The NCAA takes its statistical milestones seriously.
That was the lesson we learned earlier this week, when news broke of a letter the NCAA sent to Kentucky chastising the program for honoring John Calipari for his 500th career win in February. That total, one Kentucky has used in its program materials and official records, counted Calipari's 42 wins from vacated seasons Calipari coached at Memphis and Massachusetts.
This did not sit well with the NCAA. Earlier this month, Committee on Infractions chairman Dennis Thomas sent Kentucky a strongly worded five-page letter -- insert your own "The Simpsons" reference here -- telling the school its handling of Calipari's win total was "troubling," "extremely troubling" and "very troubling" to the COI. If Kentucky didn't publicly correct the record and apologize to the NCAA in wording that the NCAA approved, school officials would be asked to come to Indianapolis to appear before the infractions committee.
Yeah, it got that real.
Now, something like a resolution has been reached. The UK athletic department released a statement Thursday, and it reads as follows:
"After consulting with the NCAA, the University of Kentucky has been informed that the honoring of our head men's basketball coach for his 500th career victory on Feb. 26, 2011 was in error and that, henceforth, we will reflect our head men's basketball coach's career record in our media guides, Internet sites and other publications consistent with the NCAA's official records and statistics."
Kentucky has officially corrected Calipari's record to 467 wins, which is the NCAA-approved mark. So that's one bit of business to put behind us. Still, it will be interesting to see whether this response fully satisfies the COI. After all, Thomas did ask for an apology. There's no apology in that statement, and it's a little difficult to see Kentucky issuing such an apology in the first place. Will the NCAA continue its stickler ways? Or is this matter settled for good?
As far as Calipari is concerned, the matter seems to be settled:
"Let's just say my record is 0-0," Calipari said. "I'm fine with that. This is about those kids, and that's what I've always been about."
Here's my question: What happens to the honorary game ball Calipari received after his 500th win? Is it now junk? Does he wait to replace it with a real, NCAA-approved game ball? Does he engrave the "0-0" on the ball as a symbolic statement? These are the existential conundrums that try men's minds. But hey, at least we got that whole record thing sorted out.