Morris conspiracy? Bah, humbug!

When the NCAA revisited the Randolph Morris eligibility situation and ruled this past week that Randolph would now be eligible to play this season the conspiracy theories began to fly. The conspiracy theorist are making unfounded accusations that the Morris fax had either been doctored or fabricated. KSR's Larry Vaught steps forward to play the role of Ebinezer Scrooge for this Conspiracy Christmas Carol, and issues a resounding bah, humbug! on the issue.

Often I will question Tubby Smith's offensive strategy. Other times I will wonder about his recruiting philosophy.

But there's no way I am going to question Smith's integrity or honesty. Maybe I'm naive, or even gullible. After knowing Smith for a number a years and being around those who work with him daily, I just refuse to believe that he's not a man of integrity.

That's why you won't catch me buying into that conspiracy theory over the recent fax Smith found from Randolph Morris that helped the NCAA decide to slice Morris' season-long ban in half. Some media members have openly suggested that UK "manufactured" the fax and talked about its miraculous recovery just in time to regain Morris' eligibility.

Still, I refuse to believe that Smith would be part of any shady dealings here. I just can't see him jeopardizing his career -- or $2 million annual salary -- to help fabricate a fax or alter the wording on an original fax in hopes of getting Morris eligible.

Sure, Smith's team needs help this year. Sure, Morris should provide needed inside scoring and rebounding. However, I just can't see Smith selling his soul for any player.

Smith still deserves credit for giving Morris a second chance. It would be easy to turn your back on a player who abandoned your program. However, Smith doesn't think that way. He lets his heart have as bad a say in personnel matters as he does his brain. If he has a fault when it comes to his players, it's being too lenient because he's always been willing to give players second -- or even third -- chances.

Smith is an honorable man. Granted, there's no way Smith, or any coach, can guarantee he runs a program that never violates a rule. Yet there's no way anyone is going to convince me that Smith would be part of doing something wrong to get Morris eligible.

Maybe I'm wrong. But I doubt it. That's why you'll likely see me continue to second-guess Smith at times when it comes to strategy or recruiting, but you aren't going to see me second-guess his integrity until someone shows me there is a valid reason to do so and so far, that hasn't happened and I really don't think it will.


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