In the summer of 2012, CBS Sports’ basketball correspondents spent a month interviewing 100 college basketball coaches. Picking their brains about the biggest issues facing their sport at that time. Coaches were promised anonymity in exchange for their true, honest, unadulterated answers. One question per weekday for one month.
This survey had some very innocent questions like “who is the most underrated coach?”, “what rule would you like to be see changed?” But then the CBS Basketball guys ramped up the questions and started getting some real newsworthy results. Coaches were asked, “Which coach is best at bending the rules but not breaking them?”
It was the summer right after the 2012 national championship, and a guy with a sketchy past had just won the title with a stellar recruiting class. So you could imagine who topped the list.
- John Calipari: 13 percent
- Billy Donovan: 11 percent
- Sean Miller: 8 percent
- Tom Crean: 8 percent
- Mike Krzyzewski: 6 percent
- Roy Williams: 6 percent
- Tom Izzo: 5 percent
- Josh Pastner: 5 percent
People think John Calipari was/is cheating? Color me shocked.
Now, there are two things that surprise me the most about the results from the last question. First, the 6 coaches who said Roy Williams was the best at bending the rules and not breaking them were spot on. Great call. For those of you who don’t know, Roy Williams was at the center of a NCAA academic scandal a couple of years back. Athletes took fake classes with minimal work and easy A’s to stay eligible. The only reason UNC got off scot-free was because a couple frat boys found out about it and took them too. Really bent that rule as far as absolutely possible.
The second most surprising thing is that Rick Pitino did not make the top 8. Maybe because the question asked who bends the rules without breaking them and Pitino was definitely just breaking them. However, there was another question that asked who the biggest cheater in college basketball was. Calipari ranked number one in that poll too while Pitino was nowhere to be found.
Pitino must have been keeping thing pretty tight under wraps, or maybe he really did not know anything after all. Ignorance is unlikely especially since he told boosters shortly before the 2015 scandal broke that he knew everything his players did. Going as far as to say “If one of my players has a beer in Louisville, I know about it.”
Makes you wonder about how good of a program Louisville would be today if Katina Powell had not blown the whole story open.