Friday, June 26, 2009

Hoops troubles not new


USA Today this week devoted a cover story to the premise that college basketball is in troublesome shape with its payoffs, academic finagling, coaching crookery and financial excesses.

So what’s new? Same song, different verse. College ball has been periodically fractured for more than 60 years.

One of the flagship teams, with the No. 1 total of victories, is again plagued by a mixture of dubious behavior. I’m talking Kentucky, folks, with its 1,988 wins — followed by North Carolina’s 1,984 and Kansas’ 1,970. You familiarize yourself with Kentucky history and Carolina and Kansas, for whatever their indiscretions, end up looking pretty darn clean and sober.

Tim Floyd had to quit as Southern Cal coach after payoffs to freshman whiz O.J. Mayo seemed rather tutor-oriented. There was that little bit about how Derrick Rose might have had some surreptitious help in getting eligible to almost spark Memphis past Kansas in the 2008 NCAA title game.

John Calipari who apprenticed at Kansas has questions to answer about his tenure at Memphis, before he bolted for Kentucky and a shocking $4-million-a-year contract. There was a hassle during Cal’s stint at Massachusetts, too.

Last year’s Kentucky coach, Billy Gillispie, is suing UK for $6 million because he was fired under odd no-contract conditions. (Man, that same school keeps popping up, since around 1950, come to think of it). Can’t those Lexington Wildcats get out and stay out of trouble? There was even a hassle when iconic Eddie Sutton was there.

Rick Pitino, Kentucky-ex and now Louisville coach, recently had to call in the feds to deal with an extortion attempt by a woman with whom he supposedly had a 2003 “encounter.”

You consider all those Kentucky wins and you have to conclude UK has either been awfully good or terribly bad to get to its level of triumphs. It wasn’t in the first plane in that scandal squadron back around 1950, but it sure flew a strong deputy lead.

The 1950 City College of New York team became the only club ever to win the NCAA and National Invitation titles the same year. Trouble is the roster was loaded with point-shavers. But in ’48, ’49 and ’51, Kentucky won NCAA titles only to learn that superstars like Ralph Beard and Alex Groza also had received gambler payoffs to control point spreads.

Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp and Co. got the NCAA “death penalty” — cancellation of the ’52-53 season. UK went undefeated in ’53-54 but stayed home from the NCAA meet when three top stars were ruled ineligible for that meet.

One judge called Rupp’s ever-winning Kentucky program “the acme of commercialism and overemphasis.” He declared that Adolph had “failed to observe the amateur rules, to build character and to protect the morals and health of his charges.” This is a demon from little Halstead, Kan.

OK, Kansas’ Bill Self and Carolina’s Roy Williams meet such standards. Will history show that Calipari has done so, at UMass, Memphis and now Kentucky?

Yep, college basketball is still in a heap of trouble, despite its fantastic glamour. Yet with periodic fix troubles, recruiting scandals, money messes and academic travesties, the modern game’s never been out of the fire pit. Could get worse, too.

All the more reason that Kansas and Carolina look so much better when they’re compared with a lot of the bandits they strive to head off at the pass to avoid being ambushed.


ohjayhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Wow. I'm confused by this article. Between the sentence fragments and outdated references, I'm thinking he is saying that Kansas and UNC are so much "cleaner" than Kentucky. Now, I am a Jayhawk through and through (and I truly dislike UK), but this article reminds me of something you would read on a discussion board, not in a newspaper. The phrase "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" jumps to mind. Funny that Mayer doesn't mention anything about what happened on Larry Brown's watch (ensuring KU would be the first champion unable to have a chance to defend their title). Nor does he mention what happened on Roy's watch (the same Roy that is heading up UNC's program now). Also there's the fact that Calipari has already been cleared in the troubles at Memphis by the NCAA. KU may not have the frequency of "issues" as UK, but to take this issue this far considering what we have in our closet is pretty embarrassing.

yates33333 11 years, 4 months ago

Be honest, KU never had an angleworm like Rupp after he quit playing basketball here in the 20s. Doc was too confused to be like Rupp, even though he mentored him. None of these comments have touched on Rupp and the refereeing at UK. Oh, well, it's over.

