Derrick Rose doesn’t have to play by the rules.
The former University of Memphis point guard never took the Scholastic Aptitude Test, instead having a friend sweat through the exam under Rose’s name.
The results of the SAT were then sent to the NCAA clearinghouse and the qualifying score resulted in Rose being admitted to Memphis. From there, the talented freshman helped lead the Tigers basketball team to a 38-win season and an appearance in the national title game.
Memphis ended up losing in the championship to Kansas, but now must forfeit (or “vacate,” as the pundits like to say) all 38 of their victories from that fateful 2007-2008 season.
All because Derrick Rose cheated. Knowingly cheated. And did so with zero regard for the consequences his former university now faces.
Rose ended up leaving Memphis after his freshman year. The one-and-done player became the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, returning to his hometown of Chicago to play for the Bulls.
He had an outstanding rookie campaign and became a fixture in the community he was raised in.
But amidst all the glory and good times was a cheater and a liar who had betrayed his school, its fans, and the entire spirit of college athletics.
What kind of message are we sending to young athletes when we make an example of the school and not the individual?
How do we expect kids to play by the rules if they witness their peers getting off scot-free while the university pays for one individual’s mistakes?
To be fair, Memphis is not entirely innocent in this whole matter. They provided Rose’s brother with free transportation to watch Rose play, a clear-cut violation of NCAA rules.
Yet even still it is hard to overlook the brazen nature of Rose’s crime.
If you didn’t take the SAT, you would know it.
If you let someone else take the SAT for you, under your name, you would know that, too.
And if you carried out the lie by keeping quiet throughout the whole ordeal, then that makes you 100 percent guilty in the court of public opinion.
Rose will continue to earn millions of dollars in the NBA.
He’ll likely earn millions more in endorsements.
He will probably go out into the community and speak with kids about getting an education, being honest, and playing fair in all aspects of life.
And yet deep down inside he will have to come to terms with the fact that he cheated and lied to millions of people. He broke the rules and got away with it, leaving an entire school behind to clean up the mess he left behind.
Rose cheated. And Memphis paid the price.