John Calipari has ideas to fix the role of agents in college basketball

The Dagger

Kentucky coach John Calipari is never shy to express an opinion.

With everything going on in the world of college basketball, Calipari was asked Tuesday about the recent comments made by NCAA president Mark Emmert. Emmert hinted in an interview with CBS that changes to rules involving contact with agents are necessary, especially in the aftermath of a Yahoo Sports story detailing cash advancements and other payments from the agency of Andy Miller to basketball prospects and their families.

“We’ve gotta make sure we don’t find ourselves in this box again,” Emmert said. “I think in most of the member universities’ minds that some of those rules have simply been written for a different age. While there’s doubtlessly been agent activity and these kinds of things that we’re seeing in the past, I suspect, and most people do, that his has reached a crescendo now because there’s so much attention on it now, there’s so many resources involved.

“We’re really serious about it. I and the board of directions are very, very serious about making really systemic change starting this spring and going forward through the summer.”

Calipari has some thoughts about the way those rules should change.

“I’ve said that we need to work with the [NBA] Players Association, who oversee the agents, and figure out what they think the solution is,” Calipari said Tuesday afternoon. “I think baseball and hockey is a little bit different than what we deal with, but these kids deserve advisers as they’re moving through this process. But the way it’s done right now, it’s an issue. There’s a lot of things. I think at the end of the day, things will begin to change. The problem with the NCAA is it’s slow-moving. This one doesn’t need to be slow-moving.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari shouts to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 88-66. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
Kentucky coach John Calipari shouts to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 88-66. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Calipari acknowledged that a structure that works for a program like Kentucky may not work as well for a mid-major program. That doesn’t change how he feels. And he thinks players should be able to make money while they’re in college, too.

“I’m counting on that they’ll come to their senses,” Calipari said. “I think these kids should be able to use their likeness and make money from their signatures. It’s their name and likeness, it’s not ours. It’s theirs. They should be able to make money. Maybe the school manages it. Maybe the money goes to their parents for travel. Maybe there’s a limit on what they can do and the rest they get when they leave here. It’s all stuff that can be done easily.”

After Yahoo Sports’ story was published last Friday, Emmert said in a statement its contents pointed to “systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America.”

“With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The (NCAA) Board (of Governors) and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity,” Emmert said. “We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”

The documents published in the Yahoo report stem from documents seized from Miller amid the FBI investigation. Four college assistants were arrested in September once the investigation became public.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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