Lexington legal

Some folks are citing high-profile Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin's apparent knack for making splashy headlines as proof that "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Pardon Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart if he begs to differ. His Big Blue football and basketball programs are getting loads of free publicity this week, yet the AD isn't smiling.

First came news that football player Jeremy Jarmon, who postponed his NFL career to return for his senior season in 2009, has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. It seems the talented defensive end was taking an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance banned by the NCAA. Jarmon's mistake, though apparently made unwittingly, has been splashed in the national news media.

Next came word that the University of Memphis may have committed major recruiting violations during the 2007-08 season under John Calipari, who became UK's head basketball coach on March 31.

According to The Memphis Commercial Appeal, the NCAA alleges there was "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" involving a player's SAT exam. That player reportedly helped the Tigers advance to the NCAA championship game in '08. In addition, Memphis allegedly provided free transportation to road games for an associate of the player, another violation of NCAA rules.

Reportedly, Calipari is not named in the allegations and is not at risk of being charged with any wrong-doing. Still, the alleged violations took place under his watch and do not reflect favorably on the new Big Blue coach.

Proving that bad news comes in threes, Item No. 3 involves the man Calipari replaced, Billy Gillispie. The deposed UK hoops coach has filed a lawsuit requesting a $6 million settlement from the school. Gillispie, who never signed a formal contract during his two years at the helm, says he was operating under a "memorandum of understanding."

Gillispie is seeking punitive damages, interest, court costs and attorneys' fees in addition to the lump-sum salary settlement.

No such thing as bad publicity?

Don't suggest that to Mitch Barnhart.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories