John Calipari, Derrick Rose settle suit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Former Memphis coach John Calipari and ex-Tigers guard Derrick Rose agreed last year to pay $100,000 to avoid a lawsuit over the Tigers' season that ended in the 2008 Final Four with the wins later vacated by the NCAA.

According to a settlement signed May 28, 2010, with attorneys representing some Memphis season ticket holders, not only did Calipari and Rose agree to pay $100,000, but Calipari and Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson committed to repaying Final Four bonuses.

The Commercial Appeal first obtained a copy of the agreement Thursday from the University of Memphis under Tennessee's open record laws.

Attorneys Martin Zummach, Frank L. Watson III and William Burns represented "certain ticket holders" who argued they bought tickets under false pretenses and threatened to sue. They argued they also made donations to the Tiger Scholarship Fund not knowing Memphis might be charged in the future with alleged misconduct by Rose, Calipari and the athletic director, which potentially could hurt the value of their tickets for 2009-10 and future seasons.

Calipari, Rose and Johnson all denied any responsibility in the settlement.

The coach left for Kentucky after the 2008-09 season. Memphis already had been served with an NCAA notice of an investigation, which didn't become public knowledge until weeks after his departure. The NCAA did not find Calipari guilty of any violations during his tenure as coach of the Tigers.

The NCAA ordered Memphis in August 2009 to vacate its NCAA-record 38 wins and eliminate mentions of the Final Four and appearance in the national championship game after finding the university guilty of using an ineligible player, who was believed to be Rose. That player had been ruled retroactively ineligible for the 2007-08 season because of questions over his SAT score.

Memphis lost the 2008 title game to Kansas in overtime.

The settlement required the $100,000 to be paid within 14 days of signing the agreement into an account held until Dec. 31, 2010, and controlled by a third party. If no other lawsuits were filed against Calipari, Rose and Johnson, the agreement allowed for the money and interest to be paid out "as they agree among themselves."

In the settlement, Calipari agreed to donate the bonus he received to the university's scholarship fund over four years, a total of $232,000 after taxes. The deal also mentions that Rose, now with the NBA's Chicago Bulls, will consider making a "suitable" donation to the scholarship fund within five years.

University attorney Sheri Lipman told The Commercial Appeal she believes Calipari made a donation of $58,000 last fall, the first in the four-year plan. She wasn't aware if Rose had made a donation.

Johnson received a bonus of $105,875, but repayment already was called for by the language in his contract. In the agreement, the athletic director agreed to meet those obligations.