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Morning Newspaper for May 7th, 2009

David Trimble takes on the Herald-Leader's continual editorial bashing of John Calipari's contract.  Trimble makes some good points, but I would like to add a couple to his.

First off is the fact that if UK were to fire Calipari and hire a coach for $85,000 per year, it would not mean one extra dime for the University except in the very near term.  The money that comes into UK Athletics is money that would not be there but for the success of the basketball program, which would no doubt quickly degrade with the failure of the school to allow the UK Athletics Administration to make the necessary financial commitment to keep it viable and the subsequent lack of interest from TV and sponsors.  In other words, you could close down UK athletics today and make a one-time gift to the university of, I don't know, maybe 50 million dollars or something, but that would be it.  The golden goose would be dead after being sacrificed to lay a huge golden egg instead of a bunch of little ones.

The money that Americans spend on leisure time, like basketball games, is not going to be reallocated to fund university priorities.  If the NCAA were to disband all athletic programs tomorrow, those entertainment dollars would go elsewhere, but virtually none of them would go to the universities.  We can all bemoan this fact, but it's hypocritical -- every one of us knows that our entertainment dollars are not going to be suddenly redirected to fund the next great veterinarian or agricultural researcher.

Should the UK Athletics contribute to the University of Kentucky financially?  Absolutely yes, and in the largest amount possible consistent with their ability to remain competitive in the university sports marketplace.  And to be sure, UK's athletics program is one of the very few that actually makes money rather than loses it.  But let's face it -- every net dollar the university gets from the athletic program is money that they would not otherwise have, and the exposure that UK gets from its high-profile athletic programs cannot be measured in dollars alone.

And now, for the rest of the news.

UK Basketball News

  • The Loathsome Troll Jeff Goodman says that Calipari is, "The ultimate salesman."  Interesting.  I recall that Goodman had an ongoing thing with Memphis, and even turned in a potential violation to the NCAA back last year.  But his latest reports on Calipari seem at least neutral.  Maybe the rumor of a feud between them was misplaced.
  • UK's Academic Progress Report is pretty darn good.  In fact, according to a reader who did the research on the NCAA's website, UK Men's Basketball leads the SEC among men's basketball program results.
  • Another offensive article from a person who has apparently never made a youthful mistake.  Now, just because UK is recruiting John Wall who has been cited for a misdemeanor, we at UK (and to be fair, others as well) have all sold our souls to a "win at all costs" attitude.

    My question for this person is this -- since when did UK become too "good" for players like this?  The author claims that, "We let pro athletes get away with anything and make millions doing it."  Really?  Tell that to Michael Vick -- I have the strange feeling he might not agree.

    Bad behavior, both youthful and adult, is part of life.  The author seems to think that the consequences ought to go beyond legal ramifications, but this piece is about nothing more than class warfare couched as moral indignation.  The amount of money one makes or fame one enjoys has nothing whatever to do with their responsibility to be a good citizen, and surely Americans have the right to refuse to embrace a bad actor who can't stay out of trouble.  

    But Americans also have a perfect right to forgive mistakes, particularly youthful ones.  There is a reason juvenile offenses, especially relatively minor ones, are usually purged after a period of good behavior.  It's because we, as a society, have taken the decision to forgive young people minor misdeeds committed in thier youth so that they don't get off to a prejudicial start as adults.  The author certainly has a right to bemoan this fact, but I find it remarkably harsh and judgmental, and Wall's fame and likely future high financial status are the real reasons this author is upset.  It seems that in his/her view, big money and scholarships should only be given to the morally straight.  Good luck with that.
  • Eamonn Brennan writing for Yahoo! breaks down the SEC coaches.  The categories are:  The Too-Sooners, The Faceless Wonders, The Almost Elite, and the Superelite.  Overall, he grades the conference coaching as a C, due to too many newcomers.  See if you can guess where UK's coach stands.
  • Doug Gottleib says that UK will not get John Wall ... period.
  • Eric Bledsoe wanted to be in a place where basketball is important.  Eric, you will never find a place anywhere where that is more true than here in the Bluegrass.
  • Calipari weighed heavily in Bledsoe's decision.  One can only guess why the Herald-Leader has a picture of DeMarcus Cousins there.
  • Danny Jett thinks Eric Bledsoe was the missing piece to the puzzle of UK's success next year.
  • Kentucky Ink has a nice piece on Bledsoe.  Straitpinkie does as well.
  • Some Eric Bledsoe video via True Blue Kentucky.

  • Eric Bledsoe says Patrick Patterson is returning to Kentucky -- with conviction.  Jerry Tipton has more.
  • John Clay's Big Blue Links.
  • Bluegrass State Basketball asks, "What about John Wall?"

UK Football News

  • Rivals says that Joker Phillips is the right choice for Kentucky's future.  This is a really great article about Phillips that you should read.

Other UK Sports News

NCAA Sports News

  • No Bledsoe for the Gators.  I honestly didn't know they were even interested, but I guess I should have.
  • No easy answers for Florida at the point.  Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel seems genuinely miffed that the Gators lost out on Bledsoe.  There is something really nice about seeing Billy Donovan lose recruits to Kentucky.  UK has been the one in this position all to often in recent years.
  • Twitter as a recruiting tool.  Can an NCAA ban be far away?
  • Memphis is trying to rally behind Josh Pastner.  I have no doubt that UK will not be a favorite of Memphians for some time to come.
  • Some answers about SEC football schedule questions.
  • Is Wall do or die for the Dookies?
  • The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Ole Miss will be penalized by the NCAA for poor academic performance, in the form of lost scholarships.
  • A college football and basketball betting scandal.

Other News of Interest

  • Will Rachel Alexandra run in the Preakness?  If so, she's getting my money.