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John Calipari weighs in on potential changes to transfer rules

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.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

8 Comments for John Calipari weighs in on potential changes to transfer rules



  1. michaelb
    4:59 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    I see what he’s saying about the buck having to land somewhere within the ranks of cbb. It will work it’s way down the pipeline but theoretically will just improve the overall competitiveness of ncaa as a whole.



  2. Han
    5:03 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    I’m with Cal. The rules that are already part of it (1 time free transfer, can’t do it unless in good academic standing, have to be released by your school, and can’t do it just because getting disciplined; I think you still do it a semester at a time where you don’t transfer in October and start playing at the new school the next day, but rather at the end of December) are good. Might still need more tweaking, of course, especially to make sure you can detect and punish the tampering.

    Not so subtle jab by Cal about the toothless enforcement from the NCAA with level 1 violations. We have to recruit against a lot of Power Five and specifically Blue Bloods who have been getting into major trouble and haven’t been punished because they just refuse to let it happen.

    Make the punishment severe – fired coach, recruiting penalties for program that let it happen, and maybe show cause or even scholarship reductions for whoever hires the coach next–punish the staff no matter where they land, not just the players they leave behind who want to play at the school no matter the coach.



  3. Catcasey1
    5:37 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    So can a student athlete just transfer to another school one day and play the next



  4. 72uksprinter
    8:07 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    Call it what it is: conditional free agency.
    As a former jock, I’m for it.
    And for the name and likeness compensation.
    The dilemma is how complicated all this can become, especially when member schools are relying on a corrupt and inept NCAA to manage it.
    I bet Cal would secede from the NC2A if a dozen Power 5s would join him.
    Or? Become a qualified independent team like Notre Dame FB.
    Summary? NCAA sux. Players rock. Cal rules.



  5. grammarpoliceUK
    9:16 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t have a problem with any of this, but one thing is for sure; within 5 years college sports will be unrecognizable from today. A lot of good, but possibly a lot of bad too on the horizon.



  6. BobbyBlue
    9:22 pm February 20, 2020 Permalink

    I have a picture in my mind of the selective enforcement utilized by the corrupt,NCAA for tampering.
    Puke, UNCheats, and the Gayhawks in particular, come to mind.
    Those three will have sanction free protection along with many other cash cows, to assure that the Dance is exciting so Emmert can keep his $4 Mill salary.



  7. Fitz
    8:54 am February 21, 2020 Permalink

    I agree with everything Cal said. I do not see the NCAA firing a head coach for tampering, and there will be lots of that, let alone one from a top tier program. Bring it in. It’s good for UK and the players.



  8. trumpetguy
    3:11 pm February 21, 2020 Permalink

    Wonder how many coaches would have flocked to Murray Ky after Ja’s freshmen year? South Carolina kid ends up at Murray State, becomes an All American after only TWO years in school, #2 pick in NBA draft…….Clemson, So. Car. and every other ACC school would have him (DISCREETLY-wink wink) on speed dial. Be careful what you wish for because this is a disaster waiting to happen.