Lawyer for Bledsoe's coach expects vindication 'pretty soon'

Eligibility issues will be discussed Monday in Alabama

jtipton@herald-leader.comJune 5, 2010 

The lawyer representing Eric Bledsoe's high school coach said Friday that he expects vindication of his client and the former Kentucky player by early next week.

"I think it's going to come to an end pretty soon," said Reginald McDaniel, a lawyer representing Maurice Ford, the former basketball coach at Parker High School in Birmingham, Ala.

Vindication — on the state level — will come after Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon meets Monday with Alabama High School Athletic Association officials, McDaniel said.

A story in The New York Times last weekend prompted the meeting. The story alleged that Ford paid several months rent for Bledsoe and marketed him to colleges for a price. The story also raised questions about Bledsoe's academic improvement once he transferred to Parker High late in his junior year.

Ford denied the allegations and retained McDaniel as his attorney.

"I feel confident when they look at it, they'll see nobody did anything wrong," McDaniel said of the Monday meeting. "When they review the facts, they'll have no choice but to come to that conclusion."

Witherspoon told The Birmingham News earlier this week that he hoped the meeting would address "eligibility issues" and ways to prevent future allegations of this nature.

The Monday meeting will help Birmingham City Schools decide whether to advance from "fact-finding" to a more formal investigation of the allegations, Witherspoon told the newspaper.

McDaniel spoke in clear terms of his expectation that "rumors will be put to rest."

But the lawyer acknowledged that he could only speak about how he thought Monday's meeting could influence the Birmingham City Schools superintendent and the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

"We don't know what the NCAA is doing," he said.

Meanwhile, UK Coach John Calipari told ESPN that the NCAA was not investigating his program.

"It's not true," Calipari said. "When you're coaching at Kentucky, you're held to a different standard and like in politics there is a core group that absolutely loves you and everyone else is trying to unseat you in any way they can — anything to trip you up, that's what it is."

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