I may or may not have spent part of my morning defending Kentucky and John Calipari to my dentist (a Tennessee fan) on Facebook. With Kentucky in its fourth Final Four in five years, the bitter and lazy criticism of Cal still gets to me, although the Cats’ success this season has quieted it some, forcing it back under the bridge where it feeds on Jeff Goodman tweets and prays for some sign of weakness.
I should be above this stuff by now, especially this week. As Cal would say, I need to stop letting the haters steal my joy. But it’s a Monday morning, and thankfully, Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce gave me some good ammunition to fire back with:
“It has been John Calipari’s March Madness, for good or ill. In the years since he coached UMass to a Final Four appearance that no longer counts in the record books – and since he coached Memphis to a Final Four appearance that no longer counts, either – a lot has changed in college athletics. The NCAA model, under which Calipari’s first two Final Fours had been rendered nonevents, has come under siege from so many angles, and in so many places, that it now functions as little more than an object of ridicule. As that occurred, Calipari has been rehabilitated as the first coach to succeed under what may be the new paradigm of college athletics – a pure business model, an honest transaction between the athletes and the institutions that their efforts enrich. The one-and-done philosophy that has been the source of Calipari’s success at Kentucky now looks less like a completely cynical exercise in brand-building and more like a realistic appraisal of how to operate within an enterprise that is being reformed from the outside in.”
More good stuff where that came from, so good check it out. And don’t fight with your dentist on Facebook.