Rick Arnoldy 11 years, 4 months ago

The fact that Calipari was cleared at UMass doesn't sway me. Coaches don't get directly involved in the infractions. They set the tone, imply the needs, and let the minions do their dirty work. It was on his watch.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Well, then Roy is just as guilty (suits to graduates and money to the Jackson family) because they happened on his watch. I guess my point is that all big time programs have run afoul of the rules at some point. Why needlessly rip on another big time program when we have done stuff as well.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 4 months ago

Another very disjointed and fragmented writing. Thanks Mayer for nothing. Were you drunk when you penned this?

mjlindsm 11 years, 4 months ago

This is why you're taught to outline before writing something. Yeesh.

Larry Smith 11 years, 4 months ago

UCLA + Sam Gilbert = cheaters. Enough said

dukehester 11 years, 4 months ago

Man, i'm tired out after trying to track that one!!!! What ohjayhawk; ohioburg; njjayhawk;and ralster said!!! Now may we move on to some topic that really has relevance?

Dirk Medema 11 years, 4 months ago

I usually appreciate the historical perspective, but I'm with duke, et al on this one. It was tough to find a complete thought in this one. Maybe it has to do with being a response to the superior journalism of USAToday.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

I am appalled at such an attack on KY basketball. I am a huge UK fan, so that should be no surprise. I have always rooted for KU except when they play UK. The fact that he would leave out any KU transgressions and so completely trash a storied program such as UK blows me away. To completely disregard the winningest college basketball program, throw Adolph Rupp under the bus, and completely ignore the fact that Calipari has never been charged by the NCAA for any violations is totally apprehensible. I dont mind a reporter being a homer, but this malicious attack was uncalled for. I think UK's wins and titles speak for themselves. Next time I watch a KU game, I am not sure if I will root for them anymore.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

apprehensible=reprehensible LOL Maybe I fit in with this idiot reporter. LOL

Brandon Snook 11 years, 3 months ago

If the Vincent Askew "scandal" happened today, would the NCAA be considering the Death-Penalty like they apparently were in 1988? This is of course purely hypothetical, because in this age of transparency, no head coach would be stupid enough to buy a kid a plane ticket.

mlubyRN 11 years, 3 months ago

Cal is a high class summer's eve. That's all I got to say. Oh and this: He shouldnt be allowed to coach college ball anymore and he should have his 37 wins stripped from his resume'.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

Ralster, thanks for the input. I appreciate a real fan. MlubyRN, obviously doesnt know the facts about the NCAA charges. All of which had nothing to do with Calipari.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 3 months ago

We've had plenty of our own issues at KU. Some were not very long ago - Collins legal troubles, Arthur getting grades changed (we all know he did), and the infamous Moon Bar. Not to mention Larry Brown getting us on probation.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago


You made one of your classic understated, under-the-radar posts that almost slipped by me until I reflected on it. You just telescoped about 90 years of the legacy into three sentences: beginning, middle, end. Awesome. When John Milton used to do this sort of thing in Paradise Lost--multi-layering multiple allusions related to a historical legacy in 50 words or less--they were called epic couplets, or epic similies or something. We'll call yours an epic paragraph. Thanks Youngsters, pay f!@#$%^&g attention. Ask the man questions. He knows from where it all came.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago


Until they start calling the game like something remotely related to what is described in the rule book, the game, the entire legacy of the game, is in constant jeopardy. It is living on the next great death defying physical performance and in the shadow of the next gang bang criminal assault that paralyzes or kills a player. It is arcing near an event horizon called "the black hole of not-basketball."

Fans, like frogs put in cool water slowly heated, do not realize they, like the game itself, are about to be boiled in violence. It is not surprising that the young people do not fear the upward arc of the aggression trend line, because they came to know the game after Bob Huggins had normalized thug ball. Today's young fans are the basketball equivalents of children growing up in the projects. The violence is normal to them. There is a great 1992 book by Alex Kotlowitz about the violence of the Chicago projects that provides a loose metaphore for young fans today, "There Are No Children Here." They grow up seeing Cole Aldrich beaten to a bloody pulp without even actual fighting breaking out. They grow up seeing Ron Artest and others go up into the stands and beat the feces out of fans. They grow up with coaches needing to find enforcers and players who can put on 20-30 pounds to play basketball, the way football players used to have to put on such poundage to play football. Its all so normalized!

But the game, the balletic part of the game, the running, jumping, feinting, team work part of the game, the part of the game that makes basketball the greatest game ever invented, this is all very much in jeopardy and only surviving on the amazing abilities of fantastic athletes to keep finding ways to endure the violence without turning the corner in what became of hockey in the NHL.

