Wed May 27 10:05pm EDT
Memphis fans, you may now begin freaking out. Kentucky fans, you may now begin getting slightly unnerved. According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the NCAA sent a letter to the Memphis athletic department today alleging major violations against the school's basketball program under John Calipari. Chief among the allegations is "knowing and fraudulent" misconduct on an SAT exam in the 2007-08 season. The NCAA is also charging Memphis with "failure to monitor" in regards to $2,000-plus in free travel to "an associate of a player."
In other words, it's bad.
There are, though, a few important take-a-deep-breath caveats. One: Josh Pastner wasn't a member of the Memphis staff at the time of any of the allegations, so his name is apparently clear. Two: Memphis as a program wasn't cited with "lack of institutional control," which would be even worse. Three: John Calipari isn't named in the report. (That sound you hear is Kentucky fans jumping.) He is, however, being asked to attend the hearing. Either way, not good.
What does the charge mean? The name of the player is redacted, but the letter -- which you can read here -- is phrased in such a way that it seems the player in question played only the 2007-08 season and 2008 NCAA tournament. The only player on that team who played only one tournament would be Derrick Rose, Mr. No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
So the charge means, essentially, that someone in the Memphis program (or someone outside it) faked Derrick Rose's SAT scores, and that someone within the Memphis program knew about it. No good SAT score means no good Derrick Rose means, probably, no really good NCAA tournament runner-up finish in 2008, and so on. You get the picture.
The biggest fallout here could be related to John Calipari. After all, his hire at Kentucky has made the biggest college hoops coaching splash in recent memory, and the only temper to UK's enthusiasm has been the uncomfortable notion that Calipari's past has its share of clear calls with the NCAA. This is another. Maybe it's nothing; maybe Calipari escapes from this unscathed, just like before. Or maybe not. Maybe this is the one that finally brings Calipari down. That's the outcome Kentucky fans -- and college basketball fans at large, honestly -- don't want to think about.