The NCAA announced on Wednesday that they would investigate the University of Kentucky’s top basketball recruit in 2012 Nerlens Noel and specifically, how his unofficial visits were financed. Rumors have already circulated that Noel’s high school coach once told a Providence assistant that he wanted to extort Noel’s recruitment for a lot of money.
John Calipari’s role and level of involvement are still unknown; however, his coaching resume suggests that the Noel investigation could become significant. The NCAA has vacated wins from Calipari in his two previous Division-I coaching stops, first at UMASS and later at Memphis. While Calipari shouldn’t be directly blamed for Marcus Camby soliciting prostitutes at UMASS and Derrick Rose falsifying his SAT scores at Memphis, the fact is that dysfunction attracts dysfunction.
Calipari also thrives in an environment that disregards the traditional values of a college basketball program. Student-athletes are forced to attend classes, but a very small percentage graduate from the university. Essentially, Kentucky is a one-year stop before the NBA.
Since winning the national championship in April, Calipari has received considerably less criticism about his tumultuous past. He has rebuilt Kentucky, one of the nation’s traditional powerhouses, into a juggernaut similar to those of the Adolph Rupp Era. Seemingly, Calipari has it all. The combination of Kentucky’s recent success and name brand attracts the best players in the country every year. What that means for Calipari is he shouldn’t have to cheat!
Noel’s situation remains unresolved, and technically, Calipari is innocent until proven guilty. Yet, his track record and slimy image suggest otherwise. In the court of public opinion, Coach Cal is guilty.