Calipari Takes Aim At The NCAAPosted by nvr1983 on March 12th, 2012
For over a decade John Calipari has taken shots from critics who have questioned his recruiting methods and his ethics. They point to the two Final Four appearances — 1996 at Massachusetts and 2008 at Memphis — that were later vacated by the NCAA, and rejoice when his freshmen-laden teams lose in the NCAA Tournament. Most of the time Calipari has politely smiled and brushed aside the questions pointing to the career success of his players, but sometimes he takes veiled shots and sometimes he is more up front with his irritation. His interview with The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, released Monday, was the latter. Buried within an excellent discussion about how he runs his program and how he measures success, Calipari offers this quote:
They’re not going to be around long. The NCAA will not. Before I retire from coaching, they will no longer oversee college athletics. They will, but it won’t be the four power conferences—they’ll be on their own. And the main thing is, do you really care about these kids? They’ll get mad that I say it. The NCAA Tournament, for example. It’s more about the selection committee getting on TV, everybody getting their tickets on the aisle, down low, all the parties they go to, the traveling. But we don’t take the parents of the participants. But they take their kids and their families.
The officials will get better hotels than some of their teams. And I know it for a fact. The decisions they make on the $2,000 (expense allowance for student-athletes)—it should have been $4,000. It’s a stipend. It’s not salary. It’s not “pay-for-play.” It’s a stipend. It’s expenses. And then schools vote against it. All this stuff piles up to where people are going to say, “Enough’s enough.”
It is an interesting perspective and most certainly an interesting time to take it. The NCAA has long been criticized by media members, who earn their paychecks covering the sport but are afforded protection by their parent companies. However, very few coaches — particularly active ones — have spoken out against the NCAA. The NCAA cannot come out openly against Calipari here and at most they could hit him with a harsher penalty if either he or the Kentucky program are caught doing something against NCAA regulations, but we imagine they are less than thrilled about Calipari’s comments.
As for the rest of the article, Calipari also discusses other changes he would make to benefit the athletes. In a sense it is somewhat refreshing to see a coach, particularly one as recognizable and controversial as Calipari, come out against what he sees as injustices against athletes. As entertaining as the interview was, we imagine that the school’s administrators and compliance department will also casually mention to him to keep it down a bit, although we cannot imagine Kentucky attracting much more national attention than it is already getting.