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John Calipari discusses Michael Avenatti’s Nike allegations

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Is Calipari concerned with Kenny Payne’s name being brought up? Spoiler: No.

Auburn v Kentucky Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It seems like the college basketball corruption news and NCAA investigations will never come to an end.

This past August, what appeared to be Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne’s initials were mentioned in documents that Michael Avenatti submitted to the federal court to support his claim that Nike paid players to go to schools they sponsored.

Based on these documents, Payne had a conversation with Nike EYBL director Carlton DeBose in which DeBose told Payne which EYBL coaches he supplied money to in order to help families of players on the shoe circuit.

This morning, John Calipari met with reporters and was asked about this specifically and whether or not he was concerned.

“No, no,” he said. “How we’re set up here, you guys know. It is what it is and we go about our business.”

Calipari did mention however that he wasn’t surprised that so much attention was brought to a seemingly meaningless issue when Kenny Payne’s and Kentucky’s name was brought up.

“You put Kentucky in a headline, or you put me in a headline? Oh, you’re getting eyeballs. So, the minute they see a K...boom! Which K was it? Is that Kentucky? Ah, it’s not Kentucky.’ I mean, it’s what it is, but then somebody called me and said Kenny was in it and I said, ‘What?’. They said, ‘It said his name.’

“No I said, ‘Yeah, it didn’t say his name because they wanted it to be me, so they left his name out and thought it would be me,’ and I was like, I got tents in the front of my house. The media, they set up tent city. Why are you laughing? Because you know it’s true.

“So, when it became Kenny and you read what it was, something to the effect of, make sure you don’t get — basically, he wanted him to do right, which would have been good, but because it’s us, it’s eyeballs.”

Whenever Kentucky Basketball is mentioned in just about any context, it’s going to get attention. From what Calipari is inferring here, though, it doesn’t seem like he is worried in the least bit.