Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Will Eric Bledsoe report affect Kentucky?

By Dana O'Neil

Here’s what everyone wants to know about today's Birmingham News story regarding Eric Bledsoe and some grade discrepancies: Can it spell trouble for Kentucky?

The non-answer answer: maybe.

Eric Bledsoe
If Eric Bledsoe is deemed ineligible, the NCAA will be in a tough spot.
The News reports that a grade on Bledsoe’s high school transcript differs from a night-school report and that the change -- an A from a would-be C -- gave Bledsoe a grade point average that, along with his ACT score, allowed him to be eligible under NCAA rules. Without the improved grade, Bledsoe would have finished with a 2.375 GPA instead of the necessary 2.475. Even a B wouldn't have allowed him to qualify.

There is, naturally, a lot of backpedaling and "no-commenting" from people at the high schools involved in the story, although the night school teacher in question said the grade on the night school report (the C) was incorrect.

“You’ve got the wrong grade,’’ Larry Webster told the newspaper. “There are two of those printout sheets. I already talked to the [school] board attorney.’’

This much is certain: The grades in question are from Algebra 3, a course Bledsoe took before Algebra 2 and purportedly aced with an A.

“It isn’t normal for a person to do that or be allowed to do that,’’ former Parker principal Joseph Martin told the Birmingham News. “Had I looked at the transcript, I wouldn’t have allowed him to do that. By the time he got to us, I guess what we had to do … Well I ain’t even going there with that. I’m going to my grave with that.’’

More important, the Birmingham school district, at the request of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, already is in the process of reviewing Bledsoe’s eligibility. According to the News, the school system report is being compiled by outside lawyers and is expected soon.

And that’s what really matters for Kentucky.

If the high school association deems Bledsoe ineligible, then the NCAA finds itself in the tricky situation of figuring out what to do with a player who played collegiately but never should have qualified.

The NCAA can -- and has -- retroactively declared a player ineligible once new information is made available.
Two years ago, Memphis freshman Derrick Rose was deemed ineligible after the Educational Test Service invalidated his ACT score.

Memphis did not receive notice from the NCAA until May 2008, a month after Rose and the Tigers played in the Final Four and Rose declared for the NBA draft.

Nonetheless, the NCAA ruled that because of Rose’s fraudulent test score -- and also because of an impermissible benefit afforded Rose's family -- Memphis would have to vacate its 38-win season.