Here we go again: TMZ reports NCAA is investigating Kentucky

Jeff Eisenberg

It has been just over a month since anyone accused the Kentucky basketball program of violating NCAA rules, so of course we were overdue for a fresh set of allegations.

Nestled between stories on MMA fighters drinking their own urine and celebrity biker Jesse James' custody battle with his ex-wife comes a report from TMZ entitled "Kentucky basketball players subject of an NCAA probe." A source who claims to have been interviewed by an investigator tells TMZ that the NCAA is taking "an aggressive look" at the relationship between two current and two recently drafted Wildcats and prospective agents.

In the case of one former Wildcat, we're told the NCAA wants to know about his relationship with his current agent. We're told the investigator asked about multiple meetings the agent allegedly had with the player ... dating back to the player's senior year in high school.

The insinuation is the agent had an arrangement with the player before he went to Kentucky.

Although TMZ made a successful foray into college basketball earlier this year when it reported that Oklahoma freshman Tiny Gallon accepted $3,000 from a financial adviser, this story seems a little flimsier. The whole report hinges on one anonymous source, to whom NCAA officials apparently revealed the entire scope of their investigation.

If the NCAA truly is investigating Kentucky, it would represent another blow to John Calipari, whose legacy as one of the most successful coaches of his era has been tarnished by violations under his watch. Calipari's Final Four teams at Memphis and UMass both had their records expunged by the NCAA, the former because Marcus Camby accepted thousands of dollars from a sports agent and the latter because Derrick Rose's SAT scores were ruled invalid.

What the TMZ story and the New York Times report in late May have really shown us is that Calipari needs to be extra careful to err on the side of caution in all aspects of his program. Every media outlet in the country is aware of Calipari's history, so reporters are more vigilant and more aggressive than usual investigating potential wrongdoing.

If Calipari is going to continue to pursue one-and-done caliber talent and encourage those players' NBA aspirations, then Kentucky also might want to beef up its compliance staff.

It would behoove the Wildcats to know as much as possible about the backgrounds of their players before they get to Lexington because someone else is probably already looking for a skeleton in the closet.