ABOVEFOLDFULL

The University of Kentucky (UK) may have prompted the investigation into James Wiseman’s eligibility, and with the news of James Wiseman’s eligibility in jeopardy, the now Kentucky Wildcat coach’s name has slithered back into the conversation.

Wiseman, the number one recruit in the 2019 recruiting class, committed to the University of Memphis over popular basketball schools such as Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina. In May, Wiseman’s eligibility was cleared by the NCAA, including a disclosure of the $11,500 Penny Hardaway gave to Wiseman’s mother for moving expenses in 2017 before he was the Memphis coach. On Nov. 5, Wiseman made his first collegiate appearance. Three days later, the NCAA declared that Wiseman was “likely ineligible.”

That is part of what makes Wiseman’s case so unique. Not only was Wiseman declared eligible, but the certification was then reopened, and the ruling over his eligibility was completely changed.

Richard Johnson, an attorney based in Ohio, has dealt with legal matters from the NCAA for over a decade. He is well known for representing Andrew Oliver, a freshman pitcher at Oklahoma State University (OSU). The NCAA ruled that Oliver was ineligible to play baseball at OSU due to having legal counsel during a meeting between Oliver and a MLB team in his house. The legal counsel Oliver had was deemed an agent, which was an NCAA violation at the time.

Oliver v. NCAA was the first college athlete lawsuit against the NCAA to ever go to trial, resulting in the first court victory by a college athlete against the NCAA. As an expert on legal matters regarding the NCAA, Johnson believes there is some sort of outside influence that coerced the NCAA to reopen the file involving Wiseman’s eligibility.

“I know how the NCAA works,” said Johnson. “That file was closed. They deal with hundreds of thousands of athlete certifications every year. Once the file is closed, it does not get reopened. That is, unless someone with a lot of power wants it to be reopened. There is no reason for this to be reopened unless someone wants it to. My guess is that it is the University of Kentucky—they’re the ones who have the motive.”

Penny Hardaway, in only his second season at the helm of an NCAA basketball program, managed to bring in the top recruiting class in the nation this past year. Three of the nine incoming freshmen had some form of interaction with UK during their recruitment process: Wiseman, Jeffries, and Lester Quinones. D.J. Jeffries, a five-star recruit, had even committed to the Wildcats prior to committing and signing to the UofM, but these are just motives from the past year.

Calipari might be recognized as one of the NCAA’s best coaches in the win column, but a dive into his past shows a pattern of cheating and lying by the schools he was at — even while he was at Memphis. During his stint as the head coach at the University of Massachusetts, he faced a vacated Final Four appearance due to a player accepting money and services from agents.

Although Calipari denied knowing this was occurring, he was connected to another violation while he was the head coach at the UofM. Derrick Rose was found to have violated NCAA bylaws when he allegedly had someone else take his SAT in Detroit, instead of Chicago — where Rose lived at the time.

Calipari was informed by the NCAA of this violation on Jan. 16, 2009, more than two months before taking the job at UK. At the time, DeMarcus Cousins had committed to the UofM and John Wall was soon on the way. Both recruits ended up playing for Calipari and the Wildcats.

“I’m sure all of these college coaches are jealous of Penny, because but the real deal,” Johnson said.

After all, Hardaway is not only a former NBA superstar, he is also an Olympic gold medalist. A feat that has not been achieved through play by Calipari nor North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. When personal accolades come into the conversation, it is easier to see the effect that Hardaway’s reputation has on the recruitment process.

“That gang of coaches who were never good players themselves, let alone star players, let alone gold medal winners, don’t want him in their club,” Johnson said. “He makes them look bad. It also makes them feel inferior because, well, they are.”

The NCAA would have had a very hard time deciding to go back into a closed file to re-investigate an athlete in the manner that it did. Among the hundreds of thousands of athletes who have to be cleared by the NCAA every year, reopening Wiseman’s file is like finding a needle in a haystack.

“I know, from how they operate, that couldn’t have happened without influence from somebody from the outside,” Johnson said. “It is logical that the only person to intervene was someone with a motive.”

Calipari has clear ties to Memphis as a city and institution. The motive is there, and reopening the case does not happen by accident, Johnson said.

“I don’t know exactly who or why this happened. What I do know is that this does not happen by accident. It happens when somebody interferes with the process--that’s the only way it can happen,” Johnson said.

(16) comments

BlueTiger

Calipari is a deceitful gangster and could very well be the culprit. He's been EXPOSED as deceitful at every university where he's coached. If guilty this time, he'll pay the piper.

Ksha

The only reason your hating on Cal is because he left memphis for a better school. Hate on penny for making a mistake. Need to worry about who Wiseman will get money from this time to pay 11,500 back.

Wheatgerm

To refresh everyone's memory, the NCAA never ruled on whether Derrick Rose took his own SAT. It didn't have to. Instead, the Educational Testing Service, the company administering the test, found Rose's score invalid because he refused to cooperate and retake the test after successfully completing his first year at Memphis (a moot point, as the test predicts whether a student will successfully complete his or her first year of college).

