The Wizard Of Westwood Was No Better Than Calipari

Alex OlivaContributor IMarch 30, 2010

In reading many of the articles and comments after the Kentucky/West Virginia game, there was not much commentary on the actual game. It was more of writers simply saying that Calipari got what he deserved; that he is no good and is a bad person.

Yet with all of the things you people say, if you look at the facts the things that have happened in his programs are no different or worse then what happened at UCLA under John Wooden.

This here is in no way an attack on Wooden, his program, or the things that they accomplished. Rather, it is to make a point to all of the people out there that won't just let it be. We all know what happened.

Marcus Camby took money from agents while Calipari was at the University of Massachusetts. He took $28,000 from two agents while playing at UMass and because of that fact got their 1996 trip to the Final Four vacated.

A man named Sam Gilbert, or "Papa Sam," a UCLA alumni, gave Wooden's UCLA players whatever they wanted. He would have them to his house all of the time, feed them meals, and give them what they wanted. He also took care of their finances after college.


From a 1974 Times article: "When—and if—Bill Walton decides to negotiate a professional contract, Gilbert will call the financial shots."


Even if he was doing it for free, it is wrong. Gilbert gave these kids what they wanted and kept them at UCLA.


So what is my real argument here?


I just want to say that if you put down Calipari for these things that he might have known about, then based on principal you must do the same to Wooden. You must at the very least think a little bit less of him for what he might have known during his time at UCLA.


Still, being in different eras and different people, they are treated differently.


One had all of the problems swept under the rug and never acknowledged by the NCAA; the other has been dragged through the mud with some of the blame that should go to the NCAA put upon him personally.


These are things that happen at every big school.


I know kids who have played on a big Division I basketball team who would get money from time to time, and they were simply scrubs who never saw the court. No program is actually clean.


Yet based on the facts, both coaches did close to the same thing.


Objectively looking at it, the Wizard of Westwood is not much different then that slick Italian man who rests his head in Lexington, Kentucky.