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Calipari and his wife tried to start a fund for former players’ children and the NCAA said no

Photo Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Photo Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

One interesting story from John Calipari’s press conference that didn’t really fit in my recap has to do with a fund Cal said he and his wife tried to start for their former players’ kids. Cal said they wanted to put together a fund to help his former players pay for their children’s educations, but the NCAA shot it down because it would be an extra benefit:

“I presented this to the NCAA, my wife and I. We want to start a fund. We’ll fund it, we’ll put the money in. That every player that’s ever played for me, whether they be at Mass, Memphis, or Kentucky, can request a grant for their children’s education. And that fund would peel off money for that reason. And when I stop coaching 25 years later, the money that’s left in that fund would be split between Memphis, Massachusetts, and Kentucky.

What was the response? ‘It’s an extra benefit.’ My wife and I sat there and said, ‘we’ve been thinking about this for five years, this is what we want to do. So, why can’t we put $5 or $10 million in an account that peels out money that all those players that have played for me? ‘Because you’ll use it in recruiting. And you’ll have an advantage.’ Well, I won’t if 50 other coaches do the same thing. Now, if 50 of us do it, we can afford it. I’m not the only guy that’s done well and am blessed. Well, 50 of us do it. ‘That’s bad.'”

For Cal, that’s yet another “common sense problem” the NCAA has right now, and one of the reasons it’s a crumbling institution. Kids’ education? Come on now…

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

93 responses to “Calipari and his wife tried to start a fund for former players’ children and the NCAA said no”

  1. WH

    I’m fine with all the Cal love going on this week, but come on. The NCAA made the right call. It’s the same thing as giving players money…just 20 yrs after the fact.

    1. DB11

      Going to have to agree. Seems like common sense that this wouldn’t work.

    2. TC

      I just don’t see a 16-18 year old kid deciding to go to a school because their future kids could get some scholarship money. Half of them have probably never even thought about a kid of their own.

    3. Rixter

      Giving a player cash, and letting them apply for a grant for their children’s education is not exactly the same thing.

    4. Rixter

      Cal’s argument when the NCAA said this will give you an advantage, help you in recruiting?

      “Then let other coaches do it. Many of us in this profession are blessed. There goes my advantage, cuz all coaches are doing it”

    5. Luther

      Agree. This is common sense…

    6. ukbradstith

      It’s set up just like any other grant. No 17 year old is going to sign with a school because the coach is going to let him apply for college money for his future kids in 20 years or more.

    7. Bill Brasky

      This is the only thing I agree with the NCAA on over Cal. It would be an added benefit that the coach of, say, Mercer, may not be able to afford. Assuming they wouldn’t stop Cal from setting this up after he retires, I think it’s the right call.

    8. Your Opinion is worth...


  2. Duuuuuude

    I love Cal, but come on….. of course it would give us an advantage and Cal knows it. Had we had an opportunity to hire Brad Stevens lets say before he took the Celtics job, he was not making the kind of money Cal made to begin former players childrens college. Lets be real!

    1. ukbradstith

      Exactly what players would that give us an advantage with?

  3. Musehobo

    I love Cal, and I love that he wants to do this. But he HAD to know the NCAA would say no to this. Play for Cal and your kids will get scholly money? Yes, that’s a benefit.

    And I’m all for reform of the NCAA, where payers are payed and they have the right to sell their own signature/likeness etc… But with the current rules, there’s no way this could happen. If he wants to do this, after he retires, no one can stop him, but the NCAA would probably vacate his whole career.

    1. schwing

      once a player leaves the university, they are free to receive any benefit they legally can. the fund that cal wanted to set up would not give any current player a benefit. there is no rule against future benefits.

  4. Common Sense

    @ 1 and 2 – +1

    I actually agree with the NCAA for once…..weird day….

  5. binarysolo

    “But now there’s all you can eat peanut butter Cal, what more do you want from us?” — Emmert

  6. Blue_Cat75

    Cal’s former players can’t afford to send their kids to school when they all make/made millions in the NBA?? Must be talking about the walk-ons who graduated and are all engineers/scientists. I must be missing something.

