Fresh off the press from ESPN news: “The Memphis men’s basketball program has been charged by the NCAA with major violations during the 2007-08 season. The allegations include ‘knowing fraudulence or misconduct’ on an SAT exam by a player on the 2007-08 team.” And it appears as though the player in question might be a current member of the Chicago Bulls.
From Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times: “According to a document obtained by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the University of Memphis is responding to NCAA allegations that charge the men’s basketball program with major violations, both of which seem to involve current Bull and Simeon grad Derrick Rose. The player’s name is blacked out in the report (a letter from the NCAA to Memphis dated Jan. 16, 2009), but the wording indicates that he only played in the 2007-08 season. Rose is the only Memphis player who meets that criteria.”
The actual text of the letter reads as follows: “‘It is alleged that [blacked out] prospective men’s basketball student-athlete failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for his knowing fraudulence or misconduct and administration of intercollegiate examination. Specifically, on [blacked out] an unknown individual completed [blacked out] SAT, with [blacked out] knowledge, which was used to obtain his admission into the institution and to certify his NCAA eligibility. [Blacked out] subsequently competed for the men’s basketball team through the 2007-08 season, which included his participation in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.”
Mind you, currently these are allegations only. Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson said: “We still have to determine if the test score was fraudulent.” However, it sure seems likely that we’ll eventually find out that the test score was in fact fraudulent…otherwise things probably wouldn’t have gotten this far.
This stuff happens. I spent one semester rooming with a member of the varsity team at a major Big Ten university, and it came out during that semester that he had cheated on the SAT. Essentially, he was left in a library with several other prep students and given an unlimited amount of time to complete the test. Oh, and there were people in the library who could, you know, give “advice” upon request. He was immediately ruled ineligible under Proposition 48 and therefore had to retake the test (and score at least 700) to regain his eligibility (which he did).
In terms of impact on the Bulls and Derrick’s pro career, I really don’t think there will be any. Sure, it could temporarily tarnish his image and maybe cost him an endorsement or two (though I doubt it). But in the end, I believe that his performance as a member of the Bulls and his behavior in the community will make everybody forget about whether he cheated on the test that got him into one year of college. Don’t take that as a casual dismissal of cheating. I’m really bummed and disappointed to find out about this. But it’s not all that surprising, and since there’s nothing that can be done about it now, I’d rather just move past it.