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NCAA Looks Into UK Signee Noel; Cat Fans Shouldn’t Complain

The top college basketball signee in the nation is getting an extra once-over from NCAA officials, according to The New York Times.  Two assistant directors of enforcement who specialize in basketball-related issues traveled to Everett, Massachusetts this week to talk with school officials there about Kentucky signee Nerlens Noel — he of the big fade haircut and bigger expectations.  Noel attended Everett High School as a freshman and sophomore before moving on to Titlon School, a boarding school in New Hampshire the past two years.

According to the principal at Everett High, the meeting with NCAA officials lasted just over an hour and centered on “concerns we had as adults” for Noel.  ”It was a conversation, very collegial,” Louis Baldi said.  ”That was really it.  They didn’t ask me any investigative-type questions.”

Pete Thamel of The Times reports that according to a source, the NCAA has questions about Noel’s relationship “with Chris Driscoll, a former Providence assistant who is close to Noel.”  Driscoll was barred from the campus of Tilton School this past year.  Tilton officials — according to Thamel — “expressed concern earlier this year that Driscoll did not have Noel’s best interests at heart.”  Driscoll has denied that allegation in the past, but he did not return Thamel’s call this time around.

The NCAA also has questions about Errol Randolph, a former substitute teacher at Everett High, who became one of the Noel’s advisors.  Randolph was at one point connected to basketball agent Andy Miller via  That raised questions.

In addition, a source has also told Thamel that NCAA officials plan to ask about Noel’s finances since “he flew on unofficial visits this year to Kentucky and Louisville that were not paid for by the universities.”

Officials at Tilton School told The Times they would cooperate with the NCAA if they showed up to ask questions about Noel.  ”I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned up,” said headmaster Jim Clements.

Not cooperating — at least not to date — has been Leo Papile, the coach of Noel’s former Boston-based AAU team.  NCAA officials have tried unsuccessfully to reach Papile, too.


Okay, so that’s the heart of it.  Quite naturally, many Kentucky fans are already claiming this is just another Thamel/Times-led witch hunt with John Calipari and the UK program already pre-fitted with pointy hats and brooms.  In reality, yeah, that may be the case… but it’s part of the Calipari package that UK fans should have known they were getting when they hired their Supercoach.

When Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart brought in Billy Gillispie five years ago, Calipari was famously left off Barnhart’s master list of candidates.  But when the SS Wildcat went down in stormy seas under Gillispie, Barnhart, Kentucky’s administration and a few mega-UK boosters decided Calipari would be a fine fit after all.  They hired him as their program’s new captain.

But with Calipari a school is guaranteed to get the following:


1.  The absolute best recruits in America.

2.  Great teams because of that great recruiting.

3.  An engaging, electric ambassador for their hoops program.

4.  Scrutiny from the NCAA because of all that great recruiting.

5.  Scrutiny from the media because Calipari has twice previously had ships crash into NCAA icebergs while he was at the wheel — at UMass and again at Memphis.


Calipari has never been found guilty of a thing, mind you.  Nothing big like illegal payments and inducements to players.  Nothing small like phone calls or barbecues.  He’s never been accused of lying to the NCAA or covering up an investigation.  They’ve found nothing on him.  Nada.  Zip.

But two programs he helmed had to vacate Final Four seasons due to things that took place on his watch.  When he was hired, all of America knew that Kentucky was in for increased scrutiny.  And, let’s be honest, Kentucky also has a long history of its own NCAA issues.

To put things in “Godfather II” terms, the NCAA is the Senate subcommittee and they seem to view Calipari as Michael Corleone, the head of a mafia family.  But to date, they haven’t been able to get any more proof on Calipari than the Senate did Corleone.  (Somewhere Frankie Five Angels is just settling in for his last bath.)

UK fans might not like the extra attention, but they shouldn’t complain about it.  They wanted wins.  Calipari has brought them wins.  He’s also brought along a trail of NCAA officials and investigative reporters.  So far, it hasn’t mattered.  Not in regards to Eric Bledsoe’s high school transcript.  Not in connection with wild rumors of payments made to Anthony Davis.  As we said before: nada, zip.

Perhaps the Noel situation is just another dead-end in the ongoing NCAA pursuit of Calipari and his programs.  Heck, according to The Times report, there’s nothing to suggest Calipari or UK did anything wrong with regards to Noel.  He’s their signee, yes, but the questions seem to be tied to the people around Noel, not to figures in Lexington.

But whatever the NCAA or The New York Times or Yahoo! Sports or anyone else digs up on Noel, Calipari or the UK program, Cat fans shouldn’t act surprised and they shouldn’t complain.  They knew what they were getting when they hired Calipari.  They just have to hope that he’s running as clean a ship as he is a successful one.

Because everyone’s watching him, his program and his recruits.  Fair or not.  That’s part of the Calipari package.



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I agree that UK knew who we were getting in bed with, and should have known we would be scrutinized more than usual.  And UK should know because of this it has to do more than typical due diligence while recruiting any athlete.  The problem is that if anyone is on a witch hunt of a program, they could most likely find a recruiting violation --- at most any major university.  And if we are guilty of a major infraction, then we should be penalized appropriately.  What some UK fans don't like, is that the biased witch-hunters aren't also called out for what they are; and the inconsistent and capricious rulings of the ncaa; and the inaccurate labeling/smearings of Calipari that you eluded to ... so that it just becomes assumed that we are guilty any time our name is mentioned related to a normal ncaa inquiry.  Just look at how the ncaa handled the investigation and reporting of cal's wins (compared to other coaches/teams that UK fans pointed out).  Has any journalist followed up on that?  Have those schools made all their corrections yet?  Did they receive letters from the NCAA?


Good article by the way --- well written and objective, thanks Mr. SEC

HarrySpears 1 Like

What about Coach K at Duke, Roy Williams at N. Caroline, they have baggage, but no one complains ??? The Sports world is in bed with those programs, like ESPN is !!!



BobbySlaughter 1 Like

As a Cat fan  who lives near Memphis and also a Memphis fan I was glad and sad when Cal went to KY.  He has proven that he is one of the top coaches in the college ranks.  People talk about the problems at UMass and Memphis and if a person really checks they will find that he wasn't involved in the violations plus he has letters from the NCAA stating so. Camby has made public statements that Cal had nothing to do with his violations. The NCAA told Memphis Three (3) times that Rose was clear to Play,  The NCAA later told Memphis if they pursued the Rose decision that it wouldn't be to their advantage.   The NCAA is a corrupt organization run by a corrupt person, Mark Emmert and his buddies who single out certain programs to manhandle.  If you program is Duke and your coach is K then you can do what ever and get by with it as with Corey Maggette.  Best thing that could happen would be if the top programs would leave the NCAA and form their own Sactioning Body and tell the NCAA where to go.


As a UK fan i disagree that we shouldn't complian or otherwise be upset about anything Calipari does here, We are the ones that pay for that program not Calipari. We buy the tickets to the games, we pay our tuition to the school, we purchase the merchandise, we pay for that program. Calipari is just the coach. And being the coach at UK means playing by the rules, we got burned by that before and none of us wants to be burned again. So saying we have no right to complain is baseless. We have every right to complain!

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Proving that some folks just don't get it... this story was actually written to say that UK fans shouldn't complain about NCAA witchhunts because they'll be the target of them as long as Calipari is at UK due to his history. 


You took it to mean this site was somehow pro-Calipari cheating?  That UK fans shouldn't complain if he cheats?





Greg Walters
Greg Walters 1 Like

Ok, so if no ones blaming Noels in the investigation, WHY bring it up?   I feel sorry for the kid, it's the people trying to ride on his coattails that are the problem, just like Cal with his former problems with people that you can't control.  I get a kick out of those  idiots that say KY's cheating or doing anything that violates the nature of the rules.  The man couldn't go to the bathroom w/out the NCAA knowing what he had for dinner.  DR. Roselle cleaned house at KY before he left for Rode Island.   The program is squeaky clean, get over it! 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Greg Walters...


You might want to tell that to The New York Times.  If you could read you'd realize that this site was simply informing SEC fans of their report.


So why don't you "get over it!"



Greg Walters
Greg Walters

 @John at MrSEC   Pete Thamel is in bed with the NCAA, I'm sure you know this.  Slanted story's from biased writers is nothing but axe grinding.  What makes you think we fans are not aware of what's going on with our program?   We hear about it from every axe grinding hack with a key board and an agenda.   I understood what you passed on from the NYT's and your opinion about us needing to get use to the fine tooth comb that the NCAA uses on us constantly.  Your just to dumb to understand that we've been used to that for years, NO NEWS THERE!   Objective writing?  No.  No way, no how.     

Greg Walters
Greg Walters

 @Greg Walters I will give you credit for being objective with the story input you inject into it.  So you have a need to look around and see it for what it is and what you can make of it.    But right here is were what go's in what's said, how it's said, means everything.  This is the real part of the story.   Here's were you might say you get your chance to let it RIP.   Now the story is gona go as you make it happen.  No you put it together and through it to the wolves  and say there it is I did my job,  If you have something to say I'll pick on you I'll act much smarter than you,I'll say you can't read, your just to damn dumb to understand my writing it's above you.    I'll talk about your  Jammies and your fuzzy rabbit shoes, and you,I'll say can't  blame me I was objective, I wrote word for word from Pete's book, I even traced the caps darker.   It's a master peice Only I can understand it I will tell you what  I want you to believe.  I understand you very well and understand Pete Thamel either works for or with the NCAA and he hates Cal and to a lesser degree UK.   We no.   What got us is not you writing a story telling us to expect it get use to it, no it's that Hacks like you give it credence by writing about it just to feed the flames........   



Long history of ncaa issues?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



If you don't know Kentucky's history with the NCAA, there's no need for me to even respond.




Heads up - I think you mean "UMass" above, not "UConn"

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



Corrected.  Thanks.  




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