Villanova in 1971, UCLA in 1980 and Ohio State in 1999 all competed in the NCAA Final Four, but they no longer are considered Final Four teams.
So the NCAA infractions committee's decision to vacate Memphis' accomplishments from the 2007-08 basketball season is not without precedent. And yet it appears to be unprecedented.
Because out of all the previous Final Four teams that have disappeared into history's dumpster, none arrived there with an arm of the NCAA serving as an unwitting participant in the transgression.
Before Derrick Rose could play basketball at the University of Memphis, the NCAA eligibility clearinghouse examined his academic records, including his standardized test score, and determined they met the minimum standards for eligibility to compete as a freshman.
Memphis accepted this verification and used Rose as the team's point guard in 40 games, 38 of which the Tigers won, including five in the NCAA Tournament.
A little more than a month after Rose missed a free throw that might have clinched the NCAA championship for the Tigers, the Educational Testing Service cancelled Rose's qualifying SAT score, technically rendering him ineligible to have played in that game.
Thursday, we were told two things about this transaction by NCAA infractions committee chair Paul Dee.
"When you have a situation where information is not known at the time, and information appears to be valid on its face, then I assess no blame. Because the score was cancelled after the fact, it's hard to say that anyone could have foreseen that would happen."
This was his response when asked about the apparent inefficacy of the clearinghouse that approved Rose's eligibility.
"The matter of initial eligibility is one of the NCAA rules where there is strict liability. Not infrequently, we find that information comes to light after a student/athlete has participated. For example, if a student/athlete becomes a professional ...
"If the student/athlete is academically ineligible, the penalty is related back to the time."
This was Dee's response when asked how Memphis could be punished for unknowingly utilizing an ineligible player.
This outrageous double standard leaves Memphis with an historic season that has been erased from history. The NCAA has ordered the school to remove any banners or signs that acknowledge the 2008 Final Four trip and to remove any recognition of the 38 victories from its media guide and other publications. It even declared coach John Calipari will have the 38 wins removed from his career record.
The university, to its credit, defended itself against the allegations at a June hearing and tried to fend off the vacating of its records. An appeal is planned. There is a financial component to the penalty for Memphis — having to return the money it earned for participating in the tournament — but Calipari has moved on to Kentucky and Rose now plays for the Chicago Bulls. Many schools in Memphis' situation would have accepted this punishment so long as there were no serious sanctions affecting future teams.
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