    1. jus sayin

      Not everybody who played for him is in the NBA. Additionally even if you have a good job that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t take Alumni benefits for your kids. Places do that all the time.

    2. Moose

      well let’s see. John Hood – not a walk on, not going to make millions in the NBA. Twany Beckham – not a walk on, not going to make millions in the NBA. Julius Mays – not a walk on, not going to make millions in the NBA. Eloy Vargas – not a walk on, not going to make millions in the NBA. I could continue, but I gotta get some work done.

    3. Common Sense

      Perry Stevenson works at Wildcat Warehouse.

    4. Rixter

      How much is Mark Krebs making in the NBA? John Hood? Sam Malone?

  7. Big Mike In The Wood

    Its a great idea with good intentions but it would be an obvious extra benefit. While Cal can afford to do this for his former players not every Coach makes as much as he does at a big school like Kentucky. Smaller schools would be at an even bigger disadvantage recruiting against the larger schools than they already are.

  8. Lesbehonest

    Isn’t recruiting with the Kentucky name already an advantage.

    1. ukjaybrat

      while we’re at it… players want to be on a winning team. so winning championships and tournaments is a recruiting advantage too… no more championships or tournaments… as a matter of fact, 25+ win seasons is a sign you’re a winning program… so. no more winning programs.all games end in a tie. as a matter of fact… we shouldn’t even keep score anymore… just like the pee wee leagues…

      ncaa definitely needs to be overhauled. i like some things they try to do, but others just make me shake my head.

    2. musehobo

      I see what you’re getting at and I somewhat agree with you. But you chose the wrong analogies. The championships/winning is not the advantage. You see we won before others did, cared more than anyone else, and fans will spend millions each year in tickets and merchandise. Therefore UK invests more money in recruiting, paying coaches, facilities, etc… These are the advantages.

      If the NCAA really wanted to level the playing field, they’d have to cap recruiting accounts, cap coaching salaries, and have strict facility rules. The NCAA already reaches too far into this by trying to make everything “fair”. It doesn’t work. But keeping coaches from “paying” players VIA scholly after retirement…well that’s an easy call.

  9. JPWildcat

    Haha, come on now Cal. Trying to give exclusive benefits to UK players out of your pocket ain’t helping the image. Hearts in the right place just make sure your brain is.

  10. HolyShitBallsBatman

    Wow – I can’t believe everyone is disagreeing with Cal. Well reasoned UK fans. Who knew they existed?

    1. Downtown


    2. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

      seriously, “rotfl’…are you 15 years old? Shouldn’t you be paying attention to your science teacher, or is it recess time?

    3. Bledsoe's Biceps

      Hey Tommy I Kiss….. Very mature reply there. Seriously what are you 12? Maybe he is 15. When did they put an age restriction on KSR comments?

    4. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

      If he is 15 he shouldn’t have such a potty mouth. If he is over 20 and using rotfl he is a douche. And no, I’m not 12. I’m 18.5. Any more questions I can answer for you?

    5. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

      Oh yeah, I see I forgot an answer. They didn’t put an age restriction on KSR, and I don’t see where anyone mentioned that.You’re welcome.

    6. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

      whoops, I take back my answer about him having a potty mouth. I see he said nothing derogatory. In an attempt to aggravate you I rushed my answer. Fail. Except I still aggravated you. It’s fun being 18.5!

    7. Troll Toll

      What 18 year old says they are 18.5? Im guessing you spent alot of time stuffed in lockers the last 4 years of your life.

    8. pr

      This is not just cal. His wife is part of it to.

    9. Downtown

      “Rolling On The Floor Laughing……”

      Now people……..that’s not just sad……it’s embarrassing. Don’t look for something that isn’t there.

      And as for Batman…..well stated.

  11. L1C6

    And Jabari Parker just ruined college basketball by declaring for the draft. This one and done stuff is just awful (sarcasm font)

    1. Rixter

      I can’t believe Coach K just keeps bringing these kids in. He’s running an NBA farm system down there. He’s ruining the college game.

  12. raccoon

    Jabari leaving Duke for NBA. Good news for Cats as that team is probably our biggest competition next year.

    1. Chris

      I agree 100% I thought he might stay and we would have heard all pre-seaon and season about how good Duke is… They still will be good but now Coach K has use alot of his incoming freshmen.. Lets see how good he is at that..