Without a recognized test score, the NCAA reasoned, Rose did not meet the prerequisites for eligibility, notwithstanding NCAA clearance.

So Wiseman's situation is not unique. The NCAA certified Rose's eligibility, reopened the case, and reversed its finding. But unlike Wiseman, Rose played the entire year under the certification before Memphis (and Calipari) learned the NCAA was pulling the rug out from under their feet.

In both the Memphis and UMass cases, the NCAA found Calipari to be an innocent bystander and “not at risk.” This paper should be above innuendo to the contrary. And it should think better of attempting to out the whistleblower, if there is one. It’s a bad look for the administration and congressional Republicans, and it’s a bad look for the Daily Helmsman.

rc0213

I think any of the blue bloods would be guilty, if not some or all of them. Calipari does recruit in Memphis actively, so he would be on top of the suspect list.

But, at the very least, all the blue bloods have shown that they don't like how Coach Penny has stolen their 2019 recruits and they don't think a HC with no previous college HC experience should have success in the NCAA Basketball arena.

So, I say, put any, some of all of the blue blood as suspect, since they all have someone in the NCAA who could influence investigations. Calipari would have more of a personal reason for going after Coach Penny.

Not Little Penny

This is delusional, millennial, crack-pipe smoking nonsense. Show one iota of proof. Put up or shut up. I'd put Cal's and Roy's Final Fours and championship rings up against Lil' Penny's gold medal any day. They have decades of proven college coaching success. Penny is an unproven commodity. IF he shows that he can develop NBA talent and make it to the Final Four on a regular basis then maybe they will become concerned. The fact is Penny stepped in it. He knew the load had been given he should never have signed Wiseman and put Memphis in that position. BTW: Rose cheated before he ever signed with Memphis. Camby took money from an agent, when Cal found out he made Camby turn himself in. Memphis is the green-eyed monster and it's ugly. ROFLMAO@U.

BIGGBLUU

Sounds like you Memphis fans are butt hurt that Penny got caught with his hand in the cookie bowl UK has 8 Titles Memphis has none we are the premier program in College Basketball suck an egg

EarthBoundMisfit

Only in a retarded UK dan's mind does UK's 8 titles outweigh all-time leader UCLA...

Ksha

UCLA is a has been. Kentucky still at least makes run at a title.

EarthBoundMisfit

BTW...welcome to RUPPS RAFTER fans...

Lets clear a couple of things up.

NO, we DON'T want Calipari back.

Memphis did NOT try to get SKAL declared ineligible.

There is no correlation to Wiseman and Enes Kanter.

Kanter played PROFESSIONALLY....what part of that can y'all not understand?

Ksha

Next year if penny has another good recruiting class then I will believe he knows how to coach and recruit. Right now not looking to good for next season.

ncrdbl1

No, it was Penny who screwed Memphis. How could anyone think it is legal to give the family of a guy you want to come to play on your high school team $11,500 to help them move to your district? Many in Tigersnation are in a constant denial stage. We violated the rules and got caught so let's accept the penalty and move on. Fact is if this had been any of the previous coaches at the U of Memphis the fan base would be demanding his head. But we look the other way because it is our golden boy. And we point fingers elsewhere so we do not have to admit that Penny caused this entire deal.

tcurrygtg

Let’s correct something here. Penny didn’t “get caught”. You don’t “get caught” when you disclosed the situation up front before James was originally cleared in May.

What happened is we were going to be given a pass for being honest.

Then in July, guess who is named as Chair of the NCAA D1 MBB Committee?

The Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart.

Now suddenly the NCAA goes back on their word and decides it’s an issue now that it’s too late for James to go elsewhere. They’re trying to wrong him because they didn’t get him. It’s wrong.

All the more reason that we are certain that Kentucky is behind this.

What Penny did pales in comparison to some of the things other programs and coaches have been doing WHILE THEY WERE THE COACH, whereas Penny did this good deed long before Memphis suddenly fired Tubby and asked Penny. This situation is different than so many others around the country that continually get slaps on the wrist.

Wiseman should be cleared and allowed to play. Period.

scolo

It doesn’t matter if Penny was Memphis coach at time or not. He was a booster to the school, paid cash to a player he hoped to coach in High School. This is all on Penny and his ignorance of recruiting rules. I hope Cal did burn them. The kid shouldn’t be allowed to play for any NCAA program. Now Memphis will have the rep of not only being small time, but dirty. Sad.

EarthBoundMisfit

Dirty?

You mean like Kentucky?

A school that sold its soul to be the best?

How many times did they get caught cheating?

Memphis has never gotten the basketball death penalty for point shaving...or been dumb enough to have coaches get caught sending shoe boxes full of money.....

Whoops.

Not Little Penny

After giving the loan, Penny should have known it could be a problem when he took the coaching job. He should never have signed Wiseman. But implicating others with no proof is shameful.

EarthBoundMisfit

Ricky, stick to "wrasslin" and racecars.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.