We’ve known the NCAA is messed up for a while now, but recently, their hypocrisy has gotten so bad that it’s turning the heads of the national news media as well. Slate.com published a piece yesterday about the NCAA’s unjust practices, starting with the “transfer epidemic,” namely how college coaches are blocking athletes from transferring to certain schools.
Think about that: NCAA coaches have the power to block an athlete from getting a scholarship at an entirely different university. As Greg Bishop detailed in a recent New York Times piece, “if a coach does not grant an athlete a release, the player must forfeit any scholarship opportunity, pay his own way to the new university and sit out the next season.” These are the perverted values of the NCAA–a player can lose out on a future scholarship because his ex-coach says, essentially, If I can’t have you, nobody on this list can either. Remind me again what the crisis is supposed to be here?
Slate cites the example of our ole buddy Kevin Stallings blocking Sheldon Jeter from transferring to Pitt, as well as former Wisconsin player Jarrod Uthoff defying Bo Ryan’s rule that he couldn’t transfer to a Big Ten school by foregoing a scholarship so he could enroll at Iowa. What’s even worse is that some college coaches are outraged that players are not only transferring at higher rates, but that they’re finding ways around the NCAA’s rules via special exceptions for players with sick relatives and those who have already graduated and are seeking master’s degrees. The one coach that Slate says “gets it”? John Calipari.
Kentucky’s John Calipari seems alone among his colleagues in recognizing that transfers are not evil. Calipari may profess to hate the one-and-done rule, but he recognizes that he’ll have a new team every year, and that he needs a plan to win in that climate. When forward Kyle Wiltjer recently told Calipari he wanted to explore transferring, the coach didn’t block any schools. Rather, he gave Wiltjer his unconditional support. Sure, Wiltjer is kind of expendable now that Kentucky has a historically great recruiting class coming in. And yes, Calipari has a history of “encouraging” subpar players to leave the Wildcats’ program. But what can I say–if you’re looking for justice and fairness in college sports, this is as good as it gets.
A national news article praising John Calipari (albeit, somewhat backhandedly)? Is that a pig that just flew by my window?
If you enjoy reading article about how messed up the NCAA is, I encourage you to go check out the Slate piece in full: