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John Calipari calls for rule change to allow Bellarmine to make NCAA Tournament

Bellarmine is not eligible for the tournament until 2025.

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats squeaked past Bellarmine on Tuesday night 60-41 with a big second-half run to take control of the game.

After the game, before John Calipari took any questions, he delivered a message to the NCAA in support of the Bellarmine program and pushing for a rule change to allow them into the NCAA Tournament or even the NIT.

Bellarmine transitioned into a Division I team ahead of the 2020-21 season. That means they are not eligible to play in the NIT or NCAA Tournament until 2025, regardless of their success on the court.

Last season, the Knights won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament in Year 2 of their transition but weren’t allowed into the Big Dance.

Calipari took the time to give his thoughts on the Knights missing out on the tournament.

“Scotty has done a great job with that program,” Calipari said. “What’s disappointing, you know, if they win their league tournament again, they can’t get in. I’ve said this many, if you do things for the kids, you’re never wrong.”

“It’s not right for the kids,” Calipari added. “They should be able to be in that tournament, if they do what they did. They’re well-coached. They’re great kids. I hope people will reconsider. Change the rule.”

Bellarmine has been through the gauntlet so far this season as they became the first team in NCAA history to play games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Pauley Pavilion and Rupp Arena in the same season.

Hopefully, we see the NCAA do the right thing and change the rule to allow teams like Bellarmine in the tournament when they clearly earn it.

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