    2. ukjaybrat

      well it was easy to get one ego to basically take the leadership role over all his juniors/seniors. now he has more than one one-and-done player coming in… let’s see if he can manage their egos like cal can and get them to play like a team. somehow i doubt it.

    3. pr

      Tyus jones and other duke freshmen are calling thereselves “The Four Quarters”. Hahaha can someone please explain???

  13. hell cat

    Gotta disagree with Cal on this one, and agree with the NCAA. In related news, flurries expected in hell today.

  14. Jordan

    Malik Newman wants to play with Diamond Stone in college:

    “Me and my boy Diamond (Stone) are working on teaming up together in college too. I know everybody says that, but I think we’re on the same page with it. That’s the plan for right now. The great thing is everybody that’s recruiting me is recruiting him too. We’re gonna make that happen.”

    Cal’s gonna make it happen

  15. Rick pitino

    I wanted to start an abortion fund for players having unwanted kids, that way they wouldn’t have to worry about future college cost. Ncaa shot me down too.

    1. Willie T

      now that’s funny…

    2. Common Sense

      +1 this is genius

    3. UKfan


    4. Michael

      We have a winner! Matt, show him what he’s won!

    5. marsfire

      Now that’s the best answer!!!

    6. Cris

      Maybe you and Cal can do a 6 to 1 split. 6 Scholarships to 1 abortion. Helping kids is better than assassinating them. Stupid comment! Just in case your not catching what I’m throwing, 6-1 record!

  16. RVCAT

    This might be considered a benefit but seriously how many 18 year old kids are going to be swayed to a school because their potential kid will get a free education? 18 year olds must be considerably more mature these days.

    1. Rixter


    2. inlinefor9

      The kid wouldn’t really be swayed but I bet the parent(s)/grandparent(s) that are there helping them make their college choice would be. Great idea, but probably something that would never be allowed.

  17. tom

    Have to agree with NCAA on this one. It is a benefit. Like Mr. Wildcat said, no doubt Cal and his wife’s heart are int he right place but trying to police the fund and regulate it properly would be out of the purview of the NCAA. They have enough time trying to manage what they already have on their plate.

    1. schwing

      there’s no place for them to review what would go on with that fund. they have no business looking into the average student’s affairs. there is no guarantee that cal’s former players will have any athletic ability at all. those that DO qualify for an NCAA scholarship wouldn’t be partaking in this fund at all.

    2. schwing

      sorry – “CHILDREN of cal’s former players…”

  18. Ageoldcatfan

    Coach. Great idea! Rub the NCAA’s nose in it. Open the fund to all players’ children and allow other coaches to contribute.

  19. Honky Kong

    Couldn’t he just wait and start the fund after he retires from NCAA coaching ??

  20. are you blind

    That makes total sense by the NCAA. If he really wanted to help out, then he would put his money in there, and open it to any former player for any team. Invite his coaching buddies to do so also. This sounds like just an attempt to smear the NCAA and try to make them sound the bad guys. This would totally be a recruiting advantage and since he makes so much money he would be able to pour in money that other coaches could not. Anyone who does not see this is either blinded by their desire to drop to their knees for Coach Cal or just stupid. BTW. Go CATS bring home nine next year. Just no 40-0 talk please. Thanks.

    1. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

      I think most people agree it would be an advantage. But to say ‘if he really wanted to help out he would do it for any former player’ is silly. Yes, he wants to help out, but he wants to help those he knows more than those he doesn’t. Have you ever given a large amount of money to a family member? Would you give the same amount to a stranger? If you say yes, and no, that doesn’t mean you didn’t really want to help out.

    2. raccoon

      I think what he is saying is that there are still ways to accomplish this goal that wouldn’t create an advantage. Cal just put the idea out there and the NCAA responded (correctly this time). This creates a dialogue or furthers a dialogue. I think it would be great if the NCAA took more interest in former players.

      Now, what Cal should do, and I don’t know if this is allowed, is get UK to allow players to complete their education on scholarship, regardless of their status with the team. Whether they lose eligibility or whatever. Because if you can get the kids to graduate, chances are you don’t need to pay for their kid’s education because they will have the tools to earn an ok income.

