Perhaps the only task tougher than leading multiple programs to the NCAA Men’s Final Four is to have both appearances expunged. Serial forfeiteer John Calipari’s impressive collegiate record is inextricably tied to his skills as a recruiter, and once again, in the rich history of Derrick Rose and Marcus Camby, one of the great educator’s star pupils finds himself facing heavy scrutiny. On Saturday, the New York Times’ Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans report University Of Kentucky PG Eric Bledsoe’s movements thru a succession of Alabam high schools have piqued the curiosity of NCAA watchdogs.
Interviews with those connected with Bledsoe™s life in Birmingham revealed potential violations.
* – Brenda Axle, the landlord for the house where Bledsoe and his mother moved for his senior year of high school, said that Bledsoe™s high school coach paid her at least three months™ rent, or $1,200. By moving there, Bledsoe was eligible to play for Parker, which he led to the Alabama Class 5A title game. Maurice Ford, the coach, denied paying the money.
* – A copy of Bledsoe™s high school transcript from his first three years reveals that it would have taken an improbable academic makeover ” a jump from about a 1.9 grade point average in core courses to just under a 2.5 during his senior year ” for Bledsoe to achieve minimum N.C.A.A. standards to qualify for a scholarship.
* – A college coach who recruited Bledsoe said that Ford explicitly told his coaching staff that he needed a specific amount of money to let Bledsoe sign with that university. The coach, who did not want to be named out of fear of repercussions when recruiting in Birmingham, said Ford told him and his staff that he was asking for money because he was helping pay rent for Bledsoe and his mother. Ford denied this, saying, œI don™t prostitute my kids.
He said he had done nothing wrong, adding: œI™m a poor black man. And when one black man tries to help another black man, there™s always something wrong.