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Putting the cart before the horse: ESPN talks sanctions against UK before an official investigation


Maybe I missed something.  In the midst of my Memorial Day weekend, maybe I missed the big announcement that the NCAA was investigating Kentucky and John Calipari for their nefarious roles in the Eric Bledsoe scandal..  It is possible that I may have blacked out some over the course of the holiday weekend, but I seriously think I would remember the NCAA announcing an investigation.

Regardless, that bit of truth does not seem to matter to our friends at the Worldwide Leader, ESPN.  They really need a new slogan, like Have we ever let the truth get in the way of a story?  But Dana Oneill  does not let the fact that Kentucky nor Calipari is not officially under investigation (and is unsure if an investigation will even be coming) and writes that the Bledsoe fallout could penalize Wildcats.  Dana is quick to throw out the possibility as a vacated season as a penalty for Kentucky, even though Kentucky has not been implicated in any way in the Times story:

A source with knowledge of NCAA rules said “depending on the specific facts that come out,” the NCAA’s options include deeming Bledsoe ineligible, which could potentially lead to forfeited games or even a vacated season.

Like a host of vultures, the national media is circling, ready to declare John Calipari’s college career dead and even some of the Kentucky writers are joining the bandwagon.  And of this moment, no one knows jack about what has actually happened or what is going to happen,   It’s all rumors and rampant speculation, but unfortunately this is what everyone is going to remember even as the actually truth may come out.

O’Neil then throws out three totally different situations of recent NCAA investigations to muddy the water and public perception.  O’Neil mentions the Renardo Sidney, Derrick Rose, and O.J. Mayo cases as in some way similar to the Bledsoe situation, but anyone even vaguely familiar with the cases knows there is no common ground.

Sidney’s investigation was over how Sidney’s family could afford the housing in Los Angeles for two years and Sidney’s affiliation with a sneaker company.  From some reports, the Sidney’s came from a humble background to a mini-mansion in LA.  The Bledsoe case is about three months rent in a $400 a month apartment.

The Derrick Rose situation is about an invalidated SAT score and improper travel benefits to a family member.  The Bledsoe situation is about school transcripts and academic work that have already been vetted by the NCAA on one other occasion and approved as being valid.  There are no test scores being thrown out here, just a matter of the NCAA possibly going back over information they have gone over before.

OJ Mayo was accused of receiving numerous gifts while a college student from a sports management company.  This was also part of a similar investigation of Reggie Bush.  The Bledsoe allegations concern someone helping to keep his family from being homeless while he was a student in HS.  It’s called survival mode, not padding a students pockets to sign with an agent.

Yet, ESPN lumps the Bledsoe situation in with the preceding examples and talks of sanctions before an investigation has even been launched against Kentucky.  I know it’s the weekend and no one really wants to have to work, but ESPN should consider it’s role in shaping public opinion and not throw together sloppy journalism.

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