  21. Downtown

    Oh, are you talking about Tom Crean?

  22. Rixter

    Yeah, I know. I watched the press conference.

  23. green bean

    So this means Cal can’t distribute funds to a former player to send their kid to Harvard? I never saw where it said the kid had to go to one of the three schools. What if the kid doesn’t even play sports? While it could be some sort of benefit for your future kid, I don’t believe 18 yr olds are baseing their college decision on a future kid. Let’s hope not!

  24. Tommy I Kiss My Kids On The Mouth Crean

    how did you get all of that from just an elbow? also, lmao = douchey

    1. hoo ha

      Apparently Tommy has a MAJOR problem with internet acronyms or whatever those things are called. DMY dude.

  25. Reddington

    Not every idea by Cal is going to be great or even good. But without this one, he might not have gotten to the next one that works.

  26. KevinM

    Perhaps if Cal rephrased it by saying he and his wife would provide unlimited snacks to the kids, then the NCAA could put their stamp on it, and hey, maybe a new NCAA line of gummy chews.
    No UK linked kid goes hungry under Cal’s watch…..sounds perfect to me.

  27. Crazy8s

    Would Anthony Davis have gone to Eastern Kentucky if he knew his future children would have a free college education? Would Jabari Parker have gone to UNC Asheville?

    Coaches (read Cal) are accused providing benefits (read cheating) for elite athletes on the fast track to riches. Yes, it would be an advantage, but that advantages are being overstated. Is the cost of potentially having a few slightly more talented benchwarmers really worth sacrificing the benefit of millions of dollars a coach wants to provide to better the lives of his players that did not lead careers that lead to financial wealth.

    I admit, this situation would be different at schools where McDonald’s All Americans with promising futures don’t fill out the roster. I just don’t believe in Cal’s case it would affect his recruiting in any real way. It’s sad that he can’t bless his “kids” that way.

    1. tom

      What have you got against Asheville?????

    2. Crazy8s

      You caught me. I’m a West Carolina fan trolling UNC Asheville fans on a Kentucky blog. Who would have though it would work? Bulldog Nation really is everywhere.

  28. CatFanInWv

    It’s been done before Bear Bryant did something similar at Alabama. Cal just wants to do it for all three schools he’s been at.

    1. CatFanInWv

      Granted it’s grandfathered in since they have since banned it as a benefit and a recruiting inducement.

  29. UKBlue

    Cal awesome & really really good at getting the NCAA to back themselves into a corner so they looking really stupid. Yea on the surface this looks like a recruiting advantage, but if these ex players are no longer players & if it’s the ex players kids; what the NCAA is the only people that can make money off the other players images & usage, but Cal can’t help educate his ex players kids? At least Cals trying to educate, but the NCAA sticks their heads in the sand with all the crap going on at UNC, fing hilarious. The NCAA is a financial octopus that has his arms rapped around everything.

  30. Class

    I don’t see how this would be an advantage. College kids, especially guys, are not thinking of their future children when they decide where they want to play!
    Heck, even if their parents think its a great idea (because of the benefit) 18-19 year old boys are not going to base their decision on a scholarship fund for thier potential children.


    If Cal really wants to do this why not start a “fund” in his own name while he is still coaching. He can keep track of the players that have played for him (I’m sure he already does), and once he is retired from coaching (assuming he has less than 20 years left), he can make it available to any former player he wants as long as neither are associated with the NCAA anymore.

  32. RUPPS_rhetoric

    There will be nothing stopping him from doing this after he retires if he really wants to.

    1. schwing

      why does he have to wait?

  33. UKfan

    How about he start a fund that would provide assistance to all UK students, not just basketball players?

  34. blawblaw

    I see why this could be considered extra benefits, but it’s not guaranteed and it’s long after the player’s career is finished at UK. Does the NCAA prohibit UK from hiring former NCAA athletes, possibly as an assistant coach? There is no question their application is looked at more favorably because they played for UK. Is that an extra benefit? Could Cal come out and say I love to see my former players come back as coaches and use that as a recruiting tool? I don’t think that’s prohibited.

