CRAWFORD | Calipari on NCAA amateurism reform: 'There's nothing here'
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – As Wednesday’s NCAA basketball recruiting and enforcement reforms continue to be digested by the media and public, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said that they have a long way to go to become reality – at least on the subject of amateurism.
Speaking after his team beat the Bahamas National Team Wednesday night, Calipari said he thought some of the reforms probably reached too far for practicality, at least until all the entities involved are on board.
“Until the NBA changes, there’s nothing here,” Calipari said of the rule changes. “I don’t even know why we’re discussing it. It can’t happen until ’22 (when the NBA has said it could amend its age limit) right now. Any of the things they’re talking about can’t change.”
Beset by a changing basketball landscape and stung by high-profile scandals in its major sports, the NCAA enacted sweeping reforms that will give basketball players the opportunity to hire an agent, and provide the organization with more enforcement and sanctioning power.
Among other changes, the NCAA now will allow all players who declare for the NBA but go undrafted to have the opportunity to return to their former school.
Elite prospects will be allowed to hire agents. This will apply to high school and college players. Those who may hire agents will be determined by USA Basketball.
The recruiting calendar will be redrawn, with college coaches allowed to visit the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp each June. The first live period in July will be open for coaches to attend non-scholastic events, but July will be reduced from three recruiting weekends to two, with the second featuring camps sponsored by the NCAA, USA Basketball, the NBA and the NBA Players Association.
These measures are aimed at reducing the influence of AAU coaches in summer recruiting.
Many of the reforms were pushed forward by the Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleeza Rice in the wake of last September’s revelation into the corruption investigation into the sport.
But not all of the entities have yet been brought into the process. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that both the NBA and USA Basketball were caught off guard by the NCAA’s legislation. The NBA is still discussing the future of its age limit, and Calipari said USA Basketball has no desire to be the sole arbiter of which players get to hire agents.
“There were some things out there that were not accurate,” Calipari said. “USA Basketball, their CEO Jim Tooley is here, and they don’t want to be the only one who decides who gets an agent. That’s not what they do. The only one to do camps? They said well, hell, why would that be shifted to them? So there’s a lot of stuff they’ve got to talk through. The thing where they stay in the draft -- the NBA has to agree to that too, now. To go back to the school. And what if the school doesn’t have a scholarship. What happens? Does he go back and transfer? Does he have to sit out then? There’s things that have to be talked through, and thank God we have three years to do it.”
In the meantime, Calipari said he’s not sure why the NCAA would roll out its reform package right now, when so much of it – at least on the recruiting side – can’t become reality without the participation of other groups.
“I don’t know why we talk about it right now, other than that somebody wants to bash somebody,” Calipari said. “I don’t think there’s anything really there right now. There’s no there there.”
CORRECTION: The original version of this story, in a parenthetical addition to Calipari's quote, said that the NCAA has said it is not likely to change its age limit until 2022. The age limit is set by the NBA and the NBA Players Association.
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