As someone who grew up playing, watching, living and breathing basketball, Jim Calhoun has been a part of my life for almost 20 years. Calhoun recruited Reggie Lewis, my favorite Celtic as a kid, to Northeastern before taking the head coaching job in Storrs.
He has been the coach at UCONN since I was 4 years old. In that time he took the program from a Big East bottom feeder to a perennial power house. Ever since recruiting Bridgeport’s Chris Smith, Calhoun has attracted blue chip prospects by the handful. After Smith, who led UCONN to the Big East Championship and a Sweet 16 birth against Duke in his sophomore season, there was Donyell Marshall, Clifford Robinson, Ray Allen, RIP Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Caron Butler, Rudy Gay, and Emeka Okafor.
Clearly Calhoun has some serious game when it comes to recruiting.
The NCAA has suspended Calhoun for the first 3 Big East games of 2011-2012 for “failing to create an atmosphere of compliance.”
Failing to create an atmosphere of compliance? Sounds like something one of the Borgs would have said to the crew of the Enterprise, or something that would have been used to justify the burning of a beloved book.
I have no idea what an atmosphere of compliance is, and frankly I don’t care. Calhoun has admitted that mistakes were made in the recruiting process, but insisted that he is not, nor has he ever been a cheater. I not only believe him, I blame the NCAA.
The rules should be designed to protect our athletes, promote fair play, and ensure the integrity of college sports.
They should not be designed to ensnare quality coaches who have devoted their entire lives to teaching a game that they love.
The NCAA has made a habit out of stealing headlines with their investigations. This past fall, Cam Newton got burned at their stake for the sins of his father, and it nearly derailed his career. It is time for the NCAA to learn its place.
We don’t watch sports to hear about sanctions, probations, and atmospheres that lack compliance.
We watch sports because we love what they bring into our lives; the competition, the excitement, the athletic ability that has left most of us years ago, if it was ever present at all. The NCAA is taking the fun out of sports. The NCAA is gradually turning college sports into a police state, where each day gives us a new court case to consider.
Maybe he made some mistakes, but Jim Calhoun is no cheater.
Shame on the NCAA for dragging his name through the mud in the interest of something so ridiculously obscure as an atmosphere of compliance.