Friday, August 21, 2009
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INDIANAPOLIS - Memphis has been stripped by the NCAA of every victory in its 38-win season under coach John Calipari that ended in the national title game last year. The reason: an ineligible player believed to be Derrick Rose.
The announcement Thursday came 16 months after the Tigers lost to Kansas in the championship game following the 2007-08 season. Memphis president Shirley Raines said the school would appeal the ruling.
It is the second time both Memphis and Calipari had to vacate Final Four seasons. The Tigers were stripped of their 1985 appearance and Calipari's Massachusetts team lost its 1996 berth.
Calipari is now the basketball coach at Kentucky, where officials have voiced support for him despite the Memphis scandal.
'I'm not worried about it because they have never said Coach Cal did anything wrong at all,' said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who appeared with Calipari at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday before the NCAA announcement. 'I think he's a very upstanding guy. I think that's his reputation and I think that reputation will be with him here. I really don't foresee any problems.'
Asked about the possibility of a vacated season, Calipari said: 'I would be disappointed if that's what they chose to do.'
Memphis finished 38-2 in 2007-08, setting the NCAA record for wins in a season.
In its report, the NCAA did not identify the ineligible player by name, though earlier descriptions of him lead to the conclusion it could only be Rose.