Tag:Eric Bledsoe
Posted on: September 25, 2010 12:29 pm

One last thing on Bledsoe (I promise)

Can I say one more thing about the Eric Bledsoe story?


I'm not outraged by the decision.

Honest to God, I'm not.

Just confused.

As I wrote last week, I do not think it's right for the NCAA to punish a school for playing a player it initially cleared. So I was never publicly or privately hoping that Kentucky would vacate the season if Bledsoe's transcript was retroactively changed in a way that would give him a 2.3 grade point average in his high school core classes. I merely pointed out that the Derrick Rose case at Memphis seemed to set a precedent for strict liability, and that it would be difficult for the NCAA to explain why Memphis had to vacate that season if Kentucky didn't have to vacate this season provided Bledsoe's transcript was retroactively changed in a way that would've never made him eligible at Kentucky.

But the Birmingham Board of Education isn't going to change the transcript.

So it's all a moot point now.

Over and done, far as I'm concerned.

Either way, my post from Friday night wasn't about how wrong it is that Kentucky won't have to vacate the season; it was about how confusing it is that the Birmingham Board of Education can hire a firm to investigate the matter, then disregard the firm's conclusion. And, yes, I know all about the "makeup work" Bledsoe supposedly did, know that's the reason the teacher said he changed Bledsoe's grade from a C to an A. My point was that the independent and reputable firm hired to investigate the matter doesn't believe the teacher's reasons for changing the grade are credible, which, in my mind, suggests the grades were changed inappropriately.

Now let me ask a serious question.

(Just play along, please.)

Imagine there was a gradebook that showed Bledsoe initially had an A in the class, but his transcript showed a C, and there was an investigation into this grade change, because it made Bledsoe ineligible to play as a freshman when he, according to the initial grades, should've been eligible. So the Birmingham Board of Education hires a firm to investigate, and that firm then asks the teacher why he changed 10 of Bledsoe's 14 grades from the first term and seven of Bledsoe's 10 grades from the second term, and why he changed Bledsoe's grades more than he changed any other students' grades.

Now imagine the teacher has his reasons.

Imagine the teacher says it's because Bledsoe was tardy for 11 classes, that he caught him cheating on three tests, whatever. It doesn't matter what the reasons are, exactly, just imagine that the teacher has his reasons for changing the grade from an A to a C. Now imagine the firm hired to investigate listens to all the reasons, but ultimately concludes the teacher has "no credible reasons" for changing Bledsoe's grade from an A to a C.

(Got all that?)

Now here's my question: Would you still stand by the teacher?

If not, then what you're telling me is that you think it's crazy for a teacher to be allowed to change grades for what an independent and reputable firm called no credible reasons, which means you agree with me that what happened Friday in Birmingham is crazy because the only difference between what really happened with Bledsoe and my hypothetical situation with Bledsoe is that in one scenario the grade was changed from a C to an A to make him eligible, and in the other scenario the grade was changed from an A to a C to make him ineligible. Both changes were made, according to a firm hired to investigate, without credible reasons. And if a change made without credible reasons that hurts a student-athlete is wrong, then I think a change made without credible reasons that helps a student-athlete should be wrong, too.

So that's my position.

And I hope this clarifies things.

If not, man, I give up.

It's Saturday for crying out loud.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:24 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 8:51 am

Bama: Where grades change w/o credible reasons

The curious case of Eric Bledsoe appears to be closed now that the Birmingham Board of Education has ruled that Kentucky's third-best one-and-done product from last season won't have his transcript retroactively altered despite the fact than an independent and reputable law firm hired to investigate the matter found no credible reason for Bledsoe's grade in Algebra III to have ever been changed from a C to an A.

And so Kentucky fans are celebrating.


Nevermind that the law firm discovered that 10 of Bledsoe's scores in the first term were "conspicuously changed," that seven of Bledsoe's 10 scores in the second term were "conspicuously changed," and that the teacher in question changed Bledsoe's grades "more frequently than those of any other students in his class." The Board of Education still ruled that Bledsoe's transcript will remain intact because the firm could prove no wrongdoing.

Which begs the question: Really?

I mean, isn't a grade being changed for no credible reason in and of itself proof of wrongdoing?

Think of it in Walmart terms.

