Rothstein | Calipari says NCAA hoops should take page from baseball

Kentucky head coach John Calipari watches the action in the first half of the South Regional final game against North Carolina in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Last week’s FBI report, which led to the arrests of four college basketball assistant coaches, has brought upon major questions regarding the overall state of the game.

How can it be fixed?

What should be remedied?

John Calipari has a few ideas.

“Players should be allowed representation just like they have in baseball,” Calipari said following Tuesday’s practice at Kentucky. “They don’t need a new model because there’s already a model in place. That’s what they do in baseball. Players should be able to earn income because of their name, their signature, and their likeness. If a uniform is sold with a player’s name on it, the player should get a percentage on it. If they want to go out and sign autographs, let them sign autographs. The money should be deferred. They should be able to sign a shoe contract too, but the money should be deferred unless it’s used by the parents of the player for transportation or expenses to come and see the kid’s play. They’re not professionals if that happens and it probably eliminates a lot of stuff.”

Calipari also feels that coaches need to be trained to be coaches and that’s something that’s gotten away from college basketball.

“You’ve got to bring back grad assistants,” Calipari said. “It’s how I learned. Bob Huggins started as a graduate assistant at West Virginia and I started as a graduate assistant at Kansas. You could be on the floor and you could rebound for guys. You were also allowed to create relationships with people through phone calls and letters — you learned to be a coach. You were in film sessions, everything. It allowed guys to be taught how to coach.”

There also needs to be more clarity with the future of AAU basketball, Calipari says.

“Summer basketball needs to be figured out,” Calipari said. “We need to figure out what the shoe companies are going to do. Will they voluntarily step away from this? We need to figure out summer basketball.”

Two adidas employees — Jim Gatto and Merl Code — were also arrested following last week’s FBI report.

Kentucky is currently ranked fifth in the FanRag Sports Preseason Top 25.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.

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