More Allegations on Coach Cal From Memphis

It seems University of Kentucky basketball coach, John Calipari is up against more accusations that he paid players when coaching the Memphis Tigers.

An email submitted to NCAA regarding alleged pay-for-play arrangement with former University of Memphis coaching staff and the uncle of former student-athlete Pierre Henderson-Niles.

This memo/email is addressed to the legislative branch of the NCAA. I am Pastor Stephen Saine. I was the guardian of a former University of Memphis student athlete.

I share this not to bring dishonor to the University of Memphis or the men’s basketball program, but to: 1) do the right thing and 2) help make sure what happened then is no longer prevalent not only at the UofM but in college athletics in general.

When Jartavious Pierre Henderson-Niles played basketball at the UofM he did so with a play-for-play arrangement I had with the UofM men’s basketball coaching staff.

I received regular payments from one of John Calipari’s assistant coaches (Derek Kellogg) starting Pierre’s senior year of high school through his junior year at the University of Memphis.

This is an issue I would have addressed with the UofM and members of their former coaching staff but as you can imagine, I felt it would have fallen on deaf ears.

Pierre attended the UofM from 2006-2010.

Steven Saine, is Pierre’s uncle and  has been identified as the person who reported the alleged ‘Pay For Play’ violation to the NCAA.

Saine is the head Pastor at Higher Heights Christian Church in North Memphis.

Local Memphis CBS reported this on Saine:

Saine says he was serious about the new role when he had gotten word Calipari was on the take. He says he went through a third party to make the arrangement. According to the email he sent to the NCAA reporting the alleged violation, Calipari’s assistant at the time and current UMass coach Derek Kellogg was the middle man.  But Saine prefers not to discuss who was delivering the money or for how much, although he says he’s shared that information with the NCAA during a 45 minute interview session.

Henderson-Niles last played in Memphis in 2010 when he abruptly left the team citing personal reasons. So why has Saine decided to share his story now? “Basically I want to get the truth out there. I want to free myself of some things.”

He also wants to make sure what he says he wants to make sure stuff like pay-for-play arrangements are no longer part of college basketball.

Saine says he has written an autobiography detailing his rise from a life of crime to religious leader. He is currently shopping publishers for his work. He says his dealings with the University of Memphis is just a small part of his life story. “It’s about where I come from where I am now and where God is trying to take me.”

Henderson-Niles hasn’t released any statement on these allegations his uncle has made against the UofM and Coach Calipari. Not now. Maybe in the future. He’s in a no win situation. To deny the claim would be calling his own uncle a liar. To second it would disgrace the University. 

In the defense of Cal, his players and former members of his coaching staff have come forward with statements denying Coach Cal did anything against NCAA violations.

Former Memphis Tiger Jeremy Hunt admits Calipari had his favorites. “He loved guys who worked hard and wanted to win.” As for Henderson-Niles, who is alleged to have played at Memphis under a pay-for-play arrangement, Hunt comments, “It’s shocking to me to hear this. I played one year with Pierre and we were all pretty close and I never heard anything like that. Calipari was always making sure we did things the right way that’s why he worked with FedEx to get us summer jobs or help us get jobs working in summer camps.”

Hunt continues, “If that’s the case, why didn’t he pay other players? He certainly never game me any money.”

Former Memphis Tiger Antonio Burks, who played under Calipari from 2001-2004 sides with Hunt. “Cal’s my guy. He took a chance on me when others wouldn’t,” says Burks. “I can’t believe he would do anything like that.”

“Everything while he was here was above board,” says current Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner in reference to former Memphis coach John Calipari.

“I think he gets a bad rap and that’s not fair,” says Pastner, who worked one season with Calipari in Memphis as an assistant coach.

Not fair?

How about paying student athletes when the rest of the NCAA isn’t?

Not fair?

How about if this turns out to be true it will be Memphis who gets charged with the NCAA violation, and they will be the ones in trouble for something University of Kentucky’s current coach did?

There needs to be different rules set up for the coaches doing this, and not just the school.



Written by Catfish Hughes

Catfish Hughes

Frank “Catfish” Hughes has been called, “Bob Knight’s Baby with Hip Hop that covers sports.” and “the future of sports writing!” He is an official member of the NSSA & USBWA. Catfish covers the Los Angeles Angeles as the official East Coast Voice of the Lakers, and owns the NBA media outlet, and was the host of Thru the Wire Sports Talk Radio which aired on both ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. Catfish is the head editor and chief here at the Boxing Globe. @CatfishHughes on twitter.

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