The NHL is the potential 1984, Orwellian, and Roller Ball type future of college basketball that somehow has to be avoided.


If you let the game goe this way, then all the other rule breaking by coaches in recruiting, and by gamblers getting to players, is just part of end of the game.

Kenneth Johnson 11 years, 3 months ago


You got it right about Kentucky -- except that there is much more that could be said about the dark side of UK - so often ignored by the media and usually avoided by the NCAA. One certainly can't overlook the facts that, until the 1970's, the Wildcats were a major force against the integration of blacks in basketball.

Moreover, in each decade since the 40's, UK has been involved in at least one scandal of major proportions, including point-shaving, cash payouts to players, and numerous recruiting violations.

As you mentioned, these sinister practices have continued through the many changes in coaches and administrators at the University. John Feinstein, in 'A March to Madness', stated that "Kentucky's basketball history is as much about NCAA investigations and allegations of payoffs and being shut down for an entire season for point shaving as it is about winning championships."

While I'm ranting, I might as well also say that one can't compare the violation comitted by Larry Brown (paying for Askew's plane ticket so he could visit his dying grandmother), just don't match up to the thousand-dollar handshakes which are extant at UK.

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm surprised this piece garnered such a wrath against Mayer. It's not a beautiful piece but it's not untrue either. Most of the fans on this post take turns throwing haymakers at UK without hesitation. So why turn on Bill for the same?

It's a pretty one-sided, and unnecessary article. But it's still true. Just because Cal got off on this one doesn't take a way generations of pretty bad violations at the school. Even forgetting recruiting stuff, UK is knee deep in crud, and point shaving is a nasty scar.

UKs integration issues alone, cannot be ignored. Tradition involves a whole lot more than total wins and championships. Tradition involves character, and Kentucky is stubborn as a mule when being pulled from it's old southern values. Some of those values are great. But some need to be left behind.

White elitism runs fluidly under the hospitality and beautiful countryside of Kentucky. Even today. And if you think I'm making that up, go spend a week there. I have on a couple of occasions. After a couple of days, you start to think your in the SNL sketch, where Eddie Murphy dresses as a white man and starts getting free newspapers and bank loans. "Go ahead. Take it. There's no one here".

That's what really bothers me the most about KY. Not the little recruiting stuff. KU and UK are as opposite as their initials suggest. So coming onto a KU post with a username of UKTimmy and expecting to be treated as a brother seems kind of silly. Are you also a Missouri fan? How about Carolina? I think ralster was being pretty kind. I'm a true fan too Timmy, but I'm not going to wish UK a great upcoming season. That just seems hilarious. No, I hope Kentucky and their wretched, crooked new coach crash and burn. Hehe.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 3 months ago

The increased brutality and decreased skill in basketball is no doubt why the Europeans have been at par with our most recent "Dream Teams." Spain hung with us the entire time during the gold medal game, and that's when the DT was at its most focused. The shooting and passing just isn't what it used to be.

jauk11 11 years, 3 months ago

In trouble with KG already, I should change my name to JaKU or KUjack. The whole article sounds like a mindless rant with no new facts. Both KU and UK have a long and excellent basketball tradition, did Rupp learn how to cheat and be a bigot while at Kansas, young people are impressionable you know.

Do you really know any thing about some of this stuff you are spouting? Do you know anything about Coach Cal? I didn't before he came to UK, but I will say now that he has made a tremendous impression on me, second hand, from his family to church to charity to empathy to charisma to honesy with his players to---you name it so far. Oh, he might be a pretty good recruiter too. One thing a lot of people might dislike or be jealous of, if honest.

The NCAA does good job once they decide you are worthy of investigating, or not too big. Really strange that they never heard of Sam Gilbert, a standing joke out west during his era. Cal investigated and cleared twice. One thing Calipara isn't, and that is stupid, it would have been stupid to have been involved in either of those scenerios.

You do realize that the people of Kentucky had nothing to do with a stupid coach getting greedy don't you. Isn't it stupid to send a thousand dollars in CASH in a fedex package, or to give a football recruit a check that can be traced? Still have trouble believing it happened.. What did UK get out of that, none of the recruits, their players at the time, and several years of costly probation, which cost them lots of wins in the end.