Let's say a guy named Larry works in the Wii section, and he changes the price of Mario Kart from $39.99 to $9.99. Then some manager notices the change and asks Larry to explain. So Larry does, and the manager concludes Larry's reasons for changing the price are not credible.

Now imagine Larry getting off because it's subsequently decided that the manager can't "prove" wrongdoing.

Does that make any sense?

Again, isn't the wrongdoing obvious -- that a price was changed for no credible reason?

I'm not sure why lowering a price without a credible reason wouldn't be proof of wrongdoing in that situation just like I'm not sure why raising a grade point average without a credible reason isn't proof of wrongdoing in this situation, but whatever. Like I said up top, this case is now closed. But that doesn't make it any simpler to understand, and it sure as hell isn't something to be celebrated.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 23, 2010 9:26 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 9:35 am

NCAA should get out of the eligibility business

Jay Bilas is one of my favorite figures in the world of college basketball. He's very good at what he does, smart and thoughtful, and just a solid dude in general. I don't agree with Jay on every topic, but even when we disagree I know it's not because he's just trying to be different. He believes what he says, and he's one of the few guys who can make me rethink my position if it differs from his. That's a compliment, I think. But it's also irrelevant to this post, because what I wanted to mention here is something Jay and I agree on, and that something is this:
The NCAA should get out of the eligibility business. Its member institutions are perfectly capable of making admission and eligibility decisions on their own. Jay wrote that over at ESPN.com while focusing on the Eric Bledsoe situation.

I'm with him 100 percent.

We can debate forever whether Bledsoe was inappropriately given an A instead of a C in Algebra III as a senior in high school, debate whether his transcript should be retroactively changed, and debate what the NCAA should do if that happens. But the ideal situation, Jay thinks (and I agree), would be the NCAA someday soon taking a step back and letting Duke admit and play who it wants to admit and play, Kentucky admit and play who it wants to admit and play, West Virginia admit and play who it wants to admit and play, and on down the line (provided the players are still amateurs by the NCAA's standards). I don't think anybody is operating under the assumption that Memphis and Stanford have the same academic guidelines. What's OK at one school isn't OK at the other, nor should it be. So why doesn't the NCAA remove itself from the equation and let Memphis and Stanford decide what's good for Memphis and Stanford in terms of academic requirements? It would put eligibility back into the hands of schools, eliminate a lot of the NCAA's biggest headaches, and make much more sense than the current system that has programs getting penalized for playing players they were initially told it was OK to play.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 14, 2010 9:18 am
Edited on: September 14, 2010 9:28 am

Report: Bledsoe's record has conflicting grades

Conflicting grades on Eric Bledsoe's high school transcript and a night-school grade report from Parker High in Alabama have called into question whether the former Kentucky standout should've been eligible to play for the Wildcats last season, Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Bledsoe's four-year transcript shows he made an A in Algebra 3 in night school as a senior by receiving a 90 during each of the two sessions, but an actual grade report from those two sessions obtained by the paper shows Bledsoe with what should've been a C average. Bledsoe "barely qualified" for initial eligibility thanks to the A he received in Algebra 3, the paper reported. If not for that grade, the paper said, the one-and-done guard would've been ineligible at Kentucky and thus unable to start in the backcourt beside fellow first-round pick John Wall.

Bledsoe helped UK win 35 games last season.

He's now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

(Click this link to read the full story.)
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 2, 2010 11:18 am
Edited on: June 2, 2010 1:51 pm

UK should've known better, investigator says

Kentucky officials should've known there were concerns that could affect the eligibility of Eric Bledsoe, an investigator who checks the background of athletes told the Lexington-Herald Leader's Jerry Tipton in a story published Wednesday.

"Coaches at other schools know there [were potential problems]," said Michael L. Buckner, an investigator and attorney based in Florida. "[So] I would assume Kentucky knew or should have known."

Buckner goes on to explain what I think is the most interesting aspect of the story -- that schools focused primarily on winning at any cost often don't do thorough background checks because they'd rather not know what's there. In other words, if the player is cleared by the NCAA, that's good enough for the school (even though the Derrick Rose case proved that the NCAA clearing a prospect hardly clears a school from future NCAA problems).

"Sometimes, I think, some schools may take the stance, 'We're just going to follow the rules as they dictate and only do what we're required to do,'" Buckner said. "... The NCAA gives schools a false sense of security when they clear a player to play. Then issues come up afterward."

