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Birmingham blows Bledsoe case

September 24, 2010

Only in a disillusioned era of willful disregard for personal responsibility at so many levels could an Eric Bledsoe have been declared eligible to play basketball at the University of Kentucky.

Embarrassing for all involved, including the student, the teacher, the principal, the school system, the state educational system, the affected university, the cities of Birmingham and Lexington, the states of Alabama and Kentucky, and the NCAA, which now must decide again whether to look the other way.

Per ESPN:

So after three months, that law firm presented its report to the board today, which you can read in PDF form here. The verdict? According to the firm, the teacher’s explanation for changing Bledsoe’s Algebra grade was “not credible.” That would seem to lend itself toward Bledsoe’s ultimate ineligibility.

But — and here’s the weird part — the Board decided the firm’s report wasn’t sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The grade will remain an A. Bledsoe’s transcript lives on. Unless something new comes to light, Kentucky’s 2009-10 season goes unvacated.

In other words, a school board used taxpayer money to hire a reputable independent firm, led by former President of the Alabama State Bar Mark White and retired Federal Court judge and Civil Rights pioneer U.W. Clemon, to investigate a former student’s transcript. Then, once that firm presented its report — which, despite the almost-impossible-to-provide evidence of actual wrongdoing, is pretty clear in its judgment, ethics-wise — the Board decided to basically ignore it. So why spend the money? Why waste the time? Why hire the firm if its investigation only mattered so much?

College basketball recruiting has become a slimy game of technicalities and skating on the edge, without any discernible conscience or boundaries.

For some. For the time being.

Comments (6)

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  1. Paul says:

    It is stinging proof that any issues with an athlete’s classes and grades MUST be settled before that student takes the field of competition. We’ve all become Monday morning quarterbacks on this issue and because of this farce…a young man is making a ton of money professionally because of one year of college and his athletic abilities when, in fact, he never should have been allowed to participate.

  2. Rick in Va says:

    Kentucky fans wonder why everybody picks on poor Calipari. Just because he always happens to be around when some kid has somebody take a test for him, or turn in some late homework to justify changing a C to an A… it strains credibility, they say, to think that the coach had anything to DO with that kind of stuff going on. He’s just lucky that way.

    But as I understand it, the NCAA’s hands are tied. Calipari has become the new Jerry Tarkanian: they’d love to bust him if only to make an example, but he’s as slippery as an eel. The transcript stands, and with it Bledsoe’s eligibility.

  3. I have to confess, I tend to agree with you that these things should not be coming to this point. However, there is no embarassment for UK here. We played an eligible player, with adequate proof of his transcripts, which were investigated by UK and the NCAA three times. The fact however, that the NCAA accepted proof which was determined to be less than rock solid, goes to the NCAA’s credibility, not UK’s. Everything was done within the rules and guidelines that the NCAA has set forth. You cannot blame UK for working within those lines.

    • Greg,

      It’s what was possibly done outside the rules that concerns me. There is some smoke here.

      • Jack says:

        The smoke is not by UK. Cal wasn’t even at UK or recruiting Bledsoe when some of the events in question took place. And Cal certainly did not have some contact in the local Alabama high school running point on the grade changes. If you recall, Bledsoe’s coach was against his commitment to UK and said so publically shortly after the press conference. The smoke, if any, was within the Alabama high schools. It had nothing to do with UK doing anything outside the lines. But don’t let the known facts stop you. Keep speculating and criticizing.

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