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Kentucky Wildcat Basketball and the Nike Scandal; How Bad is it?


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Interesting read over on KSR with regard to the depth, or lack thereof, of the University of Kentucky in the brewing Nike scandal. As we already know the mystery assistant coach for Kentucky who exchanged texts with Nike's bag-man, Carlton DeBose, is indeed Kenny Payne. The question is; how deep in is UK? Do they play the same game that every other major, and some mid major, programs play with signing high level recruits? The rationalization fest on KSR did not quell my nerves and no manner of homer rambling will convince me that UK is squeaky clean. However, the question still stands.

Recruiting Tradition of John Calipari at UK:

This is the big one for me. The style and system established by Calipari at UK for recruiting high level talent. Calipari doesn't have to bring a bag of cash to your parent's house and slap it on the coffee table to sign high end talent. His traditional pitch has been "Come to UK and we will plug you into the league and if you're good enough, or close to good enough, we will get you drafted and or signed! Wait 7 or 8 measly months lounging in the most luxurious basketball facilities on earth, get the best training, and then you will be rich!".. That is Calipari's recruiting pitch and it works! So he has no need for the bags of cash from Nike.

The NCAA's Ever-present Watchdog on UK and Calipari:

That is self explanatory, the NCAA would like nothing more than to drill Calipari and Co. Sure, Calipari is the only coach to have 2 Final Fours vacated and yes Calipari comes across, sometimes, as a used car salesman that you wouldn't under any circumstances buy a car off of, but I truly believe, as far as the pay for play scandals are concerned, that Calipari is clear of any wrongdoing.

The Fact that Duke must go Down if the NCAA pushes the Nike Scandal:

Ahhh, the big one. The biggest elephant in the room, the fact that it's not UK who is the focus of so much scrutiny with regard to this scandal, it's Duke. It's all circumstantial at this point but it certainly appears that Duke is neck deep in this scandal and if the truth ever comes out fully it will probably be revealed that Duke became involved to keep up with UK on the recruiting trail. The poncey narrative within the whole "One and Done" argument a few years ago faded into the ether when Duke started playing the same game. But; did Duke play a different game? Did they simply buy their talent? We shall see, maybe. However, I truly do not believe the NCAA has the stomach to crush Duke.

Conclusion:

Why I still believe this is bad, because it puts the UK program under the microscope and will cause distractions, I do not believe UK is as "involved" as say; a Duke. I believe UK has a unique closed circuit system for recruiting as described above and by the very nature of that system alone shields UK from the corruption now being exposed at Nike. Has a few recruits slipped through the cracks that may have taken illegal cash from Nike and or other AAU vampires? Of course, absolutely yes and if the NCAA is forced to investigate Duke on these matters one can bet their bullocks to a barn dance that the NCAA will go after UK with both barrels.


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