NCAA discusses Memphis’ possible violations
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The NCAA met with Memphis officials on Saturday to discuss major violations and the school must now wait at least six weeks for a ruling on whether its 38 wins from the 2007-08 season will count.
The most serious allegation taken up at the meeting was whether an unknown person took the SAT for a player.
The NCAA has said the athlete in question played for the Tigers for only the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. The only person who fits the description in documents obtained by The Associated Press is Derrick Rose, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft after that season.
Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson had no comment as he left the four-hour meeting. Memphis president Dr. Shirley Raines also would not speak, but issued a statement.
“Although we cannot comment on the specifics of what occurred during the hearing, I can say that as president, I reiterated the university’s commitment to NCAA rules compliance,” Raines said. “We believe we were able to fully answer the committee’s questions and present the actions we have already taken based upon our internal investigations.”
Memphis officials have said the school should keep the victories from the 2007-08 season that ended in the national title game. An NCAA spokeswoman said a ruling is expected between six and eight weeks.
“We are hopeful that we will receive a favorable decision on behalf of the university in this matter,” Raines said. “We look forward to having more to say after the committee has released its decision.”
A letter from the NCAA forced new Kentucky coach John Calipari to participate in the hearing. The NCAA says Calipari, who coached the Memphis Tigers during the season in question, isn’t considered “at risk” in the probe.
Calipari explained in one letter than he wouldn’t be able to attend because of a previously scheduled trip to China, but the chairman of the NCAA’s committee on infractions told him he needed to participate anyway, either through phone or video conference.
Memphis confirmed on Saturday that Calipari took part in the meeting by phone.
Memphis could face similar meetings with the NCAA in the future. Another player, Robert Dozier, also has had questions surface about his entrance exams.
Dozier’s inconsistent SAT scores prevented him from being admitted to the University of Georgia in 2004. His initial SAT score was invalidated by the company that scores the exam, and his follow-up score was dramatically lower, according to Georgia records obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Dozier’s four-year career at Memphis ended with the 2008-09 season.
Dozier’s SAT problems were first reported by ESPN.com.
Johnson declined to comment Friday on Dozier when contacted by The Associated Press, saying he was focused on preparations for Saturday’s hearing.
However, earlier Johnson told ESPN.com he was confident the school had “done all the things we’re supposed to do” regarding Dozier.
Looking for a replacement for Calipari, Memphis contacted several high-profile coaches but ended up turning to 31-year-old Calipari assistant Josh Pastner.
Pastner, who has said he knew nothing about the NCAA allegations before being hired, declined Saturday to talk about any possible effects from the investigation on the new program he is building. He did not participate in the meeting with the NCAA.
“There’s just so much to look forward to, so much positive,” Pastner said. “There’s so much positive, academically, athletically and socially at the University of Memphis that I’m just talking about all the positives about the University of Memphis.”