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Jeff Borzello, college basketball inside

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Jeff Borzello, college basketball insider: It's a legacy that's certainly changed over the years. For millennial-aged college basketball fans, the movie "Glory Road" -- a dramatic account of Texas Western's 1966 all-black starting lineup winning the national championship over Rupp's all-white Kentucky team -- changed perceptions. While it was obviously a dramatized version of events, here's the truth: Rupp didn't sign a single black player until Tom Payne in 1970. The era played a factor, but Kentucky's football program signed Nate Northington in 1966, and he became the first black athlete to play in the SEC in 1967.

There are conflicting stories on whether Rupp actively recruited black basketball players before ultimately landing Payne (see links above). And that's not even looking at the point-shaving scandal or rules violations under Rupp's watch, leading to what the NCAA considers its first "death penalty." So, yes, "complicated" is certainly apt. I think as we get further away from his on-court accomplishments -- the four national titles and six Final Fours -- those begin to fade.

 

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