Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bledsogate and the NCAA

The report on Eric Bledsoe's grades from an independent investigation has been released. It appears that there is a mysterious discrepancy in a night class that he took for an Algebra 3 course. His high school transcripts showed that he received an A average in the class but the grade report from the night school showed that he had a C average. If he made anything less than an A in that class he would not have been eligible to play Division I college basketball. A few things to look at here:

  1. The NCAA Cleared Him- The NCAA investigated Eric Bledsoe's academic standings twice and declared him eligible. They checked his grades with the Alabama High School Athletic Association and found nothing wrong. If there was a problem and the NCAA did not catch it, wouldn't one think that the mistake would be on them and not the school that they attended? If the NCAA tells colleges across America that a student-athlete is ok to play basketball and the student athlete attends school, then the NCAA retroactively says, "No, we made a mistake, he wasn't eligible," then the University should not have to be punished.

  2. This was going on Before He was a Wildcat- The UK haters will be coming out in droves. The fact is that all of this was going on while Bledsoe was being recruited by a number of schools including Florida, the Gold Standard that is Duke, Memphis as well as Kentucky. This all started his Junior year when he transferred from Hayes High School to Parker High School when he was not even being recruited by Kentucky. None of these schools backed off of Bledsoe even though they new that he was being investigated. His final choice came between Florida and Kentucky. He chose Kentucky. Again, he was cleared by the NCAA twice so there was no reason for a school to not recruit him. Of course you will have people fantasizing that John Calipari himself forged documents, sorry but that is just not true.

  3. Bledsoe took Algebra 3 before he took Algebra 2- For some reason Bledsoe was allowed to take Algebra 3 before Algebra 2. He was also allowed to take a BYU independent study course to improve a D he got in Biology which the NCAA later outlawed after Bledsoe had already done it. Michael Ohr did this as well when he was in high school. It seemed that Bledsoe's high schools dropped the ball as well.

  4. He was Never Ineligible- He was eligible to play basketball every year that he was in high school. His grades were always good enough for him to be on the court and he never missed a game because of grades. That being said, it doesn't mean that there was something fishy going on the entire time. Having read books like Friday Night Lights I have come to realize that elite athletes are treated differently in high school than other students. Teachers, coaches and administrators seem to look in the other direction if a star athlete is less than stellar in the classroom.

What will be the fallout from this? At this point it is unclear. This was not an NCAA investigation so it is not known whether or not the NCAA will take any action from this point forward. Something tells me that this is not over by a long shot.

However, when is the NCAA going to start taking responsibility of itself on these issues? This is not like Bledsoe was cheating while at UK or taking money from agents with the help of UK. This was happening pre-college. The Universitys know only what the NCAA and the high school transcripts tell them and then they go from there when accepting students to their program.

This is all very confusing at this point and there are still a number of questions to be answered but the bottom line is this: there is not enough money in the world that I would accept to be an NCAA coach. The NCAA is one of the most dishonest, shoddy, and wish-washy businesses in the country. And yes, it is a business. The NCAA makes millions of dollars a year at the expense of students athletes that get little to nothing in return. The rules change daily and the rule book that the NCAA adheres to seems to be edited if the situations determines it.

Update: This has happened before. Former Kansas star Darrell Arthur was found to be ineligible after high school due to his grades being changed. His high school was punished but Kansas' 2006 championship team was not punished. The NCAA said that Kansas had no knowledge of any wrong doing previous to him coming to Kansas. No transgressions were committed at Kansas, therefore no punishment for Kansas. I am hoping that the same will happen with UK.

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