In fairness to Kentucky, Bledsoe was going to play somewhere last season. Had he signed with Memphis, he would've played at Memphis. Had he signed with Florida, he would've played at Florida. But the reality of the situation is that the one-and-done prospect signed with Kentucky under a new and high-profile coach (John Calipari) who has had two Final Fours vacated, and, as Buckner noted, Kentucky should've known that alone would invite the type of scrutiny that led to the New York Times reporting last week that Bledsoe might've accepted extra benefits while in high school while making an unusual jump academically to meet freshman eligibility standards.

"That just raises the stakes," Buckner said. "'We need to do everything right. We need to dot i's, cross t's because we know people are going to look at the recruiting class in Calipari's first year, and subsequent years.'"

Instead, Kentucky chose to not take a stand, which isn't a surprise given that no athletics director has ever been able to properly stand up to Calipari and tell him something was off-limits the way multiple athletics directors told their coaches last year they could not enroll Lance Stephenson. Kentucky left Bledsoe's status up to the NCAA and only the NCAA without recognizing that its new coach's old school had just been burned by that same approach.

Again, in fairness to Kentucky, this is the way most schools do things. But it's becoming clear that UK must take a different approach with Calipari because if the school doesn't investigate thoroughly, various media outlets will, at which point an issue that could've been avoided can become an embarrassing problem that garners national headlines.
Posted on: April 7, 2010 7:06 pm

Five UK underclassmen entering NBA Draft

Kentucky's John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe are all, as expected, declaring for the NBA Draft, school officials announced Wednesday.

All five players are projected first-round picks.

Wall will likely go No. 1 overall.

Cousins and Patterson should both join him in the lottery.

Kentucky finished 35-3 this season.

The Wildcats lost to West Virginia in the Elite Eight.
Posted on: January 3, 2010 4:55 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2010 5:23 pm

Cal yelled something at somebody. You decide.

Cameras have caught John Calipari yelling all sorts of things over the years, most notably when he called former Memphis player Earl Barron a female's body part, clear as day, on national television. In fairness, Calipari had a point about Barron. But not everybody thinks the Kentucky coach's sideline antics are nearly as entertaining as I do, which is why several angry readers have emailed a clip from Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville game that appears to show Calipari yelling at Louisville's Reginald Delk (though it could be of Calipari yelling at a ref).

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a licensed lip-reader.

So I could have this all wrong.

But Calipari appears to tell Delk that Bledsoe will "kick your ass after the game's over" and that Delk is messing with the "wrong guy." Or at least that's what I thought the first 20 times I watched it. But a reader pointed out that it's possible Calipari is yelling at the ref that Delk told Bledsoe "I'm going to kick your ass after the game's over" in an attempt to show the ref that he called the foul on the "wrong guy."

Honestly, I don't know.

But it's a good video, either way.

Click this link to check it out.

Then tell me what you think.

It goes down around the 17-second mark.
Posted on: May 6, 2009 3:42 pm

Does Bledsoe really think he'd start over Wall?

It was not a surprise that Eric Bledsoe signed with Kentucky on Wednesday.

What was a surprise was the point guard's rationale.

Asked for the decisive moment in his recruitment, Bledsoe said it was when John Calipari told home he could "come in right off the bat and start." Problem is, the Wildcats are widely considered to be the leader to also land John Wall, and there isn't a point guard on any team in America who would start in front of Wall, Bledsoe included. So if Bledsoe wants to start, he'd better get to rooting for Duke or Miami or Florida to sign Wall, because if Bledsoe finds himself on the same roster as Wall he's going to find himself starting the game on the bench.

Which is fine, if he's OK with it.

And this has nothing to do with the quality of Bledsoe.

The guy is a high-level prospect who could start immediately for most high-major programs, just not any high-major program that also has Wall. It breaks down like this: Bledsoe has the potential to be a great college point guard who someday develops into a pro; Wall is a pro who will spend a year in college. That's the difference between the two, and the only way Bledsoe won't learn this soon is if Wall decides to enroll somewhere other than Kentucky.

Short of that, Bledsoe won't "come in right off the bat and start."

Rather, he'll start on the bench, where he'll watch Wall become the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Which is fine, if he's OK with it.

But if he's not, then he's being delusional.
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