Thursday, March 11, 2010

No asterisks of infamy for Jayhawks


In all the glitter, glamour and eulogizing during college basketball tournaments and NCAA March Madness, some of the seamier aspects of competing teams in the Big Show get swept under the rug. All you have to do is scan the footnotes of the brackets since 1961 to realize the rather rampant truancy in the system.

Most noticeable is the “vacate” ruling that cost Memphis 38 victories and a footnote in the 2008 rundown, when Kansas worked miracles to win its third NCAA title. Memphis had to vacate its entire season when the NCAA declared Derrick Rose ineligible after discovering another player had taken his SAT.

How nutty is the system? If Memphis had beaten KU, it still would have been sitting in the top spot on the Final Four chart with an explanatory asterisk while Kansas would have been listed second. They don’t advance teams in such cases. Take the case of Kansas in its 1971 Final Four appearance.

UCLA won in ’71. Runner-up Villanova had to vacate its tournament victories after it was discovered superstar Howard Porter signed a pro contract with an ABA team during the season. Same year, Western Kentucky got a “vacate” after it was found that Jim McDaniels had signed a pro contract to play for an ABA team and accepted money during the season. Kansas, with an 0-2 record in the ’71 Final Four, was not moved up the chain; still listed at fourth. Oh, the NCAA way!

The Final Four itself has other major “vacations”, beyond Memphis in 2008 and those ’71 casualties. First one came in 1961 when St. Joseph’s vacated its Final Four appearance due to player involvement in a fixing scandal.

Then there is 1980 when a runner-uppancy by coach Larry Brown’s UCLA Bruins was annotated due the use of ineligibles Kiki Vandeweghe and Rod Foster. Some other Final Four notables:

Memphis State’s appearance was vacated due to use of ineligible players as were all NCAA Tournament appearances from 1982 to 1986. That’s before they ever heard of emerging bandit John Calipari. In 1992 and 1993, Michigan vacated the results of 114 games won while four players, Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock were not eligible. That included both Final Four dalliances.

Calipari again: Massachusetts’ 1996 Final Four appearance was vacated due to Marcus Camby prematurely signing with an agent. In ’97, Minnesota had to vacate the Final Four and many of its games between 1996 and 1999 due to the use of ineligible players who had school work completed by school assistants.

Came ’99 and Ohio State lost its Final Four status as punishment for the improper actions of coach Jim O’Brien. Nothing, of course, has topped the stripping of 38 Memphis wins in 2008.

Wrote Mike Lopresti in USA Today: “From 1980 to 2005, there were only two years without a ‘vacate’.” Coaches, players, agents, tutors, these and more were involved. Officially, the NCAA has slapped a “V” on 35 schools, but remains gutless in at least two cases.

Kentucky won the title in ’48, ’49 and ’51, then came fixing scandals involving Wildcats. Not a trace of an asterisk. City College of New York won both the NCAA and NIT in 1950, was loaded with convicted point-shavers; again, no asterisk.

What’s surprising is the number of biggies like UCLA, Michigan and Ohio State among the 35 schools penalized. But a highly pleasant aspect for Jayhawk fans is that KU for all its NCAA activity does not have a single asterisk of infamy attached to its name.


Martin Rosenblum 12 years, 5 months ago

New sequel coming to theatres near you:

"National Lampoon;s NCAA Vacation"

Starring : John Calipari as Clark Griswold, Derrick Rose as Rusty, Marcus Camby as the brother-in-law Eddie, also featuring John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

KU1979 12 years, 5 months ago

So, if the NCAA had done it's job, we would have gotten to 2,000 wins before UK. We'll probably get there today and they would be way short.

ParisHawk 12 years, 5 months ago

The infamy is that ESPN360 still isn't showing the KU game in its list of upcoming games :(

By the way, I thought the Memphis asterisk was still being appealed. Has the final decision come down on that?

Mark Anderson 12 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the KU game is listed as up-coming on ESPN360. Here's the link: It is listed at 12:30 eastern time.

Woody Cragg 12 years, 5 months ago

You can bet "Johnny the Squid" will be there again. He love the OAD who basically can barely tie their own shoes. Yes, the terminator will return. And his down pat reply, "goo, goo." The nuts aren't far from the trees.

Woody Cragg 12 years, 5 months ago

You can bet "Johnny the Squid" will be there again. He loves the OAD who basically can barely tie their own shoes. Yes, the terminator will return. And his down pat reply, "goo, goo." The nuts aren't far from the trees.

justanotherfan 12 years, 5 months ago

There's a reason that the NCAA doesn't change the standings after vacating wins.

It's the same reason most other associations follow the same rules.

