NCAA Looking Into Bledsoe’s Recruitment, GPA

by May 29, 2010
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The New York Times reported last night that the NCAA is looking into Bledsoe’s academic history and recruitment. As the Times mentions, the investigation may tarnish Coach Calipari and others moreso than Bledsoe — it’s tough to blame Bledsoe for doing what he had to do: “Bledsoe’s academic makeover and the extra benefits he apparently received could be another blow to Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who led teams at Massachusetts and Memphis that had their records and Final Four appearances expunged after rules violations were found under his watch. Interviews with those connected with Bledsoe’s life in Birmingham revealed potential violations. • Brenda Axle, the landlord for the house where Bledsoe and his mother moved for his senior year of high school, said that Bledsoe’s high school coach paid her at least three months’ rent, or $1,200. By moving there, Bledsoe was eligible to play for Parker, which he led to the Alabama Class 5A title game. Maurice Ford, the coach, denied paying the money. • A copy of Bledsoe’s high school transcript from his first three years reveals that it would have taken an improbable academic makeover — a jump from about a 1.9 grade point average in core courses to just under a 2.5 during his senior year — for Bledsoe to achieve minimum N.C.A.A. standards to qualify for a scholarship. • A college coach who recruited Bledsoe said that Ford explicitly told his coaching staff that he needed a specific amount of money to let Bledsoe sign with that university. The coach, who did not want to be named out of fear of repercussions when recruiting in Birmingham, said Ford told him and his staff that he was asking for money because he was helping pay rent for Bledsoe and his mother.”