On Tuesday, the NCAA announced it is considering changing its rules to allow all Division I athletes to transfer once without having to sit out for a season. The news comes one day after the ACC became the second Power 5 conference to support the one-time transfer rule change, joining the Big Ten.
On his call-in show last night, John Calipari said he is in favor of the proposal, as long as the NCAA cracks down on any corruption that could arise.
“That doesn’t bother me. The thing that the NCAA would have to be able to do is to make sure they have rules in place for tampering and that people get fired. Not a penalty. If your program is found to do this, you as a head coach will be fired. Don’t tamper.
“But, on the other side of it is, if a kid picked the wrong school or the coach made a mistake in recruiting, why shouldn’t the kid leave? It’s not about you or the program or embarrassment; the kid should go one time. What you don’t want is because of a kid the first time they’re coached aggressively or the first time they’re taken out of the game or the first time someone else plays more than them, that they’re looking to go from one school to the next school to the next school to the next school. We don’t want that; it’s not good for the kids, let alone good for college basketball. It wouldn’t be good for the kids.”
Calipari said the rule change would benefit blueblood programs like Kentucky, but he worries that mid- and lower-major programs will end up getting poached.
“Here’s the problem. There’s an unintended consequence. I’m telling you, from the standpoint of Kentucky, it’s a home run. Because you’re going to have kids from around the country say, ‘I had a good freshman year, I’m going to go there and they’re going to get me right and I can fit in.’ Okay, but what if you’re at a mid-major school and a kid has a heck of a year? And now it’s like a training ground for the Power Five. That’s what it becomes. That’s the unintended consequence.
“That’s why I say I’m okay with it because it’s good for the kids, but I’m also telling you, how do we make sure the kids aren’t tampered with? If you tamper with them, my suggestion is to fire the head coach. Just fire him. You’re out. You can’t just say, ‘We’re going to give you a Level 1 [violation]’ and they say, ‘We’re not accepting that. We’re going to fight it and we’re going to get pro-bono lawyers.’ No. We’re not even doing that. We’re not going through that process. This is, you do that, we’re firing that head coach. It’s the only way you can protect mid-major, lower-major schools. It’s the only way you can protect them because again, it’ll be, ‘I can’t get a kid, I’m going to lose kids to this and this, but what I’ll do is wait to see which kids in mid-major are playing well and I’ll go poach those kids.’ It’s not good for the game, it’s not good for our profession but I think kids should have the freedom to move. We’ve just got to know how we’re going to protect it.”
The proposal will be presented to the Division I Council in late April, and if approved, will go into effect for the 2020-21 academic year.