Sports 56 WHBlog Q

June 3, 2009

I don’t buy it Sheri

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 9:49 am

With all due respect to Sheri Lipman, the University Counsel for the University of Memphis, I don’t buy what you had to say in your open letter to Memphis Tigers’ fans.

I have the utmost respect for the job you do, but I look at this letter as an attempt to do some damage control. If you are 100% sure that you made the right choice in keeping the initial NCAA letter of inquiry secret, then there is no need to justify your actions with an open letter.
Most fans, including some major boosters who I have spoken with, feel deceived a bit. While I understand releasing a statement about the allegations back in January likely would have caused members of the media to ask many questions, University officials need not address them. I have to be honest with you Sheri, I never have heard you speak.  I don’t know for sure, but I can’t recall you ever doing Television or Radio interviews or sitting down for lengthy interviews with members of the press. Do you really think your investigation into clearing the school from these allegations would have seriously been jeopardized by releasing a simple statement to tell people where everything stands?

To me it appears the intent of keeping things quiet was to keep potential future ticker buyers and people willing to donate to the school in the dark. If the word leaked out then perhaps a backlash would occur which would hurt the program economically.  Hindsight is 20-20, but you could have worked on your defense, sent out a letter to inform fans sometime in early March, and perhaps kept coach John Calipari in Memphis.
Now you have to deal with many big supporters of the school who feel they were slighted by not knowing an investigation into alleged improprieties had taken place.

I am not the judge or the jury. I won’t say if anyone should lose a job over this. I will say, however, that the University handled this all wrong. When a head coaching candidate doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, then accepts a job with allegations pending, something is not right.

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