Sorry, Jim Calhoun, but you lost me when you clearly waited too long to publicly address and confess to your sins. So there goes Calhoun, wearing his innocent face last Friday afternoon in a speech that sounded contrite when he sent out a powerful message in hopes to escape a two-year scandal over NCAA infractions. I have this peculiar feeling that he's in denial, if nothing else.
He needed to be authentic, not closed-minded or naive about the fact that he committed a rogue misdeed prohibited by NCAA rules. Because he knew if he was ever going to move forward, avoid the inescapable of fraud that disclosed the disingenuousness in college hoops contaminated with toxic by coaches unaware or negligent of a scummy system, he decided to apologize publicly and diminish the guilt.
As we all should notice, regarding the NCAA investigations at UConn after revelations clearly unveiled a man of deceit and malfeasance, much confusion in this case is perplexing. Just recently, the NCAA rendered its verdict and Calhoun was delivered his sanction. Unfair as it is, he was handed a slap on the wrist, cited by the NCAA on Tuesday for declining to forge an atmosphere of compliance within his program, but was suspended for the first three Big East games during the 2011-12 season.
The perception of favoritism in another lousy situation almost tarnished the Huskies, but it is a misguided theory in college hoops. It's simple to postulate, even if UConn was spared a postseason ban, that Calhoun feels stuck in a major sanction, which many of us probably feel he is awarded immunity after infringement to make a mockery of the NCAA and academics.
The turbulence has reached the point in which it can no longer be overlooked, even more so when we live in an age that sleazes and con artists attempt to deceive universities. Yet he wasn't hit with a severe punishment for unlawful recruiting of athletes—the NCAA imposed UConn with scholarship reductions for three academic years, recruiting limitations, permanent disassociation of a booster and three years probation.
"We think the penalty is appropriate," said Dennis Thomas, chairman of the Committee on Infractions. "The head coach should be award, but, also in the same fame, the head coach obviously cannot be aware of everything that goes on within the program. However, the head coach bears that responsibility."
It's an inappropriate penalty.
He seemed much too wary and humiliated in his usual wardrobe, sadly revealing that his days are numbered with the Huskies at a time the program is known as a sham. The real issue is, he's allowed to keep his job obviously, even in a period when the school is mired in shambles. The fact that he's not begging or pleading to save his job remains a mystery because of loopholes within the decrepit formula of collegiate rules, which has not been constituted to inflict harsher penalties.
If ever the Huskies plan to erase the dreadful memories of fraud, the Huskies would have to rid the misery which sadly is Calhoun. It's hard to envision Calhoun, a 68-year-old mentor and ambassador of the university after winning two national titles in his 25 years existence with the Huskies, returning next season when he insisted he had no awareness of sins within the program. And he is obviously wrong to deny that he never knew about the infractions that prompted the NCAA to accuse UConn of eight rule violations.
Once it had all surfaced, essentially he was accused as a notorious sham but never knew about forbidden phone calls and text messages from his assistant coaches to recruits, until the investigation completed. It wasn't a secret shortly after a former team manager Josh Nochimson, now a so-called representative of UConn's athletic interest, helped guide recruit Nate Miles to Connecticut by pampering him with lodging, transportation and meals.
"I am very disappointed with the NCAA's decision in this case," Calhoun said. "My lawyer and I are evaluating my options and will make a decision which way to proceed. In the meantime, I will not make any further statements about the case as our program prepares for what I hope will be an exciting and successful postseason."
As the basketball tournament looms, most importantly, this is the kind of scandal that can rupture a brand name university, this is the kind of scandal that should have penalized the institution for reprehensibly violating NCAA rules with a postseason ban. In addition to the ruination, though Calhoun denied wrongdoings that stained an extolled program, the school evidently learned the basketball staff exchanged more than 1,400 calls and 1,110 text messages with Nochimson between June 2005 and December 2008.
From there, members of the staff even provided 32 impermissible complimentary tickets to individuals responsible for operating activities with prospective student-athletes. Their best player supposedly in the recruiting class that year, Miles, was expelled from UConn in October 2008 without ever playing for the Huskies, and unsurprisingly, they were even sturdy with their current lineup.
It's scary and creepy that UConn is faced in the state of uncertainty for a school that emphasized cleanness and honesty, where, for an athletic program, there seemingly was memorable triumph Calhoun brought with his brilliant philosophy. Once again, in attempt to offer my advice, Calhoun should wisely step down and relieve himself from his duties, taking the greater stance in such a contemptible event after the school imposed sanctions on itself. With that, the university reduced scholarships from 13 to 12 for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, and placed itself on two-year probation.
"When we submitted our response to the NCAA Committee on Infractions acknowledging violations in the men's basketball program, we immediately self-imposed a series of penalties and corrective measures that are included as part of the NCAA Committee on Infractions report," UConn athletic director Jeffrey Hathaway said. "We are disappointed that the committee determined that additional penalties needed to be imposed."
Yeah, but Calhoun still hasn't stepped down.