Jim CalhounSTORRS, Conn. – Apparently, not every team is bulletproof, and former Indiana University coach Kelvin Sampson might soon have some company among the collection of college coaches caught up in illegal recruiting practices.

The latest coach to allegedly violate NCAA rules is none other than University of Connecticut coach, Jim Calhoun. As reported by Yahoo! Sports, Calhoun and his staff are being accused of illegal contact with former Huskies guard, Nate Miles.

For non-sports fans or those who seclude themselves from national coverage, Calhoun, though considerably successful during his tenure, has been notorious for missing games because of health issues. Most recently he was front and center amid a postgame press conference feud with a reporter in a discussion concerning his salary as UConn’s head basketball coach. The infamous line spawned from the debate was “Get some facts, and get back to me.” That is most likely what he is yelling at this very moment.

An initial reaction to the NCAA rules violation story might have been to speculate just how accurate the report was. How reputable is Yahoo! Sports when scooping stories of this magnitude? It certainly doesn’t have the namesake, branding value or name recognition of a daily newspaper or ESPN when considering breaking sports news. But when ESPN and its team of investigative reporters and basketball beat writers followed up, the story became all the more newsworthy.

The real story isn’t whether UConn should or should not have made the nearly 1,500 phone calls when scouting Miles, or how many violations were made. After all, Miles was expelled before he even played a game.

NCAA officials will likely move forward with appropriate action following the six-month investigation. The real question, though, is what actions need to be taken to avoid this type of behavior in the future?

Have college sports become so competitive that cheating is (outside of NCAA rules) accepted? UConn isn’t alone. There are numerous situations just like this that are probably going on right now and stories that will eventually break. It’s become so common that many people brush over the story much like baseball fans have began passing off steroids controversy as just another incident.

The end of season high school sportsmanship awards were recently announced, and in working on the story and talking to coaches and players, it was clear how proud everyone was that either their players or the respective teams might have had success in terms of records and state title runs, but even more appreciative of the recognition from their peers that they do things the right way.

The most important lessons taught at the high school level are to play by the rules and have respect for teammates and opposing teams. It is a lesson intended to be carried on in other aspects of life. How quickly those lessons are forgotten just a year or two removed from high school. More alarming is that the ones upholding the inappropriate actions and attitudes often come from the top – the very people supposedly leading the younger athletes.

Perhaps those at the college level and beyond could take a step back and relearn the intangibles and aspects of the game that, in the end, should matter most. These aren’t professional athletes. They are students wanting to learn. Maybe it is the coaches and recruiters who should “get the facts” and “get back to” the student athletes.

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