Sprints Is Talking About Basketball in August? // 08.21.09

Invalid test scores: Aren't valid. Really, UK fans, I'd love to be writing about anything but basketball right now. You see, the rest of us in this conference don't really care about basketball right now. There's a good number of us that don't ever care about basketball, but an SEC fan thinking about basketball in August is like a man thinking about tomorrow's television lineup while on a date with Jessica Alba.

But the NCAA has forced all of us to talk about this, haven't they?

In the late afternoon, Calipari posted a comment on his Web site.

"I'm very disappointed and disheartened by the NCAA's findings," he said. "I fully support the University of Memphis' appeal and until that process is carried through to its completion, I will have no further comments on the matter."

Ah, the man with the courage of his convictions always declines comment.

UK President Lee Todd's reaction: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay.

Of course, John Calipari coached Memphis when they went on that magical 2007-08 run into the Final Four with an ineligible player. Let's not mince words here: No matter how much you slice it or dissect it, Derrick Rose was ineligible.

You see, in order to be eligible to play in college sports, you have to have a certain SAT score. Derrick Rose made that SAT score -- in a test that was invalidated by the testing services. Jump up and down and scream about how that happened all you want, but without that test score, Derrick Rose is ineligible. There's really no debating that.

Defense No. 1, though, is that the testing service never should have invalidated the score to begin with. Take it away, Mike DeCourcy.

It's interesting, though, that the infractions committee probed no deeper into the question of whether Rose had, in fact, taken that test.

Maybe that's because once a score is invalidated, it's invalid. The NCAA can't pretend that the test results are valid; that's called living in a fantasy world. One could argue that the NCAA does this anyway, but let's encourage their progress, mkay?

The most essential question of this entire controversy was decided when the Educational Testing Service cancelled Rose's test score in May 2008.

And why did that happen? Because the ETS sent letters to Rose's home in Chicago a couple months earlier -- when Rose was attending school in Memphis and on the road playing the NCAA Tournament -- and he did not respond to them.

The cancellation of the test was "based on failure to cooperate," Dee acknowledged. So an action this profound, this lasting, was undertaken at least partly because Rose didn't get his mail.

For this criticism to even be credible, you have to assume that (a) No one at the Rose household checked the mail for several weeks; (b) When they did, no one noticed the fact that this "Education Testing Service" was sending something kind of important; (c) No one could have called Derrick Rose wherever he was at the the time and said, "Um, you might want to look into this."

In any case, once again -- the reason for the test score being invalidated is irrelevant.

"As the committee looked into the matter, it was clear that from the time that the testing service canceled the test score that that meant the student-athlete had been ineligible from the very beginning and didn’t require further inquiry or finding as to whether or not there were improprieties in the administration of the exam," Paul Dee, the former athletic[s] director at the University of Miami who chaired the Committee on Infractions, said on a teleconference.

A Sea of Blue:

How unfair is it to Kansas to taint their championship in this way? ... But before you go ripping away all a team's credibility, you should darn sure be certain, with unambiguous and undeniable preponderance of the evidence, that you are doing the right thing.

I couldn't disagree more with this line of argument. Kansas' championship is not "tainted" in any way. If someone wants to argue that "a truly deserving team would surely have beaten" Kansas, that's entirely speculative.

Second of all: Really? You're going to try to bank-shot a defense of Calipari's Memphis team off of Kansas? Either defend Memphis or don't -- but don't try to make people feel sorry for Kansas for no reason and then try to use that sympathy on behalf of Cal and Memphis.

Of course, Kentucky fans would not be devoting so much effort to defending Rose if it weren't for the fact that Cal is now their coach. And here Kentucky fans will play their trump card: Cal wasn't found to have been directly responsible. I can't say it better than Mark Story.

Is it part of the job of the head coach to keep agents away from his star players? Is it part of the job of the head coach to identify and steer clear of people in recruiting who are capable of perpetrating academic fraud to get a player eligible?

Ultimately, isn't the best way to accurately judge a head coach's commitment to rules compliance based on what happens to the programs he runs?

When you can honestly answer one of those questions "No," we'll talk about giving Cal a pass.

Meanwhile, the SEC released its 2009-10 basketball schedule. Here's a fun parlor game: Try to predict how many games Kentucky will win. Then try to predict how many of those wins will eventually be vacated by the NCAA.

