Kentucky Basketball: The Calipari Double-Standard Deepens

South Carolina has serious problems with agents interacting with players.  Hello, Steve Spurrier, captain of the ship -- where are the calls for his resignation?

A.J. Green sold his jersey to an agent for ... $1,000?  Really?  Who would think that $1,000 would be too much to pay for a college player's jersey who's never won a national title?  Mark Richt?  Bueller?  Anybody?

Bruce Pearl commits an outright NCAA violation -- unethical conduct, the very worst violation available, the one that could draw the show-cause penalty -- but Tennessee wants him to be coach for life.

Connecticut gets sanctioned for NCAA violations in basketball.  Jim Calhoun gets an extension and his assistants get the boot.

No, I'm not calling for these coach's heads. That, in itself, sets me apart from a hefty percentage of the sports media, who have and continue to call for John Calipari's head, who say he's bad for the game.  Even though Calipari has the outright leg up on Pearl and Calhoun and has done no worse than Spurrier or Richt in the sense that players under their charge have allegedly or actually violated the rules of amateurism, that won't stop many fans and sportswriters from waxing all indignant.

I have long argued that there was a double standard playing out against Calipari, and all one has to do is to look at the news anytime over the last month to see how right I am.  The fact of the matter is, many coaches have had players violate NCAA rules and never had anyone say a discouraging word.  Some have directly violated NCAA rules themselves and nobody ever says boo (I'm looking at you, Roy Williams).  Williams presided over the Jayhawk program when there were multiple recruiting violations, not just the post-eligibility gifts that Williams specifically knew of and sanctioned, but apparently did not know were wrong.

Yeah, buddy, the captain of the ship is where the buck stops, all right -- unless you are a media darling like Williams or Jim Calhoun. When you have that "Aw, shucks that weren't no daggum violation," or "Don't blame me, it was my assistants!", or even "I'm sooo sorry I lied [sniff, sniff].  I learned from this you should always tell the truth, not just when you wanna", you don't have a thing to worry about, the sportswriters are just lining up to be the first to buy your story. 

Calipari, now, he never blamed his assistants, never got blamed by the NCAA, never broke down in faux tears, never acted like he didn't know the rules, never lied to the NCAA, and yet he is somehow worse.  Go figure.

I just want to point out the abject hypocrisy of the media types blasting Calipari constantly.  It has come to the point that people who don't know the first thing about Calipari's past dislike him just because of all the ridiculous negativity that sportswriters feel comfortable, nay, even justified in offering up about him.  Some, like the New York Times' Pete Thamel, have been driven past the edge of reason into an outright crusade against Coach Cal.

Every time a sportswriter wants to wax all indignant about the smarmy part of college sports and be guaranteed a bunch of hits, a polemic against Calipari is surely forthcoming.  Whenever a sportswriter needs the archetype of unethical behavior for the purposes of comparison or rebuke to tighten up his sanctimonious screed, Calipari is always #1 on the list.

The more programs that get dragged into the NCAA's crosshairs for a player answering the siren's call of an agent, the more I hearken back to the UMass "scandal," which is factually indistinguishable from many of today's investigations (unless, of course, the NCAA actually finds these coaches culpable).  The only one that isn't is the the case against Pearl, which is much, much worse than anything Calipari has ever been credibly accused of by anyone, and Tennessee is happy to keep him around.

This little diatribe is just to set the record straight.  If your coach is under investigation for players being paid by agents, your coach, no matter how beloved, is just as guilty as Calipari -- and more guilty if he knew and did not turn them in.

But hey, keep it up.  It gives me nothing but pleasure to expose the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance surrounding Calipari.

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