The Barometer asked her former college BB player father, upon Coach John Calipari’s Kentucky hiring, “Why would a school hire this guy?” Dad shrugged. The NCAA just seemed to circle the guy like buzzards — only he never died. Schools just passed him along to other schools. Memphis — the fake SAT scores. UMass and the vacating of a Final Four slot there. Other schools kept hiring him, despite pending investigations and substantial doubts by fans about his, shall we say, ethics?
Enter Rick Pitino. The slicked-back hair gave off an aura of, well, slick, but nothing stuck. Still, his history was not pristine. His days at Hawaii were marred by an NCAA investigation. And the slick aura was all we had — until last year. The business with the escort services, the recruits, and all in the Louisville athletic dorm resulted in Coach Pitino being sanctioned for five conference games. The university president and board did not blink. Coach Pitino stayed — who wouldn’t keep the only coach to win the NCAA championship at two different schools? Enter the FBI. Although he was not indicted as a result of the FBI sting operation last week that revealed bribery and nabbed six assistant coaches with charges, Pitino has been fired. About a year too late. When the NCAA escort investigation was rolling along, the administration and those who oversee the university should have seen the writing on the wall. There was no happy ending to come. Escorts in the dorm. Those four words should have been the signal. The NCAA sanctioned Pitino for the failure to supervise. Seems that shortcoming thrives in college sports and colleges. A key function of effective supervision is the tool of termination. Can’t clean up the slick without that tool.