We already know what happened. Even if no one else does. There's nothing like opening your RSS reader after a day spent away from sports news, seeing several items on a story that changed three or four times over the day and saying, "What the ... ?"

Courtney Upshaw was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence might not have been guilty of domestic violence still might be guilty of domestic violence practiced anyway -- screw it.

Here's a recap:

Upshaw and his girlfriend were arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence.

The girlfriend's father said everything was blown out of proportion, calming Alabama fans.

Dave Grzyb called it "a simple lovers' quarrel altercation."

"The cops just happened to be there and see it and they took them both in," he said, "I hate to see this guy get in too much trouble because I honestly think it was probably initiated by my daughter. I don't think he laid a hand on her. He just tried to restrain her to keep from getting hit again."

What went unnoticed in the, um, happiness(?) over Grzyb's comments was that he wasn't there. The University of Alabama Police Department, on the other hand ...

Sgt. Rusty Romine of the University of Alabama Police Department reported in court documents obtained by the Press-Register that he saw Upshaw chase down Grzyb and he then "grabbed (Kendall) Grzyb by the back of the neck and hair with his right hand and pushed her downward in what appeared to be an attempt to push her to the ground."

Romine's account goes on to say that Grzyb freed herself and "attempted to strike Upshaw about his face, however she was unable to make contact. Upshaw then grasped Grzyb's right arm by the forearm, released and then pushed Grzyb away."

At that time, Romine said he separated the two and Upshaw told him that Grzyb slapped him and walked away after seeing him talking to another female. The documents say Grzyb told Romine that "Upshaw followed her, grabbed her by the back of the neck and pusher her."

Yes, just a simple lover's quarrel. Nothing to see here.

Upshaw did practice with the Crimson Tide today, and Nick Saban has decided he won't be suspended.

"He's never had any other issues or any problems academically, socially or as a football player, so he's not going to be suspended over this. He is on behavioral probation, and he does have things to do internally in the program to learn from the mistake that he made. And hopefully our entire team can learn something from the mistake that he made."

It might be that Upshaw didn't do anything that warrants suspension. But given as many times as this story changed over less than 24 hours, might it be wise to wait a few days until everything's sorted out to make that decision? Or is the Virginia Tech game just too darn close to let a search for the facts get in the way?

Swamp Things takes an optimistic view of Doe's no contest
How do you welcome Dustin Doe (potentially) back to the Gators after his no contest plea?

Dustin Doe is now one more legal problem away from serving extended jail time.

Correct, but a stunningly pessimistic way of phrasing things.

Bryce Brown back at practice
For however long that lasts.

Arkansas WR down for at least a month
Lucas Miller won't be starting the season for the Hogs.

Randall Cobb will be ready for the season

Qua Huzzie will not be

That's encouraging

"We’ve got some running backs that can make guys miss now," Spurrier said.

That being the object of the position, this should brighten the hearts of South Carolina fans.

The Head Ball Coach also reiterated that "he'd like to coach 'four or five more years.'" Five more sportswriters and bloggers promptly wrote confident predictions that Spurrier will be gone by December.

Georgia fans would just as soon Willie Martinez take four months' worth
UGA coaches are going to take two days of furlough. During the season.

But then you already knew that
And The Valley Shook continues its fascinating look at league QBs. Some of its findings are fascinating. Others ...

Wesley Carroll was the worst starting QB in the SEC in both 2008 and 2007.

Sometimes, science just confirms the obvious.

I have a history of taking off my shirt
Does Tebow even bother to wear a shirt any more? Or does he plan on showing up gladiator-style at each game?

Starting with Week 4, things get strange
Because we're open to all points of view here at Team Speed Kills: How Kentucky can go 10-2 this year. In football.

Stickin, by Auburn's Lee Ziemba
Lee Ziemba on the end of last season:

"I think we needed a change ... if we were going to get it back."

I don't think he'll be on Tommy Tuberville's Christmas card list.

Judge: The law must be followed
Surprising no one with a passing understanding of the rule of law, a Florida judge ruled today that the NCAA and Florida State have to allow access to public records in the school's violations case. The Association is "poised to appeal," according to the Sentinel.

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