Last week I read no fewer than 3 columns from Detroit Free Press sports writer Drew Sharp, essentially saying Louisville had zero chance to beat Michigan State. There’s still video of him joining Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich on their webcast on the CJ’s website in which he expresses his less than enthusiastic views on the Cardinals. So, fast-forward 5 days later and here stands Rick Pitino and the Cards, crashing the Final Four and battling for a third National Championship. So Drew was pretty much the worst person ever after his failed prophesies took center stage. That is, until today. Sharp has taken back to predicting bad things in print, only this time he’s taken aim at Kentucky head coach John Calipari. He absolutely hammers him today and has now totally redeemed himself.
Bravo Mr Sharp – from worst to first in our hearts.
Rooting for John Calipari to finally win a national championship is like cheering for the head of the IRS to get a tax refund. Both institutions feign shock at the villainy attached to them, arguing they’re merely following the rules as prescribed.
Wherever Calipari has walked during his coaching career, the NCAA has followed right behind, usually with a pooper-scooper.
He takes his third program back to the Final Four next weekend. (He also took Kentucky there last year, but lost to Connecticut in the semifinals.) The only thing, though, is that the NCAA no longer recognizes the first two programs. The tournament record book is pocked with asterisks notating Calipari’s fingerprints at Massachusetts and Memphis. Both programs had their best seasons stripped from history because of serious transgressions under Calipari’s watch.
History tells us that it’s only a question of time before NCAA investigators chase Calipari’s scent at Kentucky. UMass lost its 1996 Final Four and vacated all its victories from that season when the NCAA deemed that star Marcus Camby had accepted as much as $28,000 from two sports agents.
Twelve years later, Memphis forfeited an NCAA-record 38 victories and a Final Four appearance after the NCAA nailed the Tigers for academic fraud involving star point guard Derrick Rose’s SAT score.
Both times Calipari walked away unscathed, leaving for a better opportunity and a fatter paycheck. Being elusive enough to stay one step ahead of the NCAA posse doesn’t make a coach deserving of a national championship — even if he has corralled the biggest assortment of basketball talent.