John Calipari compares the NCAA to crumbling Soviet Union

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Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

To be honest, Kentucky winning the National Title over UConn would have been perfect for a couple of reasons. First, winning title number nine would be amazing. And secondly, the forced interaction and niceness between John Calipari and NCAA head Mark Emmert would have been priceless. In the end, Shabazz Napier got his turn to blast the NCAA in a public forum, but Cal and Emmert would have been so good.

As it turn out, Calipari still has words for the NCAA and they will be prominent in his upcoming book. In it, Cal compares the NCAA to the crumbling Soviet Union.


“The situation reminds me a little of the Soviet Union in its last years,” Calipari writes in a forthcoming book. “It was still powerful. It could still hurt you. But you could see it crumbling, and it was just a matter of time before it either changed or ceased to exist.”

Calipari, whose Kentucky team lost to Connecticut in college basketball’s national-championship game Monday night, is the latest prominent figure to join the chorus of critics who argue that the NCAA takes unfair advantage of athletes. The organization is currently facing a possible trial in June in a case regarding athlete compensation. Earlier this month, a National Labor Relations Board ruling designated Northwestern’s scholarship football players as employees and awarded them the right to unionize.

Calipari’s book, “Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out” (Penguin Press) will be published on April 15. In it, Calipari—a frequent critic of the NCAA who has had previous wins vacated for player-eligibility violations—outlines a 13-point plan for improving the experience of big-time college athletes in a chapter called “At War? Common Sense Versus the NCAA.” Calipari accuses the NCAA of selectively enforcing its own rules and hints at a future when college sports are governed by “super-conferences” instead of the NCAA. “I believe the tide is turning,” he writes. “The NCAA will soon have to reform itself or it will not remain the dominant force in college athletics.”

In a news conference Sunday, NCAA president Mark Emmert said he agreed his organization needed to change and said he was encouraged by some recent initiatives meant to increase athlete rights and include them in the NCAA’s legislative process. “There are things that need to get fixed,” he said. But Emmert shot down many of the most radical ideas—including players forming unions.


Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari got a boat load of support on Twitter last night from Peter Vecsey. Vecsey, who can best be described as a NBA expert, went on a Twitter rant of sorts on Calipari late last night when he shot down the rumors of Cal to the Lakers and also educated the haters on Calipari’s NCAA history. Here is a sampling of Vecsey’s tweets.





There is plenty more from last night, so check out Vecsey’s Twitter feed.

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, there is no new news on the NBA decisions of Kentucky’s players. A lot of the players have stated on Twitter that they are headed home and the consensus is that some final decisions will be made soon. While I think that Julius Randle is a sure thing to go, it appears that he is at least giving it some serious thought. In the end, the lure of being a top five pick will be too high.

It appears that the Harrison twins are the real Wildcards in this scenario as Chad Ford seems to think they have wanted to leave Kentucky all year, but their draft stock may be holding them back.

“Julius Randle and James Young are, for sure, gone. I would say Willie Cauley-Stein too, but his comments the other day indicated he might not be a sure thing to leave. The Harrison twins have wanted to leave all year, according to multiple sources around the twins, but their draft stock made them iffy first-rounders. While they improved their stock, I’m not sure it’s to the point that they are clear first-rounders. Andrew probably has the most claim, but he’s not a lock. Another year at Kentucky would help. Dakari Johnson would be a bubble first- rounder as well. Ditto for Poythress. I think there’s a chance all of them are gone. There are certainly rumblings that direction. But the only three that really make sense right now are Randle, Young and Cauley-Stein.”

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