LEXINGTON, KY. — Hours before the NCAA stripped Memphis of its 2008 Final Four appearance, former coach John Calipari stepped to a microphone at the Kentucky State Fair and received a standing ovation.
With Calipari hired by Kentucky to revive college basketball’s all-time winningest program, both fans and administrators are hoping what happened in Memphis will stay in Memphis.
The NCAA ruled the Tigers used an ineligible player during their record-setting run in the 2007-08 season, when Memphis went 38-2 and lost to Kansas in the national championship game. The NCAA didn’t identify the player, but it is believed to be point guard Derrick Rose, who left Memphis after his freshman season and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft.