Posted on: April 7, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 12:45 pm

Calhoun says he offered to miss games this year

Posted by Matt Norlander

What if I told you, earlier this year Jim Calhoun offered to serve his three-game suspension from the NCAA as soon as possible, and the NCAA told him no? According to Calhoun, that's exactly what happened. The UConn coach went on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and stated he went to the NCAA, said he'd sit out three games this season rather than next (which is what the NCAA ruled as part of UConn's overarching punishment), only to be told he'd be punished next year.

"I haven't really discussed publicly too much about the NCAA," Calhoun said. "I volunteered ... this is the first time I've publicly have said this, to sit out games this year. Because I took full responsibility of anything that happened within my program. Whether I agree or disagree with the NCAA is not important. I am the head coach at the University of Connecticut, therefore I should take full responsibility for anything that happened. Their answer was "no," and I said, "All right, but I don't want to appeal anything," that's why I'm not going to appeal anything. They said no."

With that comment, if it's true, Calhoun makes the NCAA look even worse. What's the point of not punishing him immediately? Calhoun knew very well three games docked in late February/early March would've had more impact than the first three games of next season. The UConn sanctions were seen as light, considering everything that was involved in the Nate Miles scandal. It would've made the NCAA look a lot better to punish a coach immediately, rather than wait for next season, something it got killed for in the Ohio State football scenario as well.

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"The three games is fine," Calhoun said. "I would live with that. If they feel they need something that's penal, that's OK. But I would have liked to have done it at the end of this season, and I thought that would've been more fair. Because, why start it up next year? Again, it's been two and a half years."

The man makes a point that's hard to refute. Patrick then asked Calhoun directly if he was the one being punished here, or if it was more about his program, in general.

"I gave out three unauthorized tickets to people who told me they weren't coaching AAU and I made four impermissible calls," Calhoun said. "That's what I've been charged with."

To be fair, Calhoun's not taking full responsibility there, claiming ignorance about people who said they were something they weren't. But he did continue to own his mistakes, when in reality, this punishment still stokes his fires. Those close to the program know Calhoun believes, in his heart of hearts, he shouldn't be serving a three-game suspension.

Outside of this press release, Calhoun hasn't spoken much publicly about his team's violations, his suspension or given true reaction to the NCAA's punishment for him and his program. Somewhat out of nowhere, he decided to open up on Patrick's show. A credit to Patrick for getting the 68-year-old coach to divulge about this matter mere days after doing the unthinkable, winning a third national title with a team that wasn't ranked in the preseason.

"I've done this for 39 years," he said. "I know that I'm not warm and fuzzy to everybody, nor do I really care that people do or don't perceive me as that. I care if you talk to my former players, if you talk to the people who really know me. But I don't seek out to have everyone know me, either. ... I know what I've done, I know who I am, and I'm very comfortable with that. ... I'm responsible for anything that happens, whether I know or don't know."

Aside from the suspension talk, Calhoun also said he has every intention of coming back to coach next season. He wasn't definitive, but was very optimistic about returning, talking about his incoming recruits (UConn has a highly touted class) and the expected growth of Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb.

Photo: US Presswire
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 10, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 8:24 pm

Unlike Pearl, Pelphrey's crime could be costly

Posted by Matt Norlander

It’s not as bad as Bruce Pearl, but it’s definitely in the same ballpark.

And Arkansas coach John Pelphrey’s most likely going to lose his job over it. A photo. Another freaking photo. A photo that looks as harmless as the coach so wrongfully taking part in it.

At least Pelphrey didn't lie about it, unlike Pearl. But, to be fair, Pelphrey hasn't been in the same room with people from the NCAA and been given a chance to lie. Also, in his defense (?), Pelphrey did not invite recruits to his house and ask them to go forward and pretend it never happened.

There should be a new rule instituted, or at least a code amongst college basketball coaches: Unless there’s a blood relation, no more pictures taken with anyone under the age of 18. Ever. It’s best not to chance it. Because things like this happen. Things get out. Things are now always getting out, coaches, don't you know that? Yes, you do. Yet this still goes on. The temptation seems Teflon to consequences, no matter how harsh.

Amazing that Pelphrey not only breaks the rules and visits a couple of high school juniors, but then he willfully puts evidence out there. Only a matter of time, in this culture, until the no-no falls crosses the wrong eyes and gets in the wrong ears. The Arkansas coach couldn’t stay away, and now the Arkansas administration will have its hand forced. Or maybe guided, seeing how many believe Pelphrey’s a dead man walking, as is.

This seems to be the tipping point of Pelphrey's tenure.

