I'm Mitch Barnhart! I drive a Dodge Stratus! Wait, Memphis is being investigated for what now?
One detail I overlooked in the hectic mess that was my Thursday evening is this: Memphis received the notice of allegations from the NCAA on Jan. 16. That's well before Calipari left the Tigers to take his new, high-profile job at Kentucky. Clearly, he knew his former program was under investigation. Did Calipari tell Kentucky at the time of his hiring about the investigation? If so, what made Kentucky comfortable going through with the hiring?
Through a terse statement released by Kentucky early Thursday morning, we have our answer: Calipari was "forthcoming" about the allegations and ensured, through a letter sent to him by the NCAA, that he was under no threat of being charged with NCAA violations in the case. Kentucky's statement:
First and foremost, there are no NCAA allegations against UK Head Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari. Coach Calipari was forthcoming with the University of Kentucky during the hiring process about any issues under investigation at the University of Memphis at that time. It is normal procedure for the NCAA to ask a former coach to participate in a hearing. Therefore, Coach Calipari will participate as requested.
Coach John Calipari has received a letter from the NCAA stating that he is not at risk of being charged with any NCAA violations in this case.
This is a University of Memphis issue and the University of Kentucky will not comment any further.
So, there you go. Technically, Calipari is at no risk, and so Kentucky is at no risk. UK fans, breathe deep.
Or get angry. What's the proper reaction here? After all, while Calipari and Kentucky apparently took the proper steps to ensure his past indiscretions wouldn't follow him to his new job, UK also went ahead with hiring a person whose former program is under the gun for major violations. It's a big deal. It would be a little like if you walked into a job interview at an auto body shop and told your prospective employers, "Hey, guys, heads up here. Don't freak out, but ... some dudes that used to work for me at Memphis Tiger Body are being prosecuted for grand theft auto. I'm cleared of all charges, but I wanted to let you know. Just something to keep in mind as we go through this process." How long would that interview last?
Most people already think Calipari's one of the more, shall we say, unethical coaches in the game and sorry, but if your star player has his SAT faked for him, there's a pretty good chance you know about it. Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart -- and the rich old boosters who coughed up the millions in salary money -- apparently want to win so much they're OK with that. Will that trade-off ever catch up with Calipari? If it does, UK will be next.