Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

September 14, 2010

Kentucky’s fate may be decided in Birmingham

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 4:05 pm

This morning the Birmingham News reported that former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe was the happy beneficiary of a high-school algebra grade that improved from a C on the instructor’s grade report form to an A on Bledsoe’s transcript. The A was enough, barely, to make Bledsoe eligible for D-I basketball. Also looking into this case are outside lawyers hired by the Birmingham school district, as well as the NCAA.

Just in the past couple seasons the NCAA has built up enough case law, for lack of a better term, for us to throw around some learned conjecture regarding what might happen next. At root there are three possibilities:

1. Nothing happens. Obviously if there’s an innocent explanation for the grade change, then everyone–Bledsoe, the school district, the NCAA–will go about their business. Bledsoe’s algebra instructor told the News that the A was in fact the correct grade.

2. The Darrell Arthur scenario. The lawyers come back and say the explanation for the grade change isn’t innocent after all, but the school district leaves Bledsoe’s diploma alone. And if Bledsoe still has a valid high school diploma in place, then the NCAA leaves Kentucky’s 2009-10 season on the books. The precedent here is supplied by former Kansas forward Darrell Arthur. The Texas state championship that Arthur’s high school team won his junior year had to be forfeited after it was discovered that Arthur had failing grades changed after the fact. The Dallas Independent School District, however, chose not to revoke Arthur’s high school diploma. In light of Arthur’s continued possession of the required credential, he was eligible to play D-I ball and thus the Jayhawks’ 2008 national championship still stands. (On a side note, I have no problem with the NCAA vacating seasons but I would be appalled by a school district nullifying a diploma that they had previously awarded. A better solution would surely be to tell Bledsoe or Arthur or whomever: This transcript looks fishy, so you have one year to pass this class for real. Not that a first-round pick cares about his high school diploma. Just stating it for the record.)

3. The Derrick Rose scenario. If on the other hand the Birmingham school district were to declare Bledsoe’s diploma invalid–just like the Educational Testing Service declared former Memphis guard Derrick Rose‘s SAT score invalid–then in the NCAA’s eyes Bledsoe was never eligible to begin with. Kentucky played an ineligible player, and thus the 2009-10 season never happened. 

The key point underlying both 2 and 3 is that the pivotal decisions could presumably be made by the Birmingham school district, not by the NCAA. Indeed in both the Arthur and the Rose cases the NCAA took the position that, in effect, their hands were tied even as they reached diametrically opposed results, letting the 2008 Kansas season stand but vacating the 2008 Memphis season.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress