Three days after the NCAA found Jim Calhoun and the basketball program he built guilty of recruiting violations, Calhoun said he was sorry. In a statement released to the media through his lawyer on Friday, Calhoun took responsibility for the stain on the program and acknowledge that as the program's leader, the ultimate blame was with him. The statement read, in part:
"As the leader of the Connecticut basketball program and an ambassador of the University, the buck stops with me. No qualifications. No exceptions. Without going into the details of the case or addressing each of the findings and subsequent penalties, I fully acknowledge that we, as a staff, made mistakes and would like to apologize to the University and all associated with UConn on behalf of myself and the men's basketball program. ...
"My love for my players, the game of basketball and this University will remain my number one professional priority. As the leader of this program, I am moving forward. I owe this to our players and our staff. I have apologized to them privately for the distractions. My personal feelings about this situation and the NCAA's findings will remain private and I will not have any further public comment on this matter."
Although being put on probation and losing a scholarship for three seasons stings, the real weight of the punishment seems to lie in a strong, public rebuke of Calhoun, who will always carry this black mark on his Hall-of-Fame career. Plenty of commenters, both local and national, had called on him to apologize, and it is nice to see him take responsibility for the incident.
Calhoun's lawyer, Scott Tompsett, said that Calhoun has not made a decision about appealing the NCAA's ruling, but if he did decide to appeal, it would be done privately and confidentially.