Calipari plans to call into NCAA hearing

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A letter from the NCAA tells Kentucky coach John Calipari he must participate in next week's hearing on alleged major violations at Memphis, even though he isn't considered "at risk" in the probe.

The University of Kentucky provided letters between the new Wildcats coach and the NCAA on Friday in response to an open records request by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Calipari, who coached the Memphis Tigers during the 2007-08 season in question, explained in one letter that he wouldn't be able to attend next Saturday's hearing in Indianapolis owing to a previously scheduled trip to China.

But in a response last week, the chairman of the NCAA's committee on infractions tells him he needs to participate anyway, either through phone or video conference.

"After reviewing the information in this case, the committee now, more strongly than ever, believes that you should make yourself available to participate in the hearing in some manner," wrote Paul T. Dee, the chairman.

Calipari responded Wednesday that he would join the hearing by phone.

"I am very willing to cooperate with the committee and provide my views on the issues involved in this case," Calipari said.

Memphis is facing major NCAA violations, the most serious of which is an allegation that an unknown person took the SAT in place of a player. The NCAA said the athlete in question played for the Tigers for only the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. The only person who fits that description is Derrick Rose, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Memphis could lose its 38 wins that season. Kentucky officials, who hired Calipari away from the program in March with an eight-year, $31.65 million contract, have stressed the coach himself is not a target of the investigation. The first letter from the NCAA, dated April 27, also makes that point.

"The committee wishes to make it clear that you are not considered to be 'at risk' in these proceedings," wrote Shepard Cooper, director of the Committee on Infractions. "However, because you were the head men's basketball coach at Memphis during the time alleged NCAA violations occurred, the committee believes that you can provide helpful information and useful context that would assist the committee in better understanding this case."

Calipari said the June 3-10 trip to China had been planned for months.

While at Memphis, he made a five-year commitment to conducting clinics in that country to help the university expand its base of Asian students. He said in his letter he hoped to continue that project now that he is at Kentucky.