Updated: Sep 14
John Calipari was asked last Tuesday on the status of the NIL within the Men's basketball program, and how things might have changed given that they've had more time to learn and experiment with it over the last few months.
Cal goes on a near ten minute rant, breaking down where the program stands, and how he'd like to see it continue moving going forward.
(Quotes of the video are below)
Calipari: First of all, let me say this. Players are not going to come here because of name, image and likeness. They're not. They're going to come here because of between the white lines this culture and the brand that we built in basketball, the national-ness, all that goes along with it, the teaching, what happens. How about this? The result of coming here. That's why they'll come here, not name, image and likeness.
But let me say this to you: It is a reason they'll go somewhere else if you're not doing it right, and they will do it. Everybody player that we brought on this campus and we're talking about recruiting, they wanted to know, their families especially, what are you doing with name, image and likeness? How are you trying to help, and how are you trying to protect? Every kid.
Let me say this: When they came out with the 3-point line, some of you – Jerry (Tipton), you were probably 60 then – when they came out with the 3-point line, everybody said, “It will be the end of college basketball. I won't even want to watch it.” What did they say with one-and-done? “The end of basketball. It will never be the same.” Had coaches say, “I'll never do it.” They did it the next year. It didn't hurt the game. It only made the game better.
I'm telling you, we've been three months now. “It's ending the sport as we know it!” It hasn't and it won't if we do it right. We have to, as we do this--my mindset, I want us to be the gold standard. Do you know how many coaches are calling me, “What are you guys doing?” Because they think that's what we are because they know we have the best fans in the country. They're most engaged and raving fans. They also know our television ratings outdo 90% of the NBA teams.
They know all this. “What are you guys doing? How are you doing this?” My belief is, again, because of all that, let's be the gold standard. That means let's teach and educate.
I want you all to hear this: It's not inducement if they're already on your campus. That's not inducement. They're here. What we do with them now that they're on campus to educate and protect, they need to have someone look at a contract to know what they're signing. Not that I saw it. It's OK, go.
I'll give you an example: A football player signs a three-year deal and he gets $300,000 a year for signatures. What's the difference between that and a football or basketball player doing it? And I'm going to ask. Who should I ask? I'll ask Kyle. He's the smartest guy here. Kyle, what's the difference between that and a basketball player signing the same contract?
Reporter responds, "Nothing?"
Calipari: "Yeah, there is. I knew you're not very smart. Is anybody smarter?"
Another reporter: "Basketball players won't be here for three years."
Calipari: "Hey, who was that?"
Eric Lindsey: "John."
Calipari: "Jon Hale, wow! He's going to be in college three years. He's not signing away his rookie year, which may be Rookie of the Year, and he's signing everything away for that. How about you make sure these kids know everything is open-ended and there's a time frame."
In other words, if you want to do something with somebody with a shirt company, do it with five shirt companies. Don't be locked into one. Don't be locked into a time frame. Educate.
You ready? They're going to learn about this guy, and they're going to not like him. If YOU like this guy, I need you to raise your hand. Mr. FICA. Do you know Mr. FICA? Oh, Mr. FICA is relentless. Mr. FICA just keeps coming. Do you understand they've got to have a tax account? There's stuff we can teach and be a part of. How about we let the business school get involved? How about a tax on how can the guys engage with the fans?
Here's what I say: If this works for us, do you know what it's going to do engaging our fans? They're going to be even more engaged. And the players are going to figure out, if we want do well at this, we've got to be engaged. How about what they've already learned? They come to us and say they want to give 10% back to charity. If anybody wants to do business with us, we want to give 10% to charity in our name.
How about this? If a business wants to come and talk to us, let them talk to all of us. We can't do it as a group, but he can talk to all of us and do individual contracts with everybody. Maybe someone makes a little more, maybe they don't, they all get the same.
But they're doing stuff like that. That's bringing us together, not separating us. And I'll say this: It is not taking away from another sport. The stronger men's basketball is at this university, the better it is for every other sports team, and we get it. I understand the importance of this being good at what we do.
And lastly, the executive order was huge for us. Don't let anybody tell you it didn't matter. It was huge for us. Every other program in the SEC had a state law except us. We had nothing. Well, you could do anything. What if they restricted everything? So, we needed an executive order, and thanks to our governor we got one.
Who followed it up? What two states said, “They're right. We'd better do what they did.” Ohio and North Carolina, which even showed that, yeah, we did the right thing. They followed us because they didn't have a state law.
Now a state law. We need a state law, but it needs to be nimble and flexible. It cannot be restrictive. We don't know where this is all going. A year from now, there may be a lot of changes.
Let me say why a state law is important. I've been wrong before. When was it? I think it was 1978. I don't feel there's going to be a federal law for three or four years. I've been wrong before, but let me tell you why: Unless there's chaos, unless there's something that makes them act, they're not acting.
Now, we can all talk and have meetings and this guy saying the right thing, they're not going to act unless there's chaos and something happens. I don't see that going. So, we need a state law.
This summer I talked to (Kentucky House of Representatives) Leader (David) Osborne. I talked to Senate President (Robert) Stivers, and they get it. They want to help. We need a state law that's flexible, that we can move when we need to because there's going to be 50 state laws. California just did another law that moved their program NIL to this year because they weren't supposed to start until '22, but it took them seven months to get it. That's why I go back to flexible, being able to move.
I've got to throw a shoutout to Senator Stivers. I was with Dr. (Lee T.) Todd, and we were talking about the building on our campus, and he said we could not bond anything above $600,000 until Senator Stivers took over, opened that up for all the universities to be able to bond, to build, and he was the one that did it. Hat's off to him.
Now I'm looking at this saying we've got to be real flexible and nimble, whatever we put together. I can't tell you how it's going to affect volleyball or the rifle team or track. I can tell you how it can affect men's basketball. Here it's kind of important that we get that right, and I know they will. I'm pretty confident in both Speaker Osborne and Senator Stivers that they're going to get this thing right and make it flexible. I would rather fail fast than be in the caboose. We don't know what's going on, but let's not be in the caboose now. We're going to fail some. We're going to have to change. There's going to be things we try that aren't going to work, but there's going to be things going on six months from now that works now that we all say, well, that's something great. It helps the kids. It helps the programs. We don't want to be too locked in.