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NCAA Unhappy About UK’s Calipari Milestone Celebration

UK Coach John Calipari (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Back in February, the University of Kentucky had a great big celebration in honor of head basketball coach John Calipari’s 500th victory. Confetti, a big cake, pin the tail on the donkey–you know, the works! Everybody had a very good time…except the NCAA. Because in their eyes–and according to their official records–John Calipari does NOT own 500 victories.

First of all, for anyone with eyes and ears, Coach Cal’s final victory of the 2010-2011 season (over North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight) was his 509th. But according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, it was his 467th. That is because there are 42 vacated wins on Coach Cal’s resume; they include his 1996 and 2008 Final Four appearances as the head coach of, respectively, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis. So the NCAA issued a rather strongly worded missive to UK explaining their irritation at the university’s recognition of victories they say never officially happened. Yep, those 42 wins never occurred in our lifetimes. You saw them. I saw them. Thousands of people in attendance at those games–virtual games?–saw them. But they never happened and we are not to pretend like they did. I’ve heard of mass hallucinations, but I didn’t think they were real–no pun intended. (Well, maybe a little) Naturally, I’m being facetious. This is just the way college athletics’ governing body–the NCAA–hands down punishment. They can’t throw a university in jail so they take down banners and they say none of it ever really happened. And they better not hear even so much as a kazoo being played in honor of a win they say doesn’t exist. It makes them so mad, why, they just might take their ball and go home. You know, I got to thinking, if a school does something wrong and has wins removed from the record books, do the losses not count either? Let me clarify; in the real world, John Calipari has 509 wins. The NCAA says 467. So if those 42 wins are non-existent, does that mean the 42 schools that were beaten have those LOSSES removed from their record books? It’s all so confusing…and now, irrelevant, as the University of Kentucky will consent to the NCAA’s request to correct its record. But I tell you what, why don’t they just come up with a way to punish that doesn’t involve telling everyone that something that DID happen really didn’t? It just sounds like the inmates have taken over the asylum. Or at the very least, Timothy Leary has.

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