With the entire fanbase and much of the college basketball world all in a frenzy over John Calipari's comments this week surrounding Kentucky not wanting to guarantee NIL money to players wanting to transfer or commit to UK, someone with essentially the second most important voice surrounding the name, image, and likeness situation for the University of Kentucky decided to voice his take on the situation, defending Calipari and doubling down on what the program plans to do.
T.J. Beisner, the Director of Player Development and leader in Kentucky's entrance into the NIL era took to Twitter to say a few things on the hot topic.
After a few minutes went by, he had spoke to Calipari about what he put out and decided to add a little more context to through another quote by the head coach himself.
Kentucky is receiving a lot of criticism for falling behind the times with their approach to this as many have called it, and I found myself in the middle of it all. I see why Cal is hesitant on making guarantees to any player because this is Kentucky and it's a privilege to be here, people use to dream of playing here even when there was no pay, as well as, he doesn't want this to become a free agency league for college basketball. I completely understand that and to be honest, I agree with it. But another part of me thinks that this NIL world is overall good for the sport, it's 110% never going away, and Kentucky needs to keep up with it and stay in the forefront of it all even if it means changing your ways for it. Yeah, they're allowing players to make money here, a lot actually, but if every other program is guaranteeing endorsement money before the players arrive to campus then we need to be doing it too. We can offer the most money, that's not the problem, but publicly saying that you don't want to can turn players away who just sit there and read the headlines and continue about their day. These players are without a doubt going to get the deals once they get here anyways, so why not just confirm to them they will before hand? Maybe not make the news public but I'm all for them letting the player and the family of the players know how much their child will make by coming here.
It really shocked me when I first heard his interview with Dan Issel and Mike Pratt which was where the quote surfaced from, but with T.J. putting out the statement further elaborating on it all by him saying, "I’ve pushed for NIL for 10 yrs publicly and no one is more supportive, which is why our players are making more money than anyone, the right way. NIL won’t hurt us and hasn’t for any kid we’ve REALLY wanted. If NCAA or federal government make changes, we’ll adapt and continue to lead," it made things look a lot better than what they did.
Listen, I'm a Calipari homer as much as the next guy. I want him to continue succeeding here and ultimately get back to where he once was. As Joe B. Hall once said, no one was meant to coach this program more than he (Cal) was. I agree. His entire makeup is centered around being at a place like this. He's built for the bright lights and the authority that comes with it. He's also known for being out in front of almost everything that's came into the league over the last few decades - which is a trait that he owes a lot of his success to - and I just hope he doesn't let this next big change push him behind the other powers by being stubborn and not wanting to adapt, especially at a moment when he's fighting for this fanbase's support the most.