Why did UK's team coming off an undefeated season with a margin of victory of about 25 points, with three All-Americans, have those three All-Americans ruled ineligible for the post season? Because they had graduated, something which they highly encourage now but which made them ineligible then. #8 gone.

UK was and is a leader in SEC integration, first basketball player, first football player, first bb head coach, and both their O and D coordinators in football are black with one already annointed the next head coach. It would have taken a lot better player and person than Jackie Robinson to have integrated the deep south sports programs before UK did it, there might have been one or two qualified but they were too smart to want to put their life in danger. Rupp may have not been guiltless in the prejudice department but I doubt if he was more so than average for his time, he tried to get several black players before getting one. Duke won the NCAA a few years after UK lost to UTEP with a lily white team, and still are for the most part, why is nothing ever said about that?

End of rant, enough, hope you learned something. One more thing, the NCAA has always played favorites and I lost what little respect I had for them with their handling of the Jarmon case, another story. Still amazing to me that Tarkanian won millions from them in his lawsuit, had to be some monkey business for that to happen..

jauk11 11 years, 3 months ago

By the way, none of Cal's salary comes from the University, in fact the Athletic Department donates several million to the University every year. Now UK's AD is trying to raise PRIVATE money, several hundred million in an iffy climate, to finance a new bb arena, (already lead the NCAA in BB attendance), remodel and expand the football and baseball facilities, etc. Calipara there for eight years (and more, likely, he is off to a good start) make it a lot better business deal, the few million more to Cal could bring in a lot more millions in the long run, sports is (unfortunately) big business now.

jauk11 11 years, 3 months ago

Everyones gone, good, it had to happen some day, my first mistake, UK signed the first black player to an athletic scholarship in the SEC in football in 1965, but while Rupp tried to recruit Unseld, McDaniels and Beard earlier than them, Vandy signed the first black BB player in the SEC, a hometown Valedictorian that UK also tried to sign. Rupp was primarily interested in winning and some of his best players said he called them names they had never heard before.

To me it is pretty obvious why Rupp was a racist IF indeed he was one, he was born and raised in Kansas and played and graduated from KU under Phog Allen. Maybe some of you Kansas fans should start argueing that he wasn't a racist, makes you look bad, hard to overcome how and where you were raised. LOL.

If you are interested in facts, google: "Adolph Rupp racist", he wasn't as bad as most people of that era.

jhox 11 years, 3 months ago

I once worked for a small insurance company whose CEO's best friend was a prominent attorney who played basketball at Kentucky (this probably would have been in the late 1950's or early 1960's.) He told a story of arriving on campus and being given the number of a mailbox at the post office, and the combination, and was told if he ever needed money to just leave a note in the box describing why he needed the money, and how much he needed. He was told he could then pick up the money in the same mailbox the next day. He apparently wanted to be an upstanding student athlete and didn't plan to make use of this benefit, but his second year in college a family member passed away and he needed money to get home. He left a note explaining this, and describing how much the airfare was. The next day the air fare was there along with (if I remember the story correctly) a couple of hundred more than he asked for. After that he said it was like a drug, and he couldn't get enough.

I'm not suggesting Kentucky was the only school doing this sort of thing. To think we got Wilt out of Philly just because he wanted to come to Lawrence, KS would be incredibly naive. My guess is that this went on at all the big name programs, and probably still does to some extent. In most cases the serious illegal payments probably comes from the alumni, and not the coaches, and that the coaches want to stay insulated from it (too bad Tim Floyd wasn't smart enough to take that approach.)

Along a slightly different line, a friend of mine played football for Tom Osborne at Nebraska back in the, Dean Stienkuhler, Dave Remington days. For those who are too young to remember them, they looked like steroid use poster boys, and both were first team all americans. My friend said the vast majority of the non-skill position players there used steroids, and Nebraska was famous for the sophistication of their weight training program, back when other schools did very little in that regard. He remembers Dr. Tom telling the players something to the affect of, "I'm not telling you that you need to use steroids, but if you are going to use them, just make sure I'm not made aware of it." He said it clearly wasn't discouraged by the coaching staff, but they just wanted to make sure they wouldn't be implicated. Looking at most Big 12 strength position players today, it would be naive to think the majority aren't using steroids. I'm sure the same thing goes on at campuses across the country, and my guess is that most coaches hope their players are secretly using them to give their teams an edge.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago


You remind me of young Germans coolly trying to explain the legacy of Naziism in their country. Yes, the Nazis were bad, but there was someone else--the Russians--who was just as bad.

