In the wake of last week’s Yahoo Sports report about the influence of agents in college basketball, everyone is offering up ideas on how to fix the sport; as usual, John Calipari’s suggestions are the most logical of all. Calipari proposed bringing in the NBA Players Association to manage relations between players and agents.
“I say that we need to work with the [NBA] Players Association who oversee the agents and figure out what do they think the solution is. I think baseball and hockey is a little different than what we deal with, but these kids deserve advisors because they’re moving through this process. But, the way it’s done now, it’s an issue.”
Calipari lobbied for the Players Association to extend loans instead of shoe companies or agents — the center of corruption — even if it means only the most talented players get them.
“I come back to, the Players Association should loan these kids money. Let them take a loan. Let their family get a loan from the Players Association. What’s the problem? For travel to games and the NCAA Tournaments, it’s out. Why? Well, the kid at this school can’t get it. Well, guess what? This isn’t communism. You can’t get a home loan. Guess what, you can’t get it? I don’t know what to tell you. I demand it because he got a home loan. I’m sorry, that’s not how it works in this country. Kids that have pro potential and want to take a loan so their families don’t have to deal with that, why can’t you?”
“I am in the homes of the kids that we’re talking about. They want their own dignity. They don’t want to be beholden to anybody. Think about your own family. Growing up, your parents, there’s pride in, even if there’s nothing here, this is still ours. These kids and their families, they want dignity and they want to do it themselves.”
As Calipari pointed out, that kind of reform won’t happen overnight, but some issues facing the sport are easy fixes, such as finally allowing players to make money off their own likeness.
“I’m counting on they’ll come to their senses. I think these kids should be able to use their likeness, make money from their signatures. It’s their name and likeness. It’s not ours. It’s theirs. They should be able to make money. Maybe the school manages it, maybe the money goes to their parents for travel, eliminates all the — maybe there’s a limit on what they can do, maybe they get it when they leave here. It’s all stuff that can be done easily.”
Of course, that’s way too much logic for an organization mired in dysfunction. Hopefully the time for change is really here.
“The problem with the NCAA, it’s slow moving,” Cal said. “This one doesn’t need to be slow moving.”