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NCAA Tells Memphis 2008 Was Just Like 1985: It Never Happened

Aug 20, 2009 – 12:51 AM
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Chas Rich

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For the second time in his career, John Calipari may again be the best coach never to have been to a Final Four, at least according to the NCAA.

According to sources that leaked it to most major sports media and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Tigers will be forced to vacate their 2008 Final Four appearance and the 38 wins they had in the 2007-08 season. That, at least will be the decision of the NCAA Rules and Infractions Committee.

This, of course, will be the second Final Four appearance by a Calipari coached team to be vacated due to player eligibility issues -- something that is singularly unique to Calipari, and not accomplished by any other coach. Not in a way, though, that will enhance his resume. The odds are that the basketball Hall of Fame will not be calling on him soon.

The 1996 UMass squad had their appearance also vacated because of the eligibility of Marcus Camby. His eligibility had been compromised for accepting cash and gifts from a street agent. Like the UMass affair, John Calipari was not found to be at fault, and had already left for a bigger contract.

This is also the second time Memphis has had a Final Four appearance vacated. Its 1985 appearance in the Final Four under Dana Kirk was also vacated due to numerous NCAA violations.

The only good news for Memphis is that there do not appear to be any penalties going forward on the program. Memphis and new coach Josh Pastner can attempt to rebuild from the rubble of a Calipari departure and NCAA investigation without a postseason ban or loss of scholarships.

John Calipari, of course, is ensconced safely in Kentucky with a top-10 preseason team and a huge new contract. Derrick Rose is happily playing in the NBA with his hometown Chicago Bulls.
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