When Dennis Thomas, commissioner of the MEAC and current chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions penned his five page single-spaced letter to UK president Dr. Lee Todd demanding a statement that UK had celebrated coach John Calipari's 500th victory in error, you knew that there would be a backlash. You knew that UK fans weren't going to take being singled out lying down, and were going to make both the NCAA and Thomas pay for this assault on their beloved institution and basketball program.
This morning, John Clay has a piece that is sure to help keep those flames burning. We here at A Sea of Blue are just as outraged that Thomas has evidently looked the other way in his own conference, or at the very least, did not ensure his own former school was in order before pointing out the junk in UK's trunk.
Not only that, many of these newly-identified worthies have been violating this policy much longer than UK was. Obviously, that sticks in the craw of every Kentucky fan. Thomas invited Sandy Bell, associate athletics director for compliance, to identify other such violators and assured her he would react accordingly. Fans and the media have now done so in her stead, and inasmuch as it was a "rival fan" email that prompted the initial contact from the NCAA, nothing more should be required for Mr. Thomas' COI to act.
Rest assured, A Sea of Blue (as well as almost every other UK fan site on the Internet) will not let go of this issue until everyone gets equal treatment, like the legendary snapping turtle that won't let go until it thunders. In this case, the thunder must come from Indianapolis.
Thomas has declined to comment, reinforcing Big Blue belief the NCAA is singling out Calipari and has it out for Kentucky basketball, in general.
Thomas has declined comment because there is really nothing to say. His actions are all that is required of him, not more commentary -- God knows we have had enough of his commentary for a lifetime.
Not just the Big Blue Nation, but all of college basketball should require Mr. Thomas and his committee to take action in equal measure in response to every single one of the cases that have been brought to his attention. If action is not taken timely (and "timely" is a highly fungible concept to the NCAA, but it should mean before next season), the University of Kentucky should demand to know why, in public and in writing, from the NCAA. There is a principle at stake here, and letting this matter die is not a principled response.
Schools who have been identified as violators of this new policy should immediately make the same changes that Kentucky made, unilaterally and posthaste. Apologies are not necessary, just correct records. Schools that fail to do so should be held to account not just by the NCAA, but by their fans, especially the ones who were outraged about Kentucky's actions.
Sauce for the goose, Mr. Thomas. We'll be watching, and trust me, it can get worse.