Not long ago there seemed to be about an 80 percent chance that Kansas basketball star Darrell Arthur would enter the June 26 NBA Draft. After that alleged grade-changing to keep him eligible in high school, a move that could have factored in his collegiate career, up that to 110 percent.
Arthur is not about to hang around fending off barbs about his academic status, especially when he goes on the road against the likes of Missouri and Kansas State. After being approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, for two seasons he made grades good enough to let him star with a 2008 national collegiate championship. As a probable first-round draft pick with millions of dollars within his reach, he's not interested in any more "seasoning" or Phi Beta Kappa discussions.
There's even some evidence Darrell will be a lottery pick, 14th or better, ahead of teammate Brandon Rush. All the more reason Arthur is history. Because of the way the NCAA deals with low graduation rates, early outs like Darrell and Rush, and maybe Mario Chalmers, must finish a semester with acceptable academic standing - good enough that they can return. Which they can. That way KU isn't penalized in the scholarship department as it might be if a guy simply enrolled for his last semester but didn't turn a lick in the classrooms.
It tickled me that when the Arthur math grade charges were made, some in the Jayhawk Nation fretted that KU might have to surrender its national title.
No chance, not with people with connections like Lew Perkins and legal eagle Rick Evrard, one-time NCAA detective, on the prowl. KU knew nothing of any high school deal, and received a normal NCAA sanction. He starred here while making his grades, and anything involving his high school status is pre-KU.
Further, the NCAA isn't about to make KU surrender the title and forfeit any games in which Arthur played. Consider what a ghastly mess that could be. It would alter the Big 12 standings and titles, change the Final Four results and it might entail refunding and reassigning money that factored in the games with the Jayhawks.
Nothing like that is going to happen but just imagine what an Animal House scenario could result. The NCAA would look pretty inept for approving Arthur in the first place, huh?
Historically, the NCAA never has rescinded a title, and won't do so this year. However, some athletes representing St. Joseph's in 1961 (third place); Villanova (runner-up) and Western Kentucky (third) in 1971; and UCLA (second) in 1980 were later declared ineligible subsequent to the Final Four. Their teams' places in the standings were eventually vacated. A fellow named Larry Brown was coach of that 1980 UCLA team that lost in the title game to Louisville.
It's a daily mystery where Arthur and Rush will go in the NBA first-round draft and whether Chalmers will learn he's dropped to the second round and will return for his senior season.
Just as big a riddle is why the Chicago Bulls, with the No. 1 pick, are considering Memphis' Derrick Rose ahead of Kansas State's Michael Beasley. Have their scouts been on Mars?