I swear, some things you just can't make up.
Gary Parrish and Clay Travis, both in separate pieces, have actually belittled Memphis Athletics director R.C. Johnson for not being corrupt enough to keep John Calipari at Memphis. I know that stories like the Memphis investigation sometimes produce some weird columns, but these two are just ... Well, you judge for yourself. First, we'll look at Parrish:
When it became clear that Kentucky was seriously interested in Calipari, Memphis countered with a contract worth more than the contract Kentucky offered. That was bold. But as it turns out, all the school had to do to keep Calipari was leak the NCAA letter.
It really would've been that easy.
Remember, there was a big debate about whether UK should mess with Calipari and his reputation; that was the hurdle. And though the pro-Calipari people ultimately convinced the anti-Calipari people that winning is the most important thing, that would've been an impossible task had the NCAA letter leaked then and created all the negative headlines it has created this week.
Gary, just so you know -- doing this would have been unethical, and possibly criminally actionable under some statute or another. You can't go about "leaking" things, even true things, in a deliberate effort to derail a negotiation like this, especially one that you've given permission to take place. At the very least it would have been tortious interference with a business relationship, it seems to me. In a piece that is intended to take R.C. Johnson to task for keeping the NCAA investigation of Memphis secret, Parrish's solution would have been to do something even more insidious?
If [Johnson] didn't want to leak the letter because he believed it violated his moral code, he could have called Coach Cal into his office and said, "Here's the deal, we'll increase your salary by $500,000 and I won't release this letter to the press. We'll stand by you through the investigation. You can sign right here. Or you can get on the plane to Lexington and before you land, it will be on the front page of the Lexington Herald-Leader Web site. They'll drop their pursuit of you and we won't give you the raise, but we'll still be happy to have you as coach."
Heh. "Hey, Cal, I've got an offer you can't refuse. Either stay with us and get a raise, or I'll release the letter and destroy your chances at the Kentucky job, and keep the raise." If this sounds kind of similar, if less gruesome than, "Either your brains or your signature will be on this contract," it should. Both are criminal acts, albeit different crimes. In the Calipari case, it would have been good, old-fashioned blackmail.
What makes this even more droll is that Travis, in the very same piece, pokes fun at R.C. Johnson's master's degree in physical education. All I can say is that R.C.'s degree may not be as fancy as yours, Clay, but he apparently does know right from wrong, and he didn't even need a Vanderbilt law degree to figure it out. Kind of makes you wonder what they're teaching down in Nashville these days.
These two coulumns make me wonder what the heck is going on in the national media. Why, all of the sudden, does everyone care so much about Memphis keeping Calipari, or is suddenly so concerned about what might happen vis-a-vis NCAA sanctions if Coach Cal stays at Kentucky? It has gotten so bad that two guys who are supposed to have, you know, real reputations to protect go out and make fun of an athletics director for not doing something shady or felonious.
I have a suggestion for both these guys -- Next time The Godfather comes on, don't watch -- you can't handle it.