone else take his SAT. The two are not similar at all.

kcgregory 8 years, 9 months ago

His high school team got the title stripped so exonerated is a little strong to say the least. And this is ridiculous: 'The two are not similar at all.' I won't point all the ways they're similar, but for one they both deal with a player being eligible or not based on what happened in high school. Anybody else have a good answer?

kcgregory 8 years, 9 months ago

I do recall the reports that came out saying KU would not be punished for Arthur's grade change and reports that Arthur wasn't responsible for it if that's what you're referring to as 'exonerated'. The problem is I'm also seeing the reports the Memphis will be punished for Rose's SAT mess. My point is that the NCAA is a joke and hypocritical. I don't see a difference. My question is how do they decide? I'm happy about their decision with KU b/c how could we know when NCAA clears him, but I think Memphis should get the same treatment.

KansasVoter 8 years, 9 months ago

How do you get away with having someone else take your SAT? Back when I took it the test was harder to get into than a bar, plus it was given at the high school so everybody knew everybody.

Rick Aldrich 8 years, 9 months ago


mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

I think when colleges are stripped of wins, they should have to return the tv money or any money gained, also. That would really hurt, and keep schools from doing stupid stuff.

rgh 8 years, 9 months ago

Calipari should have these penalties follow him also. In this case in appears Memphis personnel also knew about the infraction thus should pay up with the losses. This has now happened at two different schools with Calipari so Kentucky should be giving up a couple of scholarships for the next few years for hiring a corrupt coach.

I understand some of the comments about the wins not meaning much, but they do. Memphis set an NCAA record for the most wins in one season which is now gone, and Calapari has lost games (some at UMass) to his overall record.

Kentucky better double check every single recruit of his before they actually win a championship and have to forfeit it later. I'd hate to be one of his "legal" players and lose a ring, but would love to physically get to remove his and smash it with a hammer.

townoriginal 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure I agree that the entire school has to suffer, well, at least not the entire team. Are there going to be specific penalities to the player that willing violated the rules? Does this make him inelligible for the NBA now? Can he be fired? The school as an institution should have penalties but they won those games, as a team, why should the rest of the team lose now. Some of those guys have a lot to be proud of. I don't see all of this as fair.

Matt Woodard 8 years, 9 months ago

"The player was accused of having another person take his SAT exam so he would be eligible as a freshman. Memphis argued it did not have enough information to substantiate the allegations in November 2007 and cleared him to play.

However, the SAT officials later conducted their own investigation and notified the player, the university and the NCAA's eligibility center that they were canceling his test in May 2008.

The agency said it sent letters to the player in March and April 2008; the latter letter was sent three days after Rose and the Tigers lost to the Jayhawks. The player did not respond to either letter."

So both he AND the University were notified on a few occasions that there was a problem and they did nothing. Nothing happened to the player (who had to know he never took the test .. you'd think). He kept playing games after they "sent letters to the player in March" of 2008. No response. This is not the way to prove innocence or ignorance to the situation.

This is strike two for Cal. The second time he has had to forfeit a Final Four berth. Both seasons... his team played Kansas, and both times lost to the National Champion (Kentucky in '96/Kansas in '08). Perhaps we SHOULD beg to play them next season in the NCAA's just to see what happens.

Matt Woodard 8 years, 9 months ago was another UMASS team that beat us... perhaps later in the 90's... my error.

Matt Woodard 8 years, 9 months ago

... or it could have been Rhode Island... lol ... uh, yep. Guess I should stop hitting the "sauce" in the afternoons. Then again...

DRsmith 8 years, 9 months ago

The NCAA is full of it. Noone at Memphis including Calipari had any clue about Rose cheating. Read the report, it is out there now. They basically said it doesn't matter than noone at the school had a clue, he played when he wasn't eligible and the school must suffer. Until there is some kind of punishment for the Rose's, Camby's, and Magette's of the world this will continue to happen.

kcgregory 8 years, 9 months ago

"some kind of punishment for the Rose's, Camby's, and Magette's of the world this will continue to happen."

I think there's several fine lines in these cases but if you're lumping those three together then Duke should have been punished just like UMASS and Memphis. The NCAA has an impossible job, but I think once they do catch impropriety they should try to rule consistently.

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