    Would it be inappropriate if Cal sent John Wall a Christmas present? I just have a big problem identifying where the NCAA draws the lines on these things.

    1. schwing

      the NCAA doesn’t know where they draw the line either. they make up investigations & enforcements as they go along.

  35. Some Guy

    I would think its only giving a player cash if they play a sport which he did not say and if so they are required to go to one of those three schools. How is this any different than a scholarship that requires a specific gender or ethnicity or disability? It is still narrowing down a population based on the provider.

  36. btowncatfan

    Gee imagine if Shawn Kemp had played for Cal, that fund would be bankrupt in no time.

  37. David

    like Cal needs another recruiting edge…LOL…the NCAA fears Calipari like no other coach because he has a mind that is always thinking (whereas Roy Williams in comparison sends his kids to phantom classes and the NCAA ignores it completely)…further proof that the NCAA does not have the kids best interests in mind; rather their own profits…extra benefits?? Maybe the hierarchy of the NCAA can afford to lose some of their “extra benefits” (eeeek, no)…what a joke the NCAA has become

  38. UK Greg

    Doesn’t sound like a terrible idea to me. He doesn’t say they are just going to give the kids the money. He says that they can ‘request a grant’. A request is not automatically fulfilled, and they may have some stipulations built in, like you must graduate, not make millions in the NBA, etc. This virtually eliminates the ‘Succeed & Proceed’ players or ‘Two & Through’ as they may start to be called after this Summer.

  39. AlGardner

    I’m just waiting on some ambitious entrepreneur to start another pro basketball league. We need another pro league instead of forcing all of these talented players into college for one or two years. Most countries around the world have multiple pro soccer leagues, and the leagues are successful. The “lower” leagues give players a chance to work up to the top league in the country while still getting paid to do so. This would solve a lot of problems with college sports, and the players that really wanted to go to college could still play for their college teams. These second-tier pro teams would do well in markets where college basketball is big, like Kentucky, and they could even keep the same colors/mascot etc. Would you still cheer for the “Kentucky Wildcats” if they were not the “University of Kentucky Wildcats” but rather a pro team based in Lexington? I would. I would rather support a system that is not exploiting the players, but instead allows them to be compensated based on their level of contribution.

  40. HackRichards

    After Cal’s coaching days are over I could see him a President/CEO/ Czar of the NCAA.

  41. Heather

    I don’t see it as an advantage…I see it as two people helping others out because they know they can and they able to afford it. Not every UK player is going to go on to have a great career in the NBA. Many of them won’t go on to the NBA at all. This could help those players out. I think it is a good idea. And he did say that if other coaches do it with him he would not have an advantage and that is true. But if they are set on not allowing him to do this then he can most certainly do it once he retires…the NCAA couldn’t stop him then. Either way I love Cal and I love how he cares about his players and takes the time to keep up with them. Maybe this one didn’t go through but I think it’s great that he wants to do this.

    1. Huh?

      If they’re not nba stars, then shouldn’t they have a degree to fall back on?

    2. Dcoyle

      Just because they have a degree doesn’t mean that they can afford to send kids to college. Cal should just announce that he will start this fund after he retires. NCAA would have no control then. They care nothing about education. They require teams to arrive two days early during NCAA tourney for media events causing more missed classes but drumming up free advertising to allow them to continue lining pockets. And the sure don’t care about fake classes at UNC. I would doubt that this would cause one kid in ten years to commit to Cal.

    3. schwing

      having a degree to fall back on doesn’t guarantee anything. having a college degree doesn’t even mean you’re smart.

  42. RICK

    Sorry i have to agree with the ncaa on this one unless i am reading this wrong.

  43. Mitch

    Re 27 above. Height of lunacy on the part of the NCAA. What logic is there in the NCAA grandfathering the Alabama/Bear Byrant Foundation (I also understand that LSU may have a similar “grandfathered” fund)?

    So, if such a fund is a recruiting advantage (or so the NCAA says) how can they (the NCAA) have locked that advantage in for Alabama (and LSU? Others?) and yet not allow other football programs to level the playing field by creating a similar fund? Nice!

    As an aside, I do not believe, as many others have already pointed out, that such a foundation would be a significant recruiting advantage.