The symbiosis of this, and how it's ironic as well, is Pelphrey had quite the 2011 recruiting coup. With a heralded class coming in, he was  believed to have at least two more years to turn ship in Fayetteville. But an 18-12 season and a 7-9 SEC record was apparently not enough to warrant him sticking around to reap the rewards of his apparently shady recruiting.

The irony here is unavoidable. Bruce Pearl still has a job for lying and covering up, and then breaking rules after confessing to his lying and cover-ups. Now, here comes Pelphrey, a fellow SEC coach who's probable to be cut loose from the Hogs for a crime far less egregious, but just as illegal.

Photo: AP
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 2:04 pm

Pearl, Tennessee's fates still far from decided

Posted by Matt Norlander

There's a double helix of charges coming down against the University of Tennessee today. The dreaded-but-unescapable Notice of Allegations, the NCAA's formal here's-what-you-did-wrong checklist, has gone public. If you'd like to read how the football program is affected, I encourage you to check out the excellent work being done at our sister blog.

As for the men's basketball program and Bruce Pearl, here are the official allegations.
  • Impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes resulting from a cumulative total of 96 impermissible phone calls over a 24-month period (Aug. 1, 2007 through July 29, 2009).
  • By the head men's basketball coach: impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes during an unofficial visit, acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches within the men's basketball program.
  • By the head men's basketball coach and associate head coach: impermissible contact with a prospective student-athlete at his high school.
  • By the three members of the men's basketball assistant coaching staff: failure to furnish full and complete information relevant to the investigation.
Tennessee has until May 21 to rebut the allegations. UConn did this, rather intensely and defiantly, and look where it got them (a less punishment than many wanted/expected). The most critical thing to keep in mind here: Everything that the NCAA has now put out, Tennessee already knew. There is no shell-shock in Knoxville today. Some months back, when Pearl's lying and shame became known, you can best believe he got in a room with the most important people at the University of Tennessee and was forced to confess all his sins, lest they fire him before the 2010-11 season began.

Since he's done that, he's been kept on the job. An eight-game SEC suspension, handed down by the commission of the conference, didn't stop Tennessee from keeping Pearl around. This is merely more metaphorical water coming onto the boat, and AD Mike Hamilton will do his best to get the buckets out for the short-term.

And Pearl's not going to lose his job unless a major punishment comes from the NCAA later this year.

Going forward, here are the three big events we're waiting on:
  1. Tennessee to make its case against the NCAA's allegations, which it must do by May 21. Expect a rebuttal.
  2. Pearl and Co. will be called before the Committee on Infractions on June 10 and 11 of this year, when a final airing of grievances will be made on behalf of both parties. Expect Pearl to show a humble attitude that Jim Calhoun and UConn left behind long ago. Being caught in a litany of lies tends to get a guy grounded.
  3. Hopefully (and this didn't happen so swiftly with UConn) by the end of August, we'll have a verdict on the punishment Tennessee and Pearl will be given. From there, we'll truly know if Pearl will stay on as head coach at Tennessee.
For now, it's more public shame and embarrassment. More bad talk of Pearl at a time when college basketball orbits into the embraceable heat of the media's sunlight. But this is no punishment. This is just airing out the dirty laundry and letting the onlookers leer and gawk once again, allowing all of us to question just how the hell Pearl's been able to hold on to his job.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:24 am

Sources: Calhoun to be cited, no postseason ban

Posted by Matt Norlander

The NCAA will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. today in which it will announce the fate it's put upon the Connecticut men's basketball program.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz has a source telling him Jim Calhoun will be cited for "failing to create an atmosphere of compliance" amid the Nate Miles controversy. That story was first broken after an investigation was done by Yahoo! Sports nearly two years ago.

Gary Parrish has confirmed Katz's initial report, which also states UConn assistant Beau Archibald will be given a two-year show-cause. What's a show-cause? It basically means Archibald cannot be hired by anyone at the NCAA level without the Committee on Infractions' say-so. (He's basically put on the shelf for two years, something some believe may happen to Bruce Pearl in some capacity eventually.) Calhoun's name will be draped over this, but it's not looking like the Huskies will get slammed by the NCAA.

UConn is not expected to be dealt any sort of postseason ban. That harsh punishment could've been avoided due to the fact the Huskies cutting themsleves via two years worth a probation and docking a scholarship for this season and next.

On the surface, and before everything goes public on behalf of the NCAA, this looks like UConn's going to get out of this mess without too many gashes; a multitude of scrapes is more like it.

Check back in with us just after 3 p.m., when we'll be updating the blog with news and commentary.

Photo: Getty Images
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com