NCAA to release Memphis findings

Updated: August 20, 2009, 1:38 PM ET
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com

Memphis will be forced to vacate the NCAA-record 38 victories from its Final Four season of 2007-08 under former coach John Calipari because of NCAA violations, several sources told ESPN.com.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions will announce its findings in a 3 p.m. ET conference call from Indianapolis. Dr. Shirley Raines, president of Memphis, told The Associated Press the school will hold its own media conference shortly afterward.

In May, the NCAA accused Memphis of several major infractions under Calipari, including a fraudulent SAT score by a player, later revealed to be Derrick Rose, and more than $2,000 in free travel provided to Rose's brother, Reggie.

A source said the current Memphis program will not be penalized and will escape a postseason ban or loss of scholarships.

Memphis originally received the notice of allegations on Jan. 16 and appeared before the committee in June. The main academic allegation against Rose is that someone stood in for him during the SAT, even though the NCAA Eligibility Center later cleared Rose to play.

Calipari, Memphis' coach at the time of the alleged infractions who is now the head coach of Kentucky, told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Wednesday that he wasn't aware the report would be released Thursday.

Calipari, appearing at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday, had no comment because the report had not been officially released, but did say he would be "disappointed" if Memphis was stripped of its trip to the Final Four.

"We don't know anything, because I'm not going to comment because I have to wait on the finding," Calipari said. "I would be disappointed if that's what they chose to do."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, appearing with Calipari on Thursday, said he isn't concerned about the troubles at Memphis following Calipari to the Wildcats.

"I'm not worried about it because they have never said Coach Cal did anything wrong at all," Beshear said. "I think he's a very upstanding guy. I think that's his reputation and I think that reputation will be with him here. I really don't foresee any problems."

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart, who hired Calipari away from Memphis earlier this year, declined to comment.

Barnhart told the AP last week he isn't concerned about the potential violations, which became known only after Kentucky hired Calipari. The coach has not been deemed "at risk" by the NCAA, and Barnhart stressed Calipari is eager to help the Wildcats win the right way.

"There's one thing John says: 'I want my banners to count for something and I want to put the rings on the fingers and let them stay there,' " Barnhart said. "That's important to him, and so he is embracing any help that we give him to make sure we're able to, at the end of the day, not have to look over our shoulders and worry."

If the Tigers' 2008 Final Four trip is indeed stricken from the record books, Calipari will become the first head coach to have vacated Final Four appearances with two different schools. His 1996 Massachusetts team met the same fate because of NCAA rules violations, even though Calipari was not implicated in that instance, either.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner declined to comment on the reports Thursday morning, deferring to university officials. Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson was not available for comment.

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Dana O'Neil | email

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