Memphis: No proof ex-player cheated

June 2, 2009 10:17:34 AM PDT
Memphis was unable to find proof a former player cheated on his SAT exam in its internal investigation of NCAA allegations against the men's basketball team.The investigation report, released to The Associated Press and other news outlets Tuesday under a public records request, details Memphis' internal investigation into allegations that a former player -- widely reported to be Derrick Rose -- allowed a stand-in to take his SAT test and of grade tampering.

School officials argue that even if the NCAA's Committee on Infractions believes a former player cheated, the program should not be penalized because the school was unaware of any wrongdoing.

Memphis was first notified by the NCAA by e-mail in May 2008, one month after the Tigers lost to Kansas in the NCAA championship game, that star point guard Rose had an invalidated standardized test score the previous year at Chicago's Simeon High School, multiple sources with direct knowledge of an e-mail told ESPN.com.

Most names in the report released Tuesday were redacted by Memphis because of privacy concerns, but multiple sources have told ESPN.com that representatives of Rose did tell Memphis he took the SAT in question.

The report said the school had no reason to suspect the SAT was fraudulent until notified by Educational Testing Service that the player's score had been canceled. That letter came May 5, 2008, after Rose's only season at Memphis.

"The university ... took all reasonable steps to confirm that [name redacted] had met eligibility requirements," the report states.

Memphis will present its findings to the Committee on Infractions on Saturday in Indianapolis. Former coach John Calipari is expected to participate by phone.

The NCAA also alleges an employee at Rose's high school changed a grade so a C would show up on his transcript instead of a D. The player then used the test score and the transcript to enroll at Memphis.

A 2007 investigation by the school into the grade-tampering charge determined that even if the grade had been changed, he was still eligible for admission.

Athletic director R.C. Johnson has said the school checks out potentials athletes, but has refused to detail efforts to investigate.

Kentucky officials were aware of the allegations when they hired Calipari and believe the coach was open and honest about the situation. Johnson interviewed several high-profile coaches when Calipari left, but couldn't lure them to Memphis. So he turned to 31-year-old Calipari assistant Josh Pastner.

Pastner, who has said he knew nothing about the investigation before being hired, was excused from participation because of a previous commitment.

NCAA officials notified Memphis on Jan. 16 of the "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" that occurred in 2007-08. The Tigers won 38 games that season and were the national runnerup.

Calipari, who left Memphis and signed an 8-year, $31.65 million contract with Kentucky on March 31, has been assured by the NCAA that he is not under investigation.

Rose, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and the current rookie of the year, has issued a statement through his attorney Daniel E. Reidy and won't comment any further on the investigation.

On Monday, Bulls executive vice president for business operations Steve Schanwald said the team stood by Rose.

"Where the truth lies, who knows?" Schanwald told Comcast SportsNet Chicago. "But Derrick says it didn't happen, and I take him at his word."

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.


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