This entire Joe B Hall situation has been difficult to follow. But after 36 hours of excitement, protest and confusion, here is where it stands:
1. Joe B Hall Will Be a Coach for UK Legends Event:
Friday John Calipari announced that Joe B Hall would be part of his Dominican Republic coaching staff and would be able to participate in their practices and scrimmages. On Saturday, he told WKYT that the coaches for the UK Legends team would come from his Dominican staff, presumably meaning that Joe B Hall will still be able to coach the team. The Calipari method of adding him to the Dominican staff gets around any problems and puts back in the position of honoring Joe B.
2. There is Apparently Was an NCAA Rule Prohibiting Hall’s Participation
Now I will freely admit that I still am unclear as to what rule this may be. If former players can play, it is hard to see why a former player cannot coach. But apparently that was the case. A big argument has ensued online as to whether the NCAA made the decision not to allow Hall to coach or whether that decision was made by UK. My guess is that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Whether the NCAA looked at this supposed rule (I wish someone would tell me which one) and told UK, “no Joe Hall or honoring of players” or UK looked at the rule and said, “we cant honor Hall and former players, the result is the same. Someone, somewhere believes that a rule exists preventing Joe B Hall from being part of the game.
3. The NCAA’s Statement Explains Nothing:
Here was the NCAA’s statement today, in its entirety:
NCAA statement on Dominican National team game at University of Kentucky
Public speculation, fueled by inaccurate media reporting, incorrectly assumed the NCAA denied former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall the opportunity to coach in an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic. In reality, the University of Kentucky withdrew its involvement and association with this event due to a conflict with member mandated NCAA bylaws. These bylaws prohibit member schools from participating in events that pay former players and raise funds to benefit teams that include prospective student-athletes.
To me, that statement says nothing. It says that people “incorrectly assumed” the NCAA wouldn’t let Joe B Hall coach, but instead “in reality”, UK “withdrew its involvement” in the game. What does that even mean exactly? Did UK “withdrawing” mean that Hall couldn’t coach? I am not sure how the second sentence has anything to do with the first. My guess is that certain aspects of the game had to be changed in order for it to continue, and one of those aspects was the participation of former players as coaches and honorees. But the NCAA statement really tells us nothing on the matter.
4. In the end, none of this really matters:
The reporter types are in a frenzy dissecting the report and looking for blame to be placed, but the reality is that in the pre-internet days none of this would have mattered. At the game on August 15th, the same result will take place. Former UK players will play and Joe B Hall will coach. And that will be awesome.
5. Something good did come of all this
Even though this was silly and somewhat unnecessary, good came of it as well. Joe B Hall got some well-deserved attention and love by the UK fanbase. An 82 year old man who has been out of the spotlight for a long time, had hundreds of young UK fans, most of whom weren’t born when he coached, tweeting #FreeJoeB and repeating his name. National figures saluted him and people everywhere rallied behind him. And at the game, he will get a loud standing ovation that will top anyone else involved. If that is not a positive light to come out of this whole foolishness, then I don’t know what is.