John Calipari and Jim Calhoun are two of the top coaches of my generation. That is hard to dispute. However, many people like to discredit coaches based on NCAA violations. And that’s fine. That said, some people need to more carefully review the facts before choosing who to throw under the bus.
The two incidents that people point to regarding Calipari took place at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis.
At UMass, the school’s 1996 Final Four banner was taken away after it was uncovered that Marcus Camby took money from an agent. At Memphis, the NCAA has alleged Derrick Rose only became eligible after an “unknown individual” completed his SAT. This is something that Rose has still refused to admit to.
People seem to conveniently forget that the NCAA completely cleared Calipari of any wrongdoing in the Camby case. And, to date Calipari isn’t in trouble for the alleged problems at Memphis.
On the other hand, you only have to go back one month to find coach Jim Calhoun’s latest NCAA violation. Due to this infringement, Uconn is being put on probation and will be losing a scholarship for three seasons. Additionally, Calhoun will miss three games next season due to an NCAA suspension. This is only the latest issue in Storrs. Yet, we do not hear much about it.
I will propose two main reasons for this.
First, Calipari is not a likable guy to even the neutral observer. Coach Cal comes off as a suave, business man. He might remind you of that boss you hated. On the other hand, Calhoun seems like a working man.
The second reason might just be ESPN. The worldwide leader is based down the street from Uconn’s campus. A ton of their employees went to school there. It seems like it is going to take a lot to get an Calhoun violations to go over their airwaves with any frequency.
It’s not like ESPN doesn’t like a good recruiting violation story. The network will kill other coaches in both college basketball and football. I see an unfair bias here.
Coach Calipari has never been suspended by the NCAA. A suspension for a collegiate basketball coach is a stiff, stiff punishment. Calhoun will be suspended next season. But you’d never know it the way the average fan and even some of the most knowledgeable media act. Let me write that summary out so it’s simple to read:
- John Calipari has never been convicted of a major NCAA violation.
- Jim Calhoun has been convicted of a very major NCAA violation.
I hope that helps get the point across. Maybe Calipari is not perfectly unblemished, but what coaches are? I will never understand how Calhoun is a saint, and Calipari is a criminal in many people’s eyes.
Congratulations to both coaches for making it to another Final Four. There is indeed one coach with major bagged heading to Houston, but based on the facts, it isn’t Calipari.