You remind me of young southerners trying casually to explain the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Yes, slavery and Jim Crow were bad, but the KKK and segregation and Jim Crow evolved to protect the south from the "Northern carpetbaggers and white trash southerners and uneducated Negroes" the Northerners foisted as leadership on the war-ravaged south.

You remind me of young Neocons glibly trying to explain American death squads and 24/7 torture prisons and the murder of a million Iraqis under Clinton, Bush and now Obama. Yes, we probably crossed the line, but those anti-American Arabs attacked our country and used terrorist bombing to kill innocent women and children indiscriminantly.

Disingenuous. Disingenuous. Disingenuous.

To be sure, your reasoning is not rationalizing the murder of millions, but the disingenousness of mind set in rationalizing wrong (a kind of wrong that was at the root of many African Americans being lynched and kept in abject poverty long after they had been freed), is chillingly analogous.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

You suggest UK racism was no worse than anyone else's racism in the south. You say Rupp learned his vices, if he even had any, from growing up in Kansas and you say from Allen, who you imply must have been just as bigotted.

You're everything spineless, disingenuous, smarmy smug and unneccessarily vindictive that I have grown to detest about border state bigots I have met and none of the good I like about decent border staters--none of the honor, none of the gift of tale telling, none of the beauty of langauge, none of the courage. In short, you are the narrow aspect of the New South that makes latter day Northerners wish that Grant had not only ordered Sherman to burn the south to the ground, but to salt it like Carthage, also.

No one is without blame for slavery and Jim Crow, and the segregation of universities and of basketball, and the racism that persists to this day.

But KU integrated long before UK, not just a few years.

KU was among a group of schools, not the first (Wooden, whom you also malign like some latter day Bob Ewell spitting a wad in the face of the basketball equivalent of Atticus Finch, John Wooden, did that at Indiana State for all of us), but KU was among the first, that pioneered integration of college basketball. KU and a group of other schools got on with integration, while other schools like UK said "people just aren't ready for coloreds yet." People were never going to be ready for integration in places like Kansas, or places like Kentucky, or New Hampshire, or NYC for that matter.

The administrators and coaches at KU risked their careers, and probably to some extent their lives, to integrate, while places like UK were probably telling the prejudiced parents of good white players that if their sons came to UK, they would not have to room with "the nigra," or sleep with "the nigra."

KU and UK basketball programs should never have been segregated, but they were.

The difference was that KU was not just drug kicking and screaming into integrating late in the process, as was UK. KU integrated, when it was hard to tell whether integration would finally prevail. UK integrated when it was inevitable. And trust me, the state of Kansas had plenty of red necked crackers trying desparately to stop integration any way they could. UK was not alone on that score. UK just lacked the administrators and coaches with the character needed to be part of the vanguard of integration, rather than the rear guard of it.

Should KU have integrated sooner? You bet your bottom Confederate dollar KU should have.

Was Allen color blind? I doubt John McClendon thought so.

But the more damning question is: why did UK wait so much longer than it had to to integrate? What kind of human beings continued Jim Crow after they no longer had to? Why did UK want to actually persist against the tide of integration? What kind of sickness ate at the soul of UK?

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

And your argument that Rupp became what he was, because of growing up in a small town in Kansas and because he played for Allen is specious.

Rupp became what he was, because he had a character flaw.

Another small town Kansan named Dean Smith that played for Allen integrated UNC in a state that was not just a former border state, but a former part of the core of the slave-owning Confederacy. Yes, Smith was much younger than Rupp, but again, I am quite sure that Dean Smith would say that bigotry was quite stifling and fearful in Kansas when he was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s.

Why did UK hire a bigotted Kansan and UNC one who was not, or at least one who appeared drastically less so than Rupp.

People matter you son of a bitch. UK could have hired a Kansan who was not prejudiced. Certainly some of Allen's assistants and former players helped perpetuate segregation, but others helped end it. Ralph Miller, another Allen protege, would have integrated UK at the drop of a hat. UK could have fired Rupp and hired Dean Smith, who would have integrated UK without batting an eye. But UK's administration and its athletic department were too stewed in segregationist thinking to do so. Heck, they could probably have hired UK assistants, who would have integrated UK much earlier, too. But they didn't. And it really had nothing to do with Allen, or Kansas, did it, you swine?

