Is John Calipari NOT onto Something?


This is part 2 of a two part series exploring John Calipari’s recent comments about the major conferences forming their own super power and thus create their own rules. The part 1 post by Jeff “huskylenz” Taylor is written here.

I want to start off by saying that John Calipari is right in the sense that the system is broken as it sits right now and it is in need of fixing. However, beyond that point I don’t think Calipari’s idea could ever really work.

Jeff “huskylenz” Taylor, does have a point about how in Europe the system is easier to be supported and maybe the USA should find a way to create something similar. With that comes a lot of undoing and redoing, something that most Americans don’t want to bother with, and thus Taylor’s point(s) also will most likely never happen.

Let’s breakdown Calipari’s idea and go from there:

  1. The major athletic conferences like the Big-10, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, etc. would remove themselves from the NCAA and start their own entity. Approximately 72 teams would be part of this removal and re-alignment.
  2. Each sport would pay their athletes over 3k a year. This would add about 1 million dollars to each school’s athletic expenses.
  3. The new super conference would then have an equal playing field in which all the teams would be invited to the tournament.
  4. This new super conference would also be responsible for creating their own rules and would no longer have to respond to the NCAA.
  5. The funds to make this happen would come from the already in place TV deals and/or the new ones that would be added.

Sure this idea seems simple at first look but in reality, it is anything but simple. There is so much attached to this wacky proposal that Calipari obviously hasn’t thought it through it all the way. Granted Calipari said that he wasn’t a big fan of the idea but that he saw it as “the only way” to fix the issue  of paying players.

However, I don’t think it fixes the paying of players at all. In fact,

it adds a whole new dimension to the problem. This begins to make it so players now have specific value to the athletic department. How can you pay a men’s tennis player 3,000 a year and at the same time pay the starting QB for the football team 3,000 a year, when the whole point of the proposal is to give back to the athletes the money that they are earning for the school? The men’s tennis player is making far less for the school than that QB is, no matter the university, just because football is far more popular of a sport.

And if you go with percentages of revenue to the percentage of player, schools that are football or basketball powerhouses will begin getting every recruit possible. If a basketball recruit has the option of attending Missouri and making 6,000 a year or Duke and making 10,000 a year. The answer will be Duke about 95% of the time.

Even if you decide that the schools “are forced” to pay all the players equal that doesn’t mean they will. They already are not supposed to pay their players but the whole reason this issue is coming up is because they do. Now, the officials say “you can only pay them certain amounts of money” and yet many cheating programs will continue to cheat and pay more than “certain amounts of money.” The problem will persist.

This is just a couple of the problems associated with number 2 on the above list. If we backtrack a little and look at number 1 we will see that this will create many and long drawn out lawsuits between these schools and the NCAA. The TV deals may fall through and some schools could be at a loss when they aren’t invited to this super conference but they easily could have been. Calipari is wrong when he says there are about 64 great programs and 100 leaches. It is not so night and day. There are about 64 great programs about 30 good programs and 15 above average. Then maybe some leaches beyond that. But what happens to these good and above average programs when they aren’t invited? They begin to fall apart.

If we take a look at number 3, you see that cinderella teams are no longer going to be a factor. These schools that relied on revenue just from play-in games or making that 16 or 15 seed, no longer have that outlet. Schools like VCU and Butler won’t factor into this picture. You also wouldn’t see a team like Western Kentucky or a bracket buster like Morehead State. This would be sad and this tournament would probably become predictable over time. Especially, if these “super” schools have the option to pay players however they want.

Number 4 goes hand in hand with number 1 and there isn’t much more to talk about in terms of drawbacks on this bullet point.

Number 5’s only flaw is that there are many TV deals already in place and contracts extending out for years. This adds either weird TV structures and/or TV deals that would fall through and no longer exist.

All in all this plan has more holes than it has solutions. But as I said above, the structure currently is not working. However, Calipari’s proposal isn’t the answer.

I hate to be that guy that completely dismantles another person’s proposal without offering my own solution, but this problem is far too complicated for a simple solution. It isn’t going to be fixed overnight or with just one answer. And regardless of the solutions that are created and implemented there will always be cheaters that ignore rules and structure.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.