NCAA rejects Memphis' final appeal of vacated wins

Calipari disappointed by loss

jtipton@herald-leader.comMarch 23, 2010 

Sweet 16 week began in a sour way for Kentucky Coach John Calipari.

He learned Monday that his former employer, the University of Memphis, lost an appeal of penalties imposed on the Calipari-coached team of 2007-08.

The judgment let stand penalties imposed last August that included vacating the Tigers' NCAA-record 38 victories and a 2008 Final Four appearance, plus forfeiture of NCAA Tournament revenue.

Calipari officially lost a second Final Four appearance. His first vacated Final Four came in 1996 when Massachusetts star Marcus Camby subsequently admitted taking improper gifts from an agent.

The rejection of the Memphis appeal also meant that Calipari loses 38 victories from his coaching career.

The latter had two official ramifications: Calipari is no longer the only Division I coach to win 30 or more games in five straight seasons. And he no longer shares with Roy Williams the distinction of being the only Division I coaches to win 400 or more games in the first 16 seasons as a head coach.

Coincidentally, UK, 34-2, can regain the record 38 victories for Calipari by winning this year's NCAA Tournament.

Calipari issued a prepared statement on his Web site.

"This will be the only statement I make regarding the NCAA's decision on the University of Memphis appeal," he said. "I am disappointed in the Association's denial of the appeal and I'm saddened for the players who worked so hard for all we accomplished that season.

"My hope is that individual player records for games played and won over a four year period will stand."

NCAA spokesman Stacey Osburn said individual player records will not be affected. The exception is star guard Derrick Rose, who was ruled retroactively ineligible by the NCAA after his SAT score was invalidated by the Educational Testing Service. Memphis must strike his statistics from its records.

The university appealed, asserting that the penalties were excessive, an NCAA news release said. The Infractions Appeals Committee found "no basis" to grant the appeal.

In its appeal, the university argued that there was insufficient evidence to show the school or Rose had reason to know he would become ineligible. And even if the evidence was judged sufficient, the Committee on Infractions erred by not specifically concluding that the university or Rose had reason to know, the release said.

The Infractions Appeals Committee noted that a letter from the testing agency to Rose "not only made the student-athlete aware that his eligibility was in serious jeopardy, but that he would be declared ineligible if he did not respond to the letter," the news release said.

Memphis released a statement saying it "strongly disagrees" with the judgement.

"I am extremely disappointed with the findings," Athletics Director R.C. Johnson said in a prepared statement. "However, the ruling has been handed down ,and we must move forward. The future of Tiger athletics is indeed, very bright."

Writers honor Wall

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association named UK's John Wall its national Freshman of the Year and Ohio State's Evan Turner as its national Player of the Year. Wall and Turner were the consensus choice by voters in all of the association's nine geographical districts.

Wall became the first Kentucky player to win either of the association's major awards.

Turner became the first national player of the year from Ohio State since Jerry Lucas won his second straight USBWA Player of the Year award in 1962.

Pep rally set

The UK Alumni Association has scheduled a pep rally for Thursday in Syracuse. It will be at P.J.'s Pub & Grill, 116 Walton Street, Armory Square, beginning at 7 p.m.

P.J.'s Pub & Grill is about two miles from the Carrier Dome. Parking is available, and bus shuttles run from Armory Square to the Carrier Dome during games.

The cost is $20 for UK Alumni Association members and $25 for non-members. Reservations must be made by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

If Kentucky advances to the Elite Eight, the UK Alumni Association plans another party on Saturday at P.J.'s, beginning two hours before tip-off.

For information or to register, contact the UK Alumni Association at 1-800-269-2586 or (859) 257-7161 or visit www.ukalumni.net/2010ncaatournament.

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