What don't you go crawl back under the rock, or coal slag, that you crawled up from, and never darken this board again?

You have almost completely on your own extinguished the considerable affection I had for UK.

I hope John Calipari is found not to be corrupt. I hope he sets the UK program on good footing and raises UK to new heights. He started out at Kansas, after all. I hope he turns out to be a Smith, or a Miller, and not a Rupp. I hope he does things the right way, and discourages point shaving.

But you?

I hope you rot in hell while UK finds its way back to basketball and social responsibility.

sps3334 11 years, 3 months ago


To be frank, I hate Kentucky and couldn't care less if you "rooted" for KU. I think we might be able to scrap together a few fans without your help. But, I appreciate the fact that your trying to be classy. I have news for you: classiness doesn't exist on message boards.

Oh, and by the way... I'll be rooting against UK, just like I always have.


"he has made a tremendous impression on me, second hand, from his family to church to charity to empathy to charisma to honesy with his players to"

Three points I'd like to make: 1) His family? Have you read about his daughter's embarassing facebook extravaganza? Not exactly dripping with class, if you ask me. 2) Going to Church made a tremendous impression on you? You can go to Church and still be a sleaze. BTK was a minister for crying out loud. An extreme comparison, I know, but a comparison nonetheless. 3) Honesty with his players? You mean something to this effect, right: "hey [insert player name here], I've gotten myself in a bit of a pickle. I offered a few too many scholarships... so... I'm going to need yours. If you stay, you'll be sitting on the bench for literally your entire time here. Hey, don't get mad at ME... I didn't give you that scholarship. Gillespie did. So pick a school and go there. Good riddance".

"Cal investigated and cleared twice."

...and you don't see anything wrong with the fact that the NCAA has to keep investigating him?

charlesyu 11 years, 3 months ago

LOL at Mayer.

KU basketball has been placed on probation 5 times. Currently the mother of 2 KU basketball players works for one of KU basketballs biggest boosters who is best friends with Bill Self. A $70K a year Director of Basketball Operations (former) who just happened to have a 5 star recruit son has or had his $500K Lawrence house on the market, as he's moving on with his son to even higher financial rewards.

charlesyu 11 years, 3 months ago

LOL again.

At KU, Wilt never went to class, never took his own tests, never wrote any of his own papers. Talk to people who know. Wilt drove around town in a top of the line Oldsmobile Convertible and he spent most of time in KC hanging with former Harlem Globetrotters and Jazz Musicians (when he wasn't racking up one of his 20,000 of course).

rawkhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Part of me wishes that UK is not even in the mix next year, while another part wishes the whole debate could come down to another battle on the court. Rather dubious article, but promoted fun-filled posting and perhaps opened up the true nature of the UK-KU rivalry. I found myself, at times, rooting for UK under Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie. John Calipari brings everything full circle. Sorta brings back the good times of 2007, kicking UK where it counts. Also, 150-95. . My bro, former Lexington resident, would like to add more:

"Is Mayer saying the 1948, 1949, 1951 NCAA Championship trophies will be taken away from the University of Kentucky due to having two bookie-paid point shavers on the team?"

ku_foaf 11 years, 3 months ago


I believe someone won a Pulitzer prize in journalism in the 80s reporting on just this at Kentucky. Remember the stories of the handshakes with the $50 bills? I think Eddie Sutton caught the blame, though it had gone on a long else.

As a bit of an excuse, it was no help to KU that. NCAA headquarters was 40 miles away, closer than any other major program. Spend airfare and hotel investigating someone else or just drive to Lawrence? Decisions, decisions. No joking, I'm sure they heard more KU rumors than any one else.

ku_foaf 11 years, 3 months ago


You do realize Kentucky was a "border state" and did not secede? It was a slave state, and likely had strong Confederate sympathies in the state, for sure, but didn't fight for it as a state. It was split.

I agree that Kentucky has gotten away with more than any other program. See my post about the Pulitzer prize, which resulted in NO sanctions against UK, at least at the time.

I kind of got tired of bringing the Civil War into college rivalries, especially KU-MU. We don't know this stuff, really. I found out my hometown of Leavenworth was very pro-slavery, and a man was once shot dead simply because he came down the road from Lawrence, an abolitionist town. The same road I would take going to Lawrence. It was hard to feel so righteous after that.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

Many basketball teams in the South did not have black players on their rosters or admit black students into their institutions. The Southeastern Conference especially had many member schools so opposed to integration that some schools refused to compete against other schools with black players. Mississippi State at one time had to sneak out of town under the cover of darkness to play in the NCAA tournament. (This, after ignoring bids in earlier years.)

