It’s been a little while since we heard from Coach Cal about this offseason’s theme of being a nontraditional program, but he cranked up the buzzword machine this afternoon with a post on CoachCal.com discussing how Kentucky’s history has been filled with nontraditional thinkers. He cites Adolph Rupp’s decision to play teams from outside the region in the 1940s and Joe B. Hall’s role in Wildcat Lodge and Rupp Arena as examples of the tradition of nontraditionalism in UK’s history, and talks about how the current program is continuing that trend. Specifically, he talks about the notion that players who leave early aren’t committed academically:
Being nontraditional doesn’t take away from academics at our school. You have people trying to insinuate that because you only have a player for one or two years that he’s not going to do academic work. That’s just not true.
When we receive our final grade report from this past semester, it looks like we will have close to a 3.2 grade-point average and up to 10 players with a 3.0 GPA.
Why can’t they do both? Why can’t they play in the NBA AND get their college degree? Is it because it goes against the “traditional” way of thinking? Yes, you can chase your dreams and do well academically. We have to accept that.
This is a nontraditional program where a young man can win a national title, finish his academic obligations to himself, his family and the university, and go on to a pro career and come back and finish. No matter what we choose to call it — nontraditional, unconventional or innovative — it’s time we come to grips with the fact that we always have and always will do things differently at the University of Kentucky [emphasis Coach’s, not mine]. Being nontraditional is what this program has been built on and how it separated itself.
Probably the most important part of all this is that according to Cal, the team will be posting an overall GPA in the neighborhood of 3.2, which is pretty impressive considering it came during a semester that included a national championship. This post is as much a statement about the way Kentucky does things as it is a message to the detractors that take shots at the academic commitment of the players that leave early and the program as a whole. Here’s looking at you, Bobby Knight.
Mainly, though, it’s the latest installment in Coach Cal’s summer of nontraditionalism. Stay tuned. I have a feeling there will be more.