WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

UK president addresses John Wall's eligibilty issue

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - University of Kentucky president Lee Todd
says he has no problem with the way the school has handled the
investigation into freshman point guard John Wall's eligibility.
Todd said Tuesday the school was simply trying to protect Wall
and did not apologize for keeping quiet about Wall's status.
ESPN.com reported last week the NCAA was looking into whether
Wall's relationship with his AAU coach - who worked briefly as a
licensed sports agent during Wall's high school career - violated
NCAA amateurism rules.
"It's an issue that we've been working on and it's one where
we're protecting the player," Todd said. "We don't know what the
answer will be, but when it comes out we'll be transparent."
The report said the school has known about the situation for
some time, but Todd said the university did not want to put Wall
and his family through press scrutiny.
"There's no reason to expose the young man to a lot of
newspaper articles when it's not necessary until we know the final
decision," Todd said.
Wall made two unofficial visits to Kentucky during 2007. Brian
Clifton, Wall's AAU coach, was also a certified agent at the time.
If Clifton helped pay for Wall's visits, that would constitute Wall
accepting illegal benefits from an agent under NCAA rules.
If the benefits are more than $101, an athlete has to repay the
value of the benefits and be subject to suspension for at least 10
percent of the team's regular-season games.
Kentucky coach John Calipari - who was not the coach at Kentucky
at the time - and athletic director Mitch Barnhart have not
commented on Wall's status. Wall is practicing with the team and is
expected to play in the Blue-White scrimmage at Rupp Arena on
Wednesday night.
Whether he suits up when the Wildcats open the season on Nov. 13
against Morehead State is another matter.
Wall was considered the top high school players in the country
when he signed with the Wildcats and his stay in Lexington is
expected to be short.
Calipari, however, has praised Wall's efforts in the classroom,
saying Wall received the top grades among incoming players during
summer school.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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