June 17th, 2011 09:34 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Kentucky
Tags: Mitch Barnhart, NCAA, Sidenote Calipari, UK
There. Was that so hard?
University of Kentucky officials announced yesterday that they would indeed follow the NCAA’s wishes and drop John Calipari’s career win total back to 467, well shy of the 500 wins they celebrated last season.
A stink arose this week — and grew to ridiculous proportions — when the NCAA told UK to honor the body’s ruling and strip the wins it had vacated from Calipari’s record (due to issues under his watch at UMass and Memphis) from the school’s records. Kentucky officials then let the situation fester in the local and national press.
But yesterday, the school released this statement to the press:
“After consulting with the NCAA, the University of Kentucky has been informed that the honoring of our head men’s basketball coach for his 500th career victory on Feb. 26, 2011 was in error and that, henceforth, we will reflect our head men’s basketball coach’s career record in our media guides, Internet sites and other publications consistent with the NCAA’s official records and statistics.”
First, it wasn’t an “error” on UK’s part. The school knew its coach had had victories vacated and Big Blue officials chose to ignore that fact and honor his 458th official victory as if it was his 500th.
But here’s the thing — the NCAA had asked UK to apologize. There’s no apology in the above statement. The NCAA also wanted to approve the wording of the release. No word on whether or not they did. (And yes, even though we understand the NCAA’s desire for schools to actually recognize its penalties, we still believe the apology/approval part was pretty darn ticky-tack.)
Calipari’s comment to CatsIllustrated.com (the Rivals’ site covering Kentucky) wisely attempted to put a nice recruiting spin on this brouhaha:
“Let’s just say my record is 0-0. I’m fine with that. This is about those kids, and that’s what I’ve always been about.”
The NCAA has now put its foot down with Kentucky. Here’s hoping that it follows up by showing some consistency and making sure schools (like UMass) aren’t hanging Final Four banners from trips that — in the NCAA’s eyes — aren’t supposed to be recognized.
(Sidenote — Calipari also told CatsIllustrated.com that he is currently in talks with UK about a contract extension just as Mitch Barnhart had stated tweeted. The coach made it clear that UK approached him and that he thinks “it’s a good thing.”)
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