By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
A newspaper in the heart of Big Ten country has the Kentucky men’s basketball program fighting mad.
The school has issued a statement threatening legal action over a report, first published Wednesday by the Chicago Sun-Times, that claimed high school player Anthony Davis negotiated a deal to get $200,000 from someone who wanted him to commit to Kentucky.
The newspaper said the NCAA was “checking” the recruitment of Davis, a 6-foot-10 Chicago standout.
In response, Kentucky issued a denial: “Neither the University of Kentucky nor any member of its Athletic Department has offered or paid any money or other illegal benefits to the student-athlete or his family.”
However, it appears that statement fails to directly address the main implication of the Sun-Times article, that a supporter of the team was involved in the alleged negotiation with Davis and his family.
The Kentucky statement also suggested that the school was “evaluating all available rights and remedies … in responding to these false and defamatory statements.”
In response, the Chicago paper upped the ante in a story on Friday: “Sources from three separate universities told the Sun-Times that Davis Sr. asked for money in return for his son’s commitment, with the amounts ranging from $125,000 to $150,000.”
Davis said last week he had trimmed his list of possible destinations to four: Kentucky, Ohio State, Syracuse and DePaul. According to the Sun-Times, Davis and his father visited the Kentucky campus on Sunday.
Wildcats head coach John Calipari has had two Final Four appearances vacated by the NCAA – at Massachusetts in 1996 and at Memphis in 2008. In neither case, however, did the NCAA personally blame Calipari for the rules violations.
Contact John L. Pitts at 678-1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org