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Jeff Eisenberg

Analyzing four key developments in the Eric Bledsoe story

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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In the three days since the New York Times revealed that the NCAA was looking into the eligibility of former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe, the story has dominated conversation in college basketball circles. Here's a look at four developments you may have missed while barbecuing or hitting the beach this holiday weekend:

• The Birmingham News reported that NCAA investigators questioned officials at one of Bledsoe's former high schools in late February, yet Kentucky sources told ESPN.com the NCAA has not contacted them about any investigation.

WHAT IT MEANS: The NCAA often takes forever gathering evidence for an investigation (see Bush, Reggie), yet it seems strange that this would drag on two months after the season ended without Kentucky being notified. Perhaps the NCAA interviewed people close to Bledsoe, failed to find sufficient proof that Bledsoe's academic transformation wasn't legitimate and tabled the matter for the time being? However, even if that's the case, the NCAA will probably be reopening its investigation in light of the landlord telling the New York Times that Bledsoe's high school coach paid the family's rent.

• Kentucky released a statement on Saturday noting that the NCAA clearinghouse reviewed Bledsoe's academic standing before the season and cleared him to play.

WHAT IT MEANS: The message from Kentucky is simple: the NCAA cleared Bledsoe, so the school shouldn't be blamed for not knowing something might be amiss. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the NCAA set a precedent in situations like these when it ordered Memphis to forfeit its 38 victories in 2008 after additional information raised questions about the validity of Derrick Rose's SAT scores. Memphis was not implicated in the NCAA investigation, yet it still was punished.

• Eric Bledsoe is considering a lawsuit against whoever leaked his transcript to the New York Times, according to a Kentucky Sports Radio report.

WHAT IT MEANS: If Bledsoe actually followed through with this plan and names a media organization in the suit, it probably means he believes no violations occurred. Any party named in the suit would have the right to subpoena his high school transcripts and other relevant documents, meaning if any incriminating evidence exists, it would surely come to light. Of course, history suggests there's a very good chance this is merely a PR move and Bledsoe has no plans of going ahead with the lawsuit. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks.

• Columnists from the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal vilified Kentucky coach John Calipari for taking unnecessary risks in recruiting and leaving a trail of violations in his wake.

WHAT IT MEANS: There's nothing tying Calipari to any of the alleged violations, but some of the criticism still seems legit. Since Calipari has a reputation for skirting the rules and is an obvious target for the NCAA and the national media, you'd think he'd be cautious in his recruiting in order to avoid future controversy. Instead he takes a prospect whose academic problems were well publicized and whose rise from a 1.9 GPA after his junior year to a 2.5 a year later was improbable to say the least. For those who say that nobody in the country would pass up a four- or five-star prospect, don't forget UCLA and USC rescinded offers to Renardo Sidney last year and most of the nation's top programs wouldn't touch Lance Stephenson. The scenarios aren't identical, but in both cases coaches decided the risk of signing an elite prospect outweighed the benefit.

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