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Monday, March 22, 2010

The Commercial Appeal - University of Memphis appeal turned down by NCAA; school may seek Calipari's bonuses

University of Memphis appeal turned down by NCAA; school may seek Calipari's bonuses
By Dan Wolken
Posted March 22, 2010 at 10:58 a.m. , updated March 22, 2010 at 3:36 p.m.

The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee “found no basis” to reverse the penalties levied against the University of Memphis for men’s basketball violations during the 2007-08 season, it said in a release this morning.

The final decision now brings to a close the issue involving former point guard Derrick Rose, who was ruled retroactively ineligible by the NCAA after his SAT score was invalidated by the Educational Testing Service. There were also violations involving Rose’s brother, Reggie Rose, who was not charged by the university for more than $2,000 in travel expenses with the team. Memphis was only charged with a failure to monitor for the travel issue.

Last August, Memphis was ordered to vacate its NCAA-record 38 wins from the 2007-08 season and forfeit all revenue associated with its run to the national championship game. Memphis appealed the penalties, but the Infractions Appeals Committee said it found no basis to conclude that the penalties were excessive.

The University issued a release today saying it “strongly disagrees with the result, but understands that the decision is final.”

“ I am extremely disappointed with the findings,” athletic director R.C. Johnson said. “However, the ruling has been handed down and we must move forward. The future of Tiger athletics is indeed, very bright.”

John Calipari, the Tigers' coach when the violations occurred and now coach at Kentucky, issued a statement on his Web site and noted that he would have no other comment: "I am disappointed in the Association’s denial of the appeal and I’m saddened for the players who worked so hard for all we accomplished that season. My hope is that individual player records for games played and won over a four year period will stand."

As a result of the financial penalties, Memphis will forfeit roughly $615,000 in NCAA Tournament revenue, most of which had not yet been disbursed to the school.

Last August, Johnson said the school would consider recalling Calipari's bonuses associated with the 2007-08 season if the appeal failed. Calipari earned $200,000 for making the Final Four and $160,000 for winning 81% of his games.

"That is now on the table, and we’re going to take a look at that and decide what to do," legal counsel Sheri Lipman said. "R.C. gave that answer and said we would pursue it. We’re going to be looking at that internally."

Lipman said Memphis would "absolutely" have to remove its 2008 Final Four banner from FedExForum.

Bob Eoff, vice president for communications, public relations and marketing for the U of M, said university president Dr. Shirley Raines would not be available for further comment. He referred The Commercial Appeal to the school's official release, in which Raines urged more cooperation and communication between the ETS, the NCAA Eligibility Center and universities to work together on test score issues.

"She is heading to the NCAA next week and plans to deliver a message to the board at that time that coincides with the statement released this morning about the cooperation between the testing service and the NCAA to keep this kind of thing from happening again," Eoff said.

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