During that time, Rupp was playing all comers around the country, white or black. He often took his team to Chicago or New York to play against some of the powerhouse collegiate teams with black players. He recruited black players (at least fifteen - Lexington Herald Leader, March 31, 1990.), including Wes Unseld, Butch Beard and Jim McDaniels, but it was a difficult undertaking to convince a black player to come to Kentucky. Doing so, he would be the focal point in college basketball, as at that time Kentucky was the premier basketball dynasty. A black player would be subjected to the worst taunts and slurs imaginable during road games at places such as Oxford and Starkville Mississippi, Athens Georgia, Baton Rouge Louisiana etc. (Not to mention the aspect of arranging lodging and meals in the segregated South.) Nevertheless, there were a number of people who claimed that Rupp did not recruit these players or when he did, Rupp didn't recruit them hard enough.

When Rupp finally did sign Tom Payne in 1969, Kentucky was one of the early SEC schools (starting with Vanderbilt with Perry Wallace, followed by Auburn with Henry Harris, Alabama with Wendell Hudson) to sign a black player (*). Football players Darryl Bishop and Elmore Stephens joined the UK team in the 1971-72 season for a short time, Rupp's last season as coach. (by John McGill, Lexington Herald Leader, "Kentucky a Leader in Integrating SEC Sports," March 31, 1990.)

It is difficult to assess the attitude of a man who is long since dead, especially the Baron who was only well known by those few close to him. A large amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that Rupp showed few signs of being racist and in fact supported blacks while a few specific quotes attributed to him suggest he was indeed racist. So was Rupp racist or not ? The information at hand is too contradictory to say for certain. Most likely he was to an extent, just as the majority of white men his age living in the South at the time would be judged racist by today's standards. There are two explicit instances where Rupp, while angry, made derogatory comments about blacks to people in confidence. Was he overtly racist ? The evidence does not show any public statements or acts to suggest so.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

THE FIRST BLACK BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE SEC PERRY WALLACE- During his freshman year, Wallace encountered segregation's "flood of hatred" during games at Mississippi State, the University of Tennessee, and Auburn University. In spite of racism, Wallace completed his freshman year averaging seventeen points and twenty rebounds per game. On December 2, 1967, Wallace became the first African American varsity student-athlete to compete in the SEC. Segregationists' ire intensified. He experienced racism at its worst, particularly at SEC schools in Alabama and Mississippi. Cheerleaders led a volley of invective racist cheers. There were threats of beatings, castration, and lynching. He endured physical abuse on the court that referees refused to acknowledge as fouls. Wallace was harangued, taunted, and threatened throughout his SEC career. While coaches and teammates "chose not to see the racism," Wallace said, "I . . . wanted somebody to say, you're not crazy, I heard those people . . . calling you 'n*' and threatening to hang you, I . . . want you to know I'm with you. RUPP was socially responsible. He couldnt have even had a black player on his team in the 40s or 50s.

Kenneth Johnson 11 years, 3 months ago

UK Timmy,

Obviously you are not well informed about Rupp's virulent racism. Here are just a few quotes as examples:

Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated's noted columnist, reporting on one of Rupp's halftime exhortations in the UK locker room. " I was standing in the back of the room, when Rupp said: 'You've got to beat those coons'. He talked that way all the time. I looked around at the players. They all kind of ducked their heads. They were embarrased."

Harry Lancaster, a long-time assistant to Rupp, in his book quoted Rupp on Dr. John Oswald, UK President: "Harry, the son of a bitch is ordering me to get some n-----s in here. What am I going to do? He's the boss."

Terry Pluto reported in his book Loose Balls, that he was on a flight with Rupp. "I had never met the man and the first significant thing he said to me was 'The trouble with the ABA is that there are two many n----- boys in it now.'"

In fact, Adolph publicly declared numerous times that he would never let a black wear the Kentucky blue.

You can white wash it all you want, but the fact is that he was a bigot of the first class.

UKTimmy 11 years, 3 months ago

Kjohnson, Exactly where and when did he publicly announce there would be no blacks in a Kentucky uniform?? Thats what I thought. I stand by what I said. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.