Despite What NCAA Says, Memphis Was Part of the 2008 Final Four

I feel certain that what I experienced in San Antonio during the 2008 Final Four was not a hallucination. I watched Memphis in the Final Four. I even rode around in one of those boats along the River Walk with Memphis (and Kansas) fans before the title game that Monday. They were part of what is easily the most exciting and most significant basketball game I've ever seen in person in my 26-plus years on this earth. As a refresher: ↵
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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵Now, all the things that led up to that incredible game, will not have happened according to the NCAA: ↵
↵⇥The University of Memphis is expecting the release of a report from the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Thursday in which its men’s basketball program will be forced to forfeit a record 38 victories and 2008 Final Four appearance, a source close to the situation confirmed to The Commercial Appeal on Wednesday night. ↵
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↵Here we are again, talking about vacating wins. The people who love to hate John Calipari will point out that he's the first coach to vacate two Final Fours. That's fine. You can argue that there's no way this kind of thing goes down without Calipari having some idea. But let's once again point at the NCAA, too, which can best be described as reactive rather than proactive. ↵

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↵What's perhaps most backward is this: Rose was cleared by the NCAA and Memphis to participate. Then, when it was revealed that a stand-in allegedly took Derrick Rose's SAT exam, it was time to wipe things away. How does this come up nearly a full year after the fact? ↵

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↵This can only happen one of two ways: Either someone dropped a dime on Memphis well after the fact just for giggles or there had been reasonable suspicion all along that Rose's test score was in question. I'm inclined to believe the latter in this scenario based on the wording from the Commercial Appeal that Memphis officials argued "that there was insufficient evidence to prove whether Rose’s SAT was fraudulent and that the school took all reasonable steps to confirm his test score." ↵

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↵If you're a Memphis basketball fan, my advice to you is to forfeit nothing. Don't burn your Final Four t-shirts. Don't be angry with Derrick Rose. Don't be angry with Calipari. They only played within the ridiculous, convoluted ecosystem the NCAA allows to exist. You had your fun. You got to watch some spectacular basketball. The NCAA wants to erase it so they can preserve some sort of sanctity and sleep better at night, all while letting the same thing go on again and again. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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