I am big on "innocent until proven guilty," but UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun did not help himself in the court of public opinion at Wednesday's press conference. Listen to what he said, with phenomenal commentary by radio Bomani Jones.
Coach Calhoun makes millions to coach basketball, not to communicate with the media. But he certainly has taken an odd approach lately at press conferences. To Calhoun's discredit, he now has the dubious distinction of the two worst press conference performances by any coach this year...heck, this millennium.
Last month, Calhoun showed a total lack of grace under fire when he was asked about his huge salary amid a state budget crisis. (He also demonstrated he has no clue about finance when he tried to pass revenue off as income.)
I said this in my earlier post on the subject, but it bears repeating: Yes, these are very serious allegations against the UConn basketball program, but whatever NCAA violations may have occurred is, in my opinion, secondary. I am most pissed at the fact that Calhoun and staff stayed in such close contact with Nochimson after he friggin stole from Rip Hamilton, one of UConn's all-time great players. Completely reprehensible. Seriously, Nochimson was not suited to be an NBA agent, a group that collectively does not have the most stellar reputation, but UConn saw fit to use him to help recruit a star player. What does that say about the world of college recruiting?
Ian O'Connor wrote an excellent article on Calhoun's latest press conference. Definitely worth reading the entire article, but this passage cuts to the heart of this serious matter:
"So the dynamic of your garden-variety Division I scandal has been flipped upside down. The old passion play of agent corrupting athlete, with poor ol’ coach in the role of naive victim, no longer carries the day in the theater of major college sports. Now the average coach isn’t so gullible or innocent. He’s become a business partner of the agent, an enabler chasing his own pot of gold."
"A member of the NCAA's agents and amateurism staff contacted an official at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday morning to request that the university investigate allegations...an NCAA source told SI.com on Wednesday night. The source, who requested anonymity because the NCAA cannot officially comment about ongoing investigations..."
Let's get this straight: The NCAA wants an investigation launched into whether the UConn basketball broke NCAA rules. How do we know this? Because an NCAA employee didn't follow NCAA rules. In the grand scheme, this is hardly news since it is obvious that the NCAA would investigate such a serious allegation. Still, the NCAA should be concerned that an NCAA staff member did not follow protocol when it comes to protecting the integrity of a serious investigation. BTW--Seth Davis did not exactly make this anonymous source a big mystery since there are only three or four people who work in the NCAA's agent, gambling and amateur (AGA) department. Wonder if the NCAA would ever investigate its investigators?