Have you heard the story about Derrick Rose’s mysterious SAT scores that earned him eligibility at Memphis? If not, it’s fascinating.



In June of 2009, Memphis University was forced to vacate 38 regular season wins and their appearance in the 2008 NCAA tournament as a result of an allegation about eligibility. Although the original Infractions’ report from the NCAA Committee did not name Derrick Rose, he was the only Memphis player to match the description.

The player in the report was accused of having another person take his SAT so he would be eligible to play at Memphis.

Keyword in that statement is accused, there was no direct evidence that supported their claim. However, circumstantial evidence was everywhere.

Reports revealed that Rose failed the ACT three time in Chicago before opting to take the SAT in Detroit. He was attempting to validate a score for himself that would earn him the opportunity to play basketball at Memphis his freshman year. Why did he choose Detroit? Well, there’s a theory on that.

As Gary Parrish pointed out, via The Dagger, Worldwide Wes (William Wesley) is based out of Detroit and it’s long been established that he helped steer Rose to John Calipari at Memphis. Wes, whom most fans have never heard of, is considered to be one of the biggest powerbrokers in the NBA.

After accusations started to swirl in 2009, Rose denied it on multiple occasions to the national media.

I took it, I took it, ” Rose said September 25, 2009. “That’s for sure, ” he said.

When asked about his score though, Rose couldn’t recall it.

Rose couldn’t recall his score, saying, “I don’t even remember my last report card.”

The reason the NCAA was investigating the issue was because they attempted to contact Rose two different times to validate his identity but he failed to respond.

The NCAA attempted to contact the player twice to attain proof he took the exam, according to the report, but he didn’t respond.

So, let’s put this together. Memphis lost 38 wins because somebody reported a fraudulent SAT score. Rose failed the ACT three times in Chicago, then mysteriously passed the SAT in Detroit. Rose claims he took the test, but didn’t remember his score. The NCAA claims their attempts to validate the identity went unanswered.

Therefore, the next step in the investigation was to hire a handwriting expert.

The school says the only proof of a fraudulent test score comes from a forensic document examiner hired by the NCAA to look at the player’s handwriting samples. She was only able to say that the player’s handwriting “probably” did not match the handwriting on the test.

So, the handwriting expert also claims the writing on the test “probably” isn’t Rose’s. But, if Rose said he took the test, he must have… right?

Ultimately, Memphis was unable to find any evidence that Rose had cheated based on what was available at the time.

Rose made a statement after the wins were vacated.

“It is satisfying to see that the NCAA could find no wrongdoing on my part in their ruling. It is important for people to understand that I complied of everything that was asked of me while at the university, including my full cooperation in the university’s investigation of this issue, and was ultimately cleared to play in the entire 2007-08 season by the NCAA Clearinghouse and the university. I look forward to putting this behind me.”

The rumored theory goes like this…

  • Rose failed the ACT three times.
  • Rose hired someone to take the test for him.
  • Memphis got stripped of all their wins.
  • Rose went to NBA, Calipari went to Kentucky.
  • Direct evidence lacked, so Rose gets away with no penalty.

Well, we shouldn’t say “no penalty.” A lawsuit followed from Memphis ticket holders claiming their tickets were worth less value now that the team’s wins had been vacated. Calipari and Rose made “donations” to the scholarship fund and settled out of court.

“Mr. Rose is appreciative of his time and opportunities at the University of Memphis, and as such, will consider, exercising good faith and intentions, making a suitable donation to the University of Memphis Scholarship Fund.”

Someone had to get in trouble though, right?

According to the authorities, five test-takers used bogus school IDs to take the ACT or SAT for 15 students who paid them $500 to $3, 600 apiece. The alleged test-takers have been hit with felony fraud charges, while those accused of paying them face misdemeanors.

So five test-takers were arrested, and charged with felonies — but again, Rose took it himself. It’s not like he had ever changed his grades before … oh, wait.

In a separate investigation, James Sullivan, Inspector General of the Chicago Public Schools district’s Board of Education, released a report of his investigation stating that four student-athletes of a CPS school had one-month grade boosts to alter their college transcripts. The Chicago Sun-Times revealed the school as Simeon Career Academy and that three of the four were Rose and his former teammates Kevin Johnson and Tim Flowers, prominent members of the back-to-back championship teams. The newspaper claimed that Rose’s grade was changed from a D to a C.

Who do you believe about the SAT score?

The Educational Testing Service voided Rose’s SAT score after Rose’s freshman year at Memphis.

Maybe student-athletes shouldn’t be forced to test well in a classroom to play college sports, but cheating your way through the system is no way to set an example for kids from Chicago. Lying only makes it worse.

Sports Mockery
✶ An Unfiltered Voice For Chicago Sports Fans ✶