Take 2008 for instance. On their way to the national title game Memphis beat Texas Arlington (16), Mississippi State (9), Michigan State (4), Texas (2), and UCLA (1). Eliminate Memphis from the tournament and you can't just automatically move anyone up. Maybe Texas wins the region if Memphis isn't there, then rides that wave to a title over KU (they had beaten the Hawks earlier in the season. Maybe the seedings are different and instead of the run that KU had, they end up in a region with UCLA, or Michigan State, or whoever.

That's why the standings don't change. Basketball is about matchups. Take away one team, and you can't just assume that everything breaks the exact same way.

On another note, the fact that only two final fours since 1980 have not had an asterisk of some type attached to them seems interesting.

I am in favor of the NCAA enacting a rule that prevents them from going back and changing the landscape if they have cleared players unless there is proof of criminal activity (and by proof I mean convictions). Going back after the fact (as they did in the Rose situation after he was cleared by their clearinghouse twice) is somewhat unfair. What if, years from now, someone is able to produce hard and fast proof that Darrell Arthur's high school transcripts were doctored, or if it's discovered that Darnell Jackson never paid the money back for his trip home? Would it be fair for the NCAA to go back in 2015 and vacate the 2008 title. What if someone came forward in a few years and showed that a benevolent Florida alum paid for the health care of Corey Brewer's ailing father while he was at UF? Should the 2006 and 2007 champs be removed? Those would be violations that would cause each of those players to be ineligible, and remove the titles.

I know Mayer hates Kentucky and hates Calipari even more, but this is a silly story. Let the games be played on the floor. I bet if you researched every champ from 1990 until now very thoroughly (I'm talking academics, financial statements, cars they drive, etc), you could find something questionable that, if investigated long enough, would cause some player on one of those teams to be ineligible and open the door to vacating even more titles.

Funhawk 12 years, 5 months ago

"Emerging bandit" is a great match of adjective and noun.

PierceChanning 12 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Mayer,

You are aware Kansas won their national title while they were on probation and did so with a player who was ruled to not have a high school degree, right? Had Memphis won that game, Kansas would have vacated their season. The NCAA doesn't punish the champions because they can't handle the black eye.

ParisHawk 12 years, 5 months ago


Thanks, but that link sends me (as all similar ones do), to the European version that you pay for individually. My version doesn't list the game yet. I have submitted a trouble ticket to them.

ParisHawk 12 years, 5 months ago


Yes, KU was on probation but had the right to compete in postseason tournaments and used only eligible players.

You say a "player ... was ruled to not have a high school degree". That is untrue. You are referring to Darrell Arthur. There was an accusation that one of his math grades got changed in high school. That was never "ruled" to be the case by anyone.

TreHawks 12 years, 5 months ago

Thank you, ParisHawk. PierceChanning has his facts all wrong.

Arthur’s grade was changed during his JUNIOR year so he could play in a state championship game. Arthur could not change the grade himself; a teacher did it. The grade change had absolutely nothing to do with Arthur trying to gain eligibility to KU, unlike Derrick Rose, who cheated on his SAT test for no other purpose than gaining eligibility to play basketball at Memphis.

Also, it was determined that the alleged grade change did not effect his graduation status at all and he received his diploma.

Steve Gantz 12 years, 5 months ago

So in Mayer's logic KU should have been retroactively been awarded 2nd place? Doesn't make me feel any better. They still lost. 2nd would just be a hollow victory.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago


You do understand that as ParisHawk and TreHawks posts indicate, you seem to have very little credibility IMHO. :-)

wyansas 12 years, 5 months ago

Are you kidding me Mayer?! Didn't we make it clear with your Kentucky article that we hate this kinda crap?

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Bill Mayer,

You manned up this time. Bully for you.

BBallFan421 12 years, 5 months ago

Kansas------5 Major NCAA infractions------3 Championships Kentucky----4 Major NCAA infractions------7 Championships UCLA-------3 Major NCAA infractions-----11 Championships UNC -------- 1 Major NCAA infraction-------5 Championships Duke -------- 1 Major NCAA infraction-------3 Championships

^-----to read more

Mayer, your Jayhawks are not "sweaky clean" as you make them out to be. People in glass houses should not throw stones. Fact is there are violations happening at most schools, DOESN'T make it right, but there are skeletons in everyone's closet.

The only good point you bring out with this piece of trash is that YES, the NCAA has to have a better, more modern way of dealing with schools and the student-athlete.

Brak 12 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for link BBallFan, best quote ever referring to Kentucky Wildcats:

"The Cats might not have invented cheating, but they seem to have been good at it before anybody else."

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