Since Yahoo dropped their atomic bombshell on the NCAA yesterday morning, the buttholes of college basketball fanbases across the country have become incredibly tight — especially the buttholes that belong to people that follow implicated big time programs like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, and Kentucky. Yes, Louisville is also mixed up in this (of course) as former player Juan Palacios apparently received a small amount of money some time in the late 2000’s, but right now it’s unclear whether or not he received it before or after he was in school.
When you look back on how the last few years have gone for UofL’s basketball program and university as a whole, there are people around town that are a little too giddy about the fact that there a slew of other teams that have also been proven to be dirty rotten cheaters. After listening to a bit of local sports call in shows, I’ve heard plenty of happy Louisville die hards take a deep sigh of relief. “Whew, the spotlight is finally off of Cardinal Basketball, and other people will soon suffer through what we’ve been through.”
Admittedly, I’ve experienced a bit of perverse pleasure watching all of the holier-than-thou fans and media members from other markets squirm. After all of the finger pointing and tut-tutting I’ve witnessed over the last few years, I figure they had it coming and I can’t help but relish in their paranoia, if only for a minute. The truth is, even though seemingly anyone and everyone who matters in college basketball has been (or will soon be) caught with their hand in the cookie jar, this situation ultimately doesn’t help Louisville at all by “leveling out the field”. In fact, I think this ongoing revelation will actually have a negative effect on the future of Cardinal Basketball.
“What coach worth a damn can actually be trusted? “
Among the many issues surrounding the university, perhaps the most talked about and immediately vexing situation is the soon-to-be head coaching vacancy (yes, I’m assuming, as most are that David Padgett will not take over the reigns as permanent head coach). Before today, it wasn’t hard to sort out a list of potential head honchos. But now that we’re set for an almost certain post-apocalyptic NCAA landscape, what the hell are we supposed to do now? What coach worth a damn can actually be trusted? And who won’t be brought in with a load of Calipari-esque baggage?
I’ve heard more than a few “experts” around town and in the national media suggest that Xavier’s Chris Mack should be the man to replace Rick Pitino. Sure, he’s a promising young coach with a decent amount of success, and a lot of pundits would consider this to be the slam dunk hire needed to get the program back on track. Welp, now that Xavier has been implicated in this NCAA mess in that former XU star Edwin Sumner received more than $7k while in school, how can you bring in his head coach? Sure, Mack was quick to deny any and all allegations against him, but Rick Pitino did (and continues to do) the same thing: deny, deny, deny, and we fucking roasted the former Cardinals coach for it. With this in mind, you can’t look me in the eye with a straight face and tell me that Mack is an ideal candidate.
“Pat Forde and Pete Thamel are turning down interview requests because they are still working on this story.”
Sure there are other good coaches to consider that aren’t implied in today’s report, but what about the potential report that is released next week? Or next month? Shit, what about next year?! Drew Deener reported this morning on his ESPN680 radio show that Pat Forde and Pete Thamel are turning down interview requests because they are still working on this story, implying that there’s another round of gut punches to the NCAA imminent. ESPN’s Jeff Godman reports that his sources are telling him that this Yahoo Sports story is just tiniest tip of the iceberg and that there is a tidal wave of more devastating news on horizon. With that in mind, who can you trust?
The common thought is that damn near everyone involved in college basketball is cheating in some way. Whether it be strippers in a dorm or agents paying players, seemingly every successful program seems to be guilty in some way. I wish I had a pair of special shades, similar to the ones that Roddy Piper wore in They Live — but rather than reveal who was human and who was a skull-faced alien, these sunglasses would expose which college coaches were clean, and more importantly which had some dirt on their hands. Ahhh, that’d be sweet… and convenient!
In all seriousness, what I’m getting at is this: What happens when Louisville hires Coach X, a proven success who at the time has a clean record void of any seedy wrongdoings, only to later be suspected of shady dealings with a shoe company? This is a scenario that Cardinal fans should be very conscious of, because as we’ve learned with our former Hall of Fame head coach and the list of Hall of Fame coaches implied today, no one is safe. Now that we’re almost guaranteed a Terminator-style post apocalyptic college basketball landscape, it will be very interesting to see which coaches and programs rise from the ashes as potential saviors to what has become a greedy, win at all costs sport. We can only hope that Louisville’s next coach will properly redeem our once proud program.