LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari is always hogging the spotlight and stealing the credit for big ideas. See, we were going to fix college basketball for everybody and then the Kentucky coach went and beat us to the punch Tuesday.
The game is an embarrassing mess right now with almost daily revelations of new scandals involving shoe companies, agents, cash deals, 5-star recruits and big-name college programs. So how does the NCAA go about cleaning up things?
Calipari thinks some significant rules changes are in order — and we agree. Host Curtis Burch and beat writer Kyle Tucker break down Cal’s big ideas and share their own on the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily Kentucky podcast presented by SEC Country. The rundown:
- Calipari believes top high school and college players need, at a minimum, advisors to help them navigate their transition to the NBA. College baseball and hockey players are allowed to use agents to advise and negotiate, so why not hoops?
- This was Kyle’s big idea that Calipari clearly stole: Let the guys who are top projected draft picks take out loans (Cal’s version has these loans coming from the NBA Players Association) and then you don’t have seedy agents lending money illegally in hopes of signing players after they declare for the draft.
- Cal thinks (and how is this not everyone’s opinion?) that college athletes should be allowed to make money off their own name and likeness — “it’s theirs, not ours,” Calipari said, which ought to be the end of that debate but somehow isn’t.
- Then of course there is Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s idea: Just make it legal for shoe companies to pay players and push them to the schools they want them to attend. Like Calipari always says, “This ain’t communism.”
- Whatever happens, Cal has one thing absolutely right: If this is actually about doing what’s best for the young athletes and their families, some real and positive change needs to be coming quickly.