This is how it's forever going to be, UK fans
Posted on: December 18, 2009 6:22 am
Edited on: December 18, 2009 10:19 am
Bob Knight spoke at a fundraiser Thursday night.
Predictably, he managed to make national headlines.
"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching," Knight said. "You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that."
This is the place where Kentucky fans would like me to tell you that John Calipari has never been directly implicated in anything, and the place where fans of every other school, particularly Memphis fans, would like me to tell you that Knight speaks the truth, and God bless him. But I'm not interested in sparking that debate because the Calipari debate has been going on for months, if not years, and it never reaches a conclusion.
If he coaches your school, you love him.
If not, you think he's a lying cheater.
There's almost no in-between.
And this is how it's going to be forever, UK fans, and why it was clear -- even before Knight said what he said -- that any success Calipari has going forward will be tainted regardless of whether it's really tainted. Until the day he retires, the majority of observers will believe, fair or not, that every recruit Calipari gets is a product of his relationship with William Wesley even if Worldwide Wes has never met the recruit. All SATs will be assumed fake even if they're legit, all future pros will supposedly have agents even if they do not.
There's no sense in fighting that perception.
There's certainly no way of changing that perception.
On Thursday night, it was Bob Knight taking a shot at Calipari.
In March during the NCAA tournament, it'll be every columnist in America.
That's what the $30 million Kentucky spent on Calipari has brought the school -- a coach who will lure lots of great recruits, win countless big games, and hang banners while people ask whether Kentucky really expects those banners to remain after an inevitable NCAA investigation. Then Kentucky fans will yell about how Calipari wasn't tied to anything. Then everybody will roll their eyes and laugh. And around and around we go.