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John Calipari has a great plan for college basketball’s amateurism problem

Calipari is trying to stay ahead of the curve on this one. The NCAA would be wise to listen up.

Calipari Sea of Blue


By now, you probably know about the big changes to the G-League.

During Wednesday’s SEC Media Days, John Calipari actually made an interesting comment about the state of college basketball, the mature status of players and the G-League.

There, he made an interesting remark that makes you think he knew today’s news on the G-League was coming.

“I’m reading tea leaves.”

Calipari since confirmed as much:


As the saga of the FBI investigation into college basketball seems to never end, it seems more and more every day that the sky is falling in the world of college hoops.

New programs are being implicated, new violations are coming to light, and it certainly looks as though the entire system is corrupt.

In response to the current pay for play scandal, the NBA has voiced their concern and intends to end the one-and-done era in college basketball within the next few years. But many worry that without a strong system in place when that change happens, a chaotic scenario may develop that benefits nobody.

Of course, everyone in college basketball is talking about what the college basketball world may look like in a few years. And John Calipari shared with ESPN his ideas for ensuring the best interest of the players remains a priority.

“I’ve got the solution,” Calipari told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. “The NBA, you want these kids in the G League, you want to do all this? Everyone that goes in the G League is guaranteed eight semesters of college education if you don’t make it. You give them a signing bonus, you pay them. And then if they don’t make it after two years, the NBA pays to have them on my campus. They have to sit out their first year, to prove they really want to be in college. So you can come to college, the NBA is gonna pay for it, for eight semesters. You come back, sit out a year to prove you really want to be in college, then you start playing and your clock starts.”

Calipari is concerned that the option of the NBA G-League will cause many young men to focus all of their energy on basketball instead of also preparing for academics and life.

“If they’re trying to encourage them to go to the G League, I think it’s wrong,” Calipari said. “Instead of encouraging academic success and learning and a life of learning, just go chase basketball. They can’t do that at 14, 15, 16 years old.”

Essentially, Calipari’s solution is that the G-League would not rule out a basketball player’s amateur status. They could try out the G-League, and if it didn’t work out they could have 3 years of college eligibility remaining after sitting out for a year. He also believes the NBA should pay for that.

Another stipulation of Cal’s suggested system is that a player who took the college option after a run in the G-League must complete two years of college before being eligible for the NBA Draft. This would guarantee 6 semesters of college work, which is what it takes many college athletes to get a degree.

But of course, Calipari did not stop there with his ideas for making sure the players are taken care of. A recent rule change now allows players to return to college if they enter the NBA Draft but are not selected. Coach Cal thinks that is not enough.

“If a kid is picked in the second round, he doesn’t have to go. He can go back to college,” Calipari added. “Everybody is telling him he’s a first-round pick, and you slip to the second round, ‘Nah, I’m going back.’ If you’re gonna let kids stay in the draft and then say they’re coming back a week later after they don’t get drafted, why not put it on the second round?”

Coach Cal’s suggestions are obviously player-friendly, and that is not surprising. All of these proposed rule changes come back to giving players every chance to capitalize on their opportunities.

“Do we care about the kids or is this about the NBA or is this about college?”

That’s the billion dollar question, Coach.

Be sure to read the entire piece here.