As I'm sure most of you are aware, the ongoing saga of the Kentucky Pros vs. the Dominican Republic National Team took an unexpected turn Saturday. It seems as though the NCAA did not step in and deny former UK coach Joe B. Hall the chance to coach the Kentucky team in the August 15 exhibition. Instead, it looks as though the decision-makers at UK opted to pull Hall and former UK player Sam Bowie off the sidelines for fear of fracturing an NCAA bylaw.
After much derision and castigation were thrown its way from all corners of the blogosphere, twitter-sphere, and radio, the NCAA came out with this statement (found on the NCAA web site), which says in so many words; it twasn't us who stopped Hall and Bowie from coaching the game.
"Public speculation, fueled by inaccurate media reporting, incorrectly assumed the NCAA denied former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall the opportunity to coach in an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic. In reality, the University of Kentucky withdrew its involvement and association with this event due to a conflict with member mandated NCAA bylaws. These bylaws prohibit member schools from participating in events that pay former players and raise funds to benefit teams that include prospective student-athletes."
More fun after the jump.
Kentucky has known since the inception (or at least, very nearly after) of the Kentucky Pros vs. the Dominican Republic exhibition game, that UK could not be affiliated with the contest. I speculate, after Joe B. Hall and Sam Bowie were announced as coaches of the Kentucky squad via John Calipari's twitter account, that someone, possibly someone in the UK compliance office, brought up the possibility of an ex-coach and ex-player roaming the sidelines during the contest just might fall under the umbrella of the NCAA bylaw which prohibits UK from participating in the event. (I'm still not clear on why Hall is not allowed to coach the Kentucky team, but is allowed to assist Calipari with the Dominicans).
Now, the other confusing aspect of this summer melodrama, is why did UK allow the NCAA to take the blame for this fiasco? After all, that's a legitimate question. It's a legitimate question asked by many, most notably John Clay on his Sidelines blog. And one which, quite frankly, deserves the full attention and scrutiny of the Big Blue Nation -- How could University officials clam-up, when clearly an injustice was being perpetrated against the NCAA from all corners of the fourth estate.
Really, I got to thinking, hmm, why did Kentucky sit silent while all manner of hell and brimstone reigned down on the NCAA? And then, like a Phoenix, rising out of Arizona (to steal a quote from the immortal Frank Costanza), it hit me about my head and face ... could it be because of the recent rancor and strife between the UK and the NCAA? Could it be because the people at UK aren't exactly enamored with the decisions (and attitude) coming out of Indianapolis? Could it be because the NCAA is the least likely institution (since the Third Reich bit the dust more than half-a-century ago), to sympathize, leaving them to search high and low for sympathizers? Could it be because the NCAA is quickly losing credibility, and UK wants to further that feeling among its member institutions, even if for only a short time? Could it be because this is exactly the type of decision that perfectly fits the m.o. of the NCAA?
I can hear the conversation now. UK official "A" speaking with UK official "B," as they walked to lunch Saturday afternoon:
UK official A: "Well, the papers, Internet, and call-in shows are rippin' the NCAA over this Hall thing. You think we should say something publicly to take the poor bastards off the hook?"
UK official B: "Say something!?" Did you say, 'say something!?' What, are you out of your freakin' mind?! @#*&^$ the NCAA. Let'em take the blame for a while. They're probably hiring extra security as we speak, the spineless weasels. Let them come out with something. I mean, c'mon, those guys aren't too bright so maybe they'll hang themselves with some asinine statement." Etc, etc.
Why did UK allow the NCAA to twist in the wind? To me at least, it's pretty obvious.
Coach K Cold Busted
Evidently, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski absolutely vaporized the 'bump' rule. According to Alex Poythress, a 6'7" hotly recruited forward out of Clarksville, TN, Krzyzewski not only (illegally) spoke to him during an AAU event last week in Orlando, but the Duke coach offered him a scholarship. No using the Bruce Pearl, the-player-initiated-the-conversation excuse by Coach K here.
It will be interesting to see how the NCAA reacts to this. After all, one has to assume Coach K knows he's not allowed to talk to recruits at AAU events (a silly rule, though, if you ask me), so following that logic, Krzyzewski intentionally broke an NCAA bylaw. Who knew K was such a renegade?
If true, Coach K now has one more recruiting violation (1) than John Calipari (0).
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!