John Clay: Drama of college athletics exhausting

Alleged misdeeds everywhere

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistSeptember 15, 2010 

John Clay

So you say you're starting to feel a little onset of JCF.

That's John Calipari Fatigue.

My advice: Down a can of Red Bull, pick up a newspaper or jump on the Internet and read about the epidemic.

See, any JCF is an underlying symptom of CAF.

That's College Athletics Fatigue.

On Tuesday, the Birmingham News fleshed out troubling details in Eric Bledsoe's academic history, first brought to light by a New York Times story in May.

This is a week after The New York Times also quoted the general manager of a Turkish basketball team as saying Enes Kanter was paid more than $100,000 to play basketball in his home country.

This is a month after the Chicago Sun-Times posted allegations about the father of eventual UK basketball commitment Anthony Davis.

We won't even get into the whole Calipari, Derrick Rose, Memphis, vacated, SAT mess from last year.

But then is Tennessee getting BPF, Bruce Pearl Fatigue, after all the Tennessee trouble over the past nine months?

It was just last New Year's Day when four joy-riding Vols were arrested on felony weapon charges. Then last Friday, there was Pearl tearily admitting he lied to NCAA investigators about potential recruiting violations.

Few on Rocky Top called for Pearl's ouster, maybe because they remember what the basketball program was like before Pearl arrived.

Is Florida experiencing UMF after running back Chris Rainey was arrested early Tuesday on aggravated stalking charges? The arrest brings the number of Gators who have allegedly run afoul of the law during Urban Meyer's tenure to just shy of 30.

Ah, but more important to Gator Nation is the number two, as in Meyer has won two national championships.

Is South Carolina getting SSF now that the Gamecocks are being investigated by the NCAA over football players who spent considerable time at a no-tell Columbia hotel? No-tell, as in rates.

Don't be blaming Steve Spurrier, says Gamecock Nation, thanks to a strong 2-0 start, including last Saturday's win over Georgia. Besides, in freshman tank Marcus Lattimore, Coach Superior finally has himself a running game.

Or maybe, these days, scandal and college athletics are so intertwined and predictable, the majority of fandom shrugs it off as the price of doing business.

Winning business.

That shouldn't detract from Jon Solomon's well-reported piece in the Birmingham News in advance of the expected release of a report from an outside firm hired by the Birmingham schools to investigate Bledsoe's record.

The investigation was prompted by the original Times story, which questioned how the star guard was able to reach college eligibility requirements, and the circumstances of his recruitment.

The Times story was written from the NCAA probe angle. The Solomon story concentrates on transcript discrepancies, plus the fact that the guard took Algebra 3 before taking Algebra 2, and received A's in both classes.

Asked for an explanation, Bledsoe's former principal, Joseph Martin said, "I'm going to my grave with that."

In response, some Kentucky fans are asking the "What about?" questions. What about the newspaper gaining access to Bledsoe's private transcript? What about Kansas and Darrell Arthur, didn't a similar thing happen there, with no penalty to the Jayhawks? What about the fact grades are sometimes changed for perfectly legitimate reasons?

What about the unfairness of if all, that UK could have been unaware of any grade change, but might be punished nonetheless?

Legitimate questions, all, especially the last one. And for those fatigued with all this off-the-court drama already in Calipari's otherwise short tenure, take solace in one true thing.

No matter where you might be, or who you might root for, these days there's a lot of CAF going around.

Reach John Clay at (859) 231-3226 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3226, or jclay@herald-leader.com. Read his blog at Kentucky.com.

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