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.
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.