A money thing

April 17, 2012


To the editor:

John Calipari has set the trend for college sports. His approach to recruitment has irrevocably taken the word student out of the phrase student athlete. His pitch promises a year of glory and a quick transition and opportunity to play for pay in the NBA. It has nothing to do with the athlete’s ability to achieve a college education. I’m sure that John will tell you that the athlete still has the opportunity to remain at the college level and finish his education, but, realistically, how many 18- or 19-year-old kids are going to forgo potential multimillion-dollar contracts and stay in school?

John’s approach is both cynical and misleading. Although a good number of his athletes will be drafted, how many of those kids will actually succeed at the professional level? What happens if they don’t succeed? Will John care? I doubt it. People tend to forget that Calipari wrecked two college basketball programs because of recruiting violations. Now he has found a way to operate within the letter of the rules and win at the expense of his athletes.

Calipari is not alone in adopting this approach to recruit so-called four- or five-star athletes. He has just taken it to a new level. In the beginning, student athletes were students first, then athletes. In recent years the reverse has been too often true. Today in many cases we just have athletes. It’s the money thing.  


Bob Forer 5 years, 8 months ago

Most Division I coaches would love to have a one and done player commit to them. The reason they are unsuccessful is that the players don't want to go there. Calipari merely happens to be very good at luring the one and doners. He is not doing anything that any other coach would if they could.

The whole system is broken. Not just wherever Calipari happens to be coaching.

Patrick Pritchard 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree the system is broken. So, who is going to fix it? The NCAA? I doubt it. I believe that I mentioned other coaches have done the one and done just not to the extent Calipari has. I was just making an observation albeit a sad one.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

He's just following the current rules. Get over it.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

Given Cal's history of rules infractions, I wouldn't assume he is currently following the rules. Maybe he is following the rules, maybe he's become more clever at hiding infractions.

Patrick Pritchard 5 years, 8 months ago

Get over it! You and UNIKU remind me of some folks a few centuries ago called the Romans who had the same attitude about the welfare of the gladiators with their thumbs down gesture. Oh! Well! as long as you get entertained! By the way I never even suggested Calipari be punished....but I agree with Bob Knight about Calipari's character.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

I would like to see students be required to do four years of college AND earn a degree before they can get drafted in any pro league, but that's illegal. On the flip side, a junior majoring in business offered a guaranteed multi-million dollar contract to skip his senior year and go to work would probably jump at the chance and worry about graduating later. Who are we to judge?

Patrick Pritchard 5 years, 8 months ago

A junior majoring in business doesn't have to try out for the team. When was the last time you were in the labor market. It's scary out there. There are no guaranteed contracts only the possibility of being a downsize victim. Except in this case you'd be a displaced worker without a college degree. Try getting an interview for well paying job in the business world without a degree. Good Luck on that! Whose judging? I just made an observation that happens to be true.

dncinnanc 5 years, 8 months ago

Why should we require them to complete 4 years of "education" as opposed to taking a job offer when it arises? When you are the best at what you do (in certain fields at least), a 4 year degree does not necessarily matter. As MIC said, they can always go back to school later should the NBA not pan out.

Patrick Pritchard 5 years, 8 months ago

See my reply above. Oh! Yes! Who will pay for their tuition and books, room and board if they go back to school? No scholarship!

Patrick Pritchard 5 years, 8 months ago

That's true of any successful person, more so those who pursue and complete a college degree. College is not the only source of an education, but if you start it you ought to finish it.

parrothead8 5 years, 8 months ago

It's not Calipari's fault or the NCAA's fault. The NBA has a rule that does not allow players to be eligible for its draft until one year after their high school graduation. If the players aren't able to go play overseas, then playing college ball for a year may be their best option.

If you're going to blame anyone for this, blame the NBA. This rule exists solely to save the billionaire NBA owners from themselves. Instead of taking a chance on paying millions of dollars to a high school kid who may not work out, the risk is passed on to the universities. Additionally, NBA franchises don't have to spend a dime scouting high school basketball when they can just wait for the NCAA to showcase all the best players on national TV.

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