The University of Kentucky may face possible sanctions after a recent New York Times article revealed that former point guard Eric Bledsoe received improper benefits during his Alabama high school career. A story posted on the Times website on Friday reported that Bledsoe’s high school coach, Maurice Ford, paid the rent at a home that Bledsoe and his mother, Maureen Reddick, lived in during Bledsoe’s senior year in high school.

Bledsoe transferred to Parker High School after Carol W. Hayes High School, the school he attended for three years, closed. His transfer raised flags for the Alabama High School Athletic Association because Bledsoe was moving to a school out of district. The head of the AHSSA said his group plans to look into the reported payments, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Any possible sanctions would mark the third time that a school coached by Calipari has been penalized for improper benefits. Calipari’s Massachusetts team was stripped of its NCAA Tournament victories from the 1995-1996 season and ordered to repay $151,617 of its share of the tournament purse after star player Marcus Camby accepted illegal gifts from a sports agent.

The University of Memphis was forced to forfeit its 38 wins and Final Four run from the 2007-2008 season after the NCAA committee ruled star freshman point guard Derrick Rose ineligible because the Educational Testing Service invalidated his SAT score. The score was canceled in May 2008, a year after Rose took the test and after he finished his freshman season. The report said Rose did not cooperate with the NCAA and twice did not reply to requests to meet with the ETS as reported by the USA Today.

Bledsoe was part of a star-studded recruiting class for first year Kentucky coach John Calipari which included Daniel Orton, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall. Wall and Cousins are expected to be drafted within the first 10 picks of the upcoming NBA Draft.

As a freshman for the Wildcats, Bledsoe averaged 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO