Before taking the grand stage at SEC Media Days down in Birmingham, John Calipari took a seat on the Paul Finebaum Show set with fill-in host Tom Hart. One of the topics that came up in their discussion was how Calipari sees the landscape of college basketball in a few years now that California got the ball rolling with its Fair Pay To Play Act. It’s at least the third time Calipari has been asked since the law was passed, and he is still hesitant to go all the way in with his opinion.
However, he did remind Hart and Finebaum listeners, “I’ve been saying for ten years, these players deserve to own their own name and likeness and image. I was the only guy. I wish other people had come in with me because we would be five, eight years ahead of this. Now, they say, ‘California’ — what do I think about the California law? Did you read it? I didn’t read it either. I didn’t read it, I don’t know. But I know there’s a New York law now and there’s a Florida law and Kentucky’s going to do a law. Well guess what? What are the unintended consequences?
“I’ll give you an example,” he continued. “A football player who is an unbelievable quarterback and really a powerful guy, we’re going to pool all the money so every athlete — soccer and volleyball and swimming and golf — everybody gets the same, including that football quarterback. There’s unintended consequences! How do you have a kid go do what he wants, but it doesn’t hurt the athletic department and other programs?”
Calipari predicted there will be forty state laws similar to California’s, and it will eventually go on to Congress.
“Don’t even ask me my opinion. It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m reading the tea leaves again. Have I been wrong doing that?”