Midwest Region a testament to second chances



March 27, 2019 - 10:22 AM

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl encourages his players against Charleston in the first half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Viejas Arena in San Diego on March 16, 2018. Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

LEXINGTON, Ky. _ To hear the snickers, the head coaches of the four semifinalists of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s Midwest Region might have to pony up for extra charges given the amount of baggage they’re carrying to Kansas City.

There’s Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, NCAA “show cause” judgment alumnus, now under scrutiny for questionable hiring decisions. There’s Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, punished not once but twice for living through his phone. There’s Kentucky coach John Calipari, with “vacated” listed next to two of his six Final Four trips. There’s North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose players appeared in an academic fraud scandal after taking fake classes. Well, as they say, if you don’t like second chances then you shouldn’t eat refried beans.

That being the question in this age of FBI college basketball corruption investigations, embarrassing wiretap revelations — lookin’ at you, suspended LSU coach Will Wade — and porn star lawyer indictments. At what point is a coach’s prior sins forgiven and we all move beyond the dark shadows of the past?

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