Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Inquiry in Indy

UM tells NCAA Rose denied faking SAT and was in good standing.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Opposing players weren’t the only ones who had trouble trapping basketball star Derrick Rose during the 2008 season. While the University of Memphis was in the midst of its run to the NCAA Finals, the Educational Testing Service was sending letters to Rose to try to clear up questions about his entrance exams.

The test police, and the letters, never caught up to Rose, and it was a month after the tournament that the university learned that Rose’s SAT score had been invalidated due to suspicions that someone else took the test for him. So in the off-court equivalent of the biggest game of the season, the University of Memphis will tell the NCAA on Saturday that it could not have known that Rose was ineligible in the 2007-2008 season and therefore should not be penalized.

“Certainly, the University of Memphis should not suffer a financial penalty or vacation of records for the 2008 NCAA tournament as a result of this allegation,” the university says in records it released to the media Tuesday morning. The Inquiry in Indy will include President Shirley Raines, Athletic Director R. C. Johnson, legal counsel, and – via teleconference – former heard coach John Calipari. Rose and current head coach Josh Pastner will not attend. A decision could take eight more weeks.

The 63-page “Response to NCAA Notice of Allegations” doesn’t clear up the mystery of Rose and the SAT entrance exam. There were rumors about Rose getting someone to take his ACT or SAT test in 2007, but the unnamed female accuser changed her story. Another rumor that Rose got a grade changed in one course was also investigated by the Chicago schools and the University of Memphis but was deemed irrelevant to his admission. Rose took both the ACT and the SAT more than once, suggesting he needed to improve his score. His mother would not even tell him what his scores were after he took the test, but would only say whether he passed it or needed to take it again. The NCAA, relying on a forensic document examiner as well as allegations, concluded that Rose probably did not take his own SAT, but the university did not know that while Rose was playing ball. Rose, according to the report, said he did take his own tests when he was asked about that before the 2008 NCAA tournament, but he “has declined to participate further in the investigation of his ineligibility.” He now plays for the Chicago Bulls of the NBA.

The university interviewed Rose about possible grade changes and test fakery in 2007 after the rumors surfaced. The basketball coaches didn’t know when he took the tests or what his scores were. The scores are blacked out in the exhibits attached to the report.

The bottom line:

“The University does not have sufficient information to conclude that (redacted) engaged in unethical conduct in regard to (redacted) taking of the SAT. Specifically, the university has no knowledge that (Rose) did not complete the SAT. Accordingly, the University does not know whether the information included in the allegation is substantially correct and is unable to conclude whether a violation of the cited NCAA regulations has occurred.”

The university got a notice of allegations on January 16, 2009, but did not disclose it until a reporter forced it to last week.

In a post on the university’s website, Lipman addressed that.

“Although we knew the gist of what was to be contained in the notice of allegations, we had not seen the actual document and the specifics of what was alleged. Once we received the notice, we had approximately 90 days to respond, based on a review of all the evidence.

“If we had released the notice in January of 2009, as suggested by some, we could not have "gotten out in front of the issue" by answering everyone's questions because we were still engaged in our review, our follow-up on certain aspects of the allegations, and our drafting of a response.

“Even today, the University is crippled in its ability to respond to questions about these issues. We appear before the Committee on Infractions on Saturday, June 6. That Committee is charged with the responsibility to adjudicate this matter, and to pre-judge how they will view things is inappropriate and presumptuous. The Committee has the right and the power to act as they see fit, without the University "trying the case" in the court of public opinion.”

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