In the weeks encompassing this NCAA tournament, a tournament in which John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats were crowned National Champions, there has been a whole lot of chatter about why John Calipari is bad for college basketball.
He’s the king of the one-and-done epidemic. He makes a mockery of higher education. His players don’t stick around. The critics go on and on.
And you know what? His critics can shove it, championship or no championship, for Coach Cal. Because at the end of the day, John Calipari is doing exactly what a leader at a higher education institution is supposed to do: he’s preparing his students for their careers and their lives after college. Isn’t that was college is all about?
Think about it: you go to college to prepare yourself for your career, no matter what that may be. You go to class and learn about life to get on the track for what will follow. For most students, it’s a profession outside the sports realm. For the high-level athletes, it’s often to become a pro. Name a coach in America that prepares his players for the professional ranks better than John Calipari. You can’t. Sure, there are some that do just as good of a job, but none better. Players go to Kentucky, or UMass, or Memphis to play under Coach Cal because they know he’ll prepare them, sometimes in as little as one year, for life after college, for life in the NBA, for life as a man. And really, isn’t that was college is all about?
For the individuals that attend a school, yes, it is. But sadly, this world is always about the almighty dollar, and that’s the real reason people selfishly claim Cal is bad for the game. Since his best players don’t stick around, the NCAA can’t profit off their talents for as long as they used to, and likewise, college fans can’t tune in seeing these ready-made players wearing their alma mater’s colors. They’re all thinking about what’s best for college basketball the cash cow, not college basketball players themselves.
Say what you will about Coach Cal – that he’s a slimeball who has left schools to clean up messes that occurred on his watch, that he’s led to the deterioration of the college game, etc. But don’t tell me he’s bad for college basketball or college basketball players. At the end of the day, he’s looking out for his players way more than any of the rest of us are, whether you like it or not.