It was “old folks home” at Rupp Arena on Monday night as several of John Calipari’s former players reunited for the Alumni Basketball game, which raised over a million dollars for charity. A couple of those players, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins had run ins with the law over the summer. Jones was charged with harassment after he was allegedly seen stomping on a homeless person. Liggins faces more serious charges as he was charged with seven felony counts in a domestic abuse case. Liggins’s girlfriend told police that Liggins assaulted her in front of their two-year old.
And of course, this recent flood of questions bring up the question as to whether John Calipari and the University of Kentucky are properly preparing their student athletes for life after their stay in college?
The Kentucky Kernel does not think so and thinks that the school should take steps to prepare these players.
Knowing the style of Calipari’s program, where players are leaving after one or two years, the university and the athletic program should prepare themselves in a better way so that they can better prepare these players for life in the real world, whether it be the NBA or in a less-publicized lifestyle.
Out of those who have been arrested, only Farmer played out his entire four-year eligibility.
The program typically has more than one player leave before their eligibility after each season.
Thus, the athletics department should force the players to take classes or counseling sessions on how to live life in the spotlight properly at the age of 20, or younger.
The tentacles of the basketball program are too far-reaching and too important to the heart and soul of our university for the most well-known representatives of the Kentucky promise to have a Mount Rushmore — of mugshots.
With the large budget and sizeable surplus, the athletics department has a fundamental right and ability to prepare these student athletes immediately for the next level of life, if only because “one-and-done” applies to things other than college basketball.
The editorial is far reaching and also goes on to bring up players like Michael Porter, Richie Farmer, and Rod Strickland as offenders that have “given the statue of Joe B. Hall a Big Blue and Black eye.”
First off, the inclusion of Porter, Farmer, and Strickland are ridiculous. I’m pretty sure that Porter and Farmer did not commit their misdeeds because they were not required to take a class. And Rod Strickland? Strickland got a DUI and later was charged with a suspended license due to a clerical error. And all three of these individuals were grown men when the events occurred.
I admit that Calipari and the University have a responsibility to watch over and do their best to make sure that their charges are safe on campus and in school. And I think John Calipari does a great job instilling value and life lessons to his team and attempts to mold them as much as he humanly can. As of right now, I can only think of one UK athlete in football or basketball that is facing any sort of legal ramification and that may be Ashely Lowery. Kentucky does a great job of recruiting the right mix of athletes and people to make sure that the Lexington Herald Leader is not a police blotter like Urban Meyer’s Florida program was.
But to blame Calipari for the transgressions of Liggins and Jones after they departed Kentucky is kind of stretch. As the article said, Calipari has his charges for a year or two. There is some responsibility that has to occur at home before they even enter college. It’s a far stretch to think that Calipari or any other coach can overcome a lifetime of experiences in just a year or two.
And I’m pretty sure that Terrence Jones knew well before he came to Kentucky that it was wrong to assault a homeless person. Or that Liggins knew that his actions were inherently wrong. Sometimes good people do bad things and sometimes good people overact to situations and do something totally out of character.
That’s human nature. And you can’t blame John Calipari for that.