John Calipari wants to separate from NCAA if eligibility rules don’t change

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts to a play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas defeated Kentucky 73-60. (Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports)

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari believes current NCAA rules are hurting his program. (Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports)

There may be a reckoning coming for the NCAA and its current membership.

At least, that’s the way Kentucky coach John Calipari sees things. The issues of whether or not to pay student-athletes and whether or not to force them to stay in school have been divisive, to say the least. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, because everyone wants to make money. Currently, the schools and the NCAA are, while the players are not. Thus, players (especially the one-and-done recruits Calipari has become known for) feel motivated to leave in order to maximize their time at the professional level.

It is completely understandable, but not to Coach Cal. Thus, he is the first major college coach to really take a stand against NCAA rules that he feels are hurting his program and the rest of the nation, threatening even to move towards leaving college sports’ current governing body if changes are not made.

He spoke to WKJK in Louisville regarding the one-and-done rule and how against it he is. Fast forward to the 6:20 mark in the video below to hear the full speech, but here’s the pertinent portion, transcribed:

“Can we continue to separate, can we continue to do this with these rules the way they are? I’m the one guy out there saying, ‘We’ve gotta change this somehow. We’ve gotta encourage these kids to stay two years.’ But the NCAA’s gotta do some stuff. And if they don’t do it, we need to separate from them. I’m not afraid to say it. Look, they’ve embarrassed me. I’ve done nothing, so they’re not going to come and show retribution to me and do stuff. I don’t really care. But something’s gotta change with this one-and-done rule. I seem to be the only coach saying anything. You know why? No one wants to see these kids two years here (at Kentucky). They don’t want to see them for two years, so now we’re all good with one year. It’s wrong for high school kids, it’s wrong for college kids, it’s wrong for the NBA, so why won’t we come together and do something about it?”

The first issue, of course, is the fact that the 19-year old age limit is an NBA rule, not an NCAA one. If a player does not want to play college ball at all, he can go to Europe for a year or the NBA Developmental League.

The second knock against Calipari comes when one reads between the lines. Calipari’s talks of helping out the NBA and all of college basketball, even the student-athletes, seem to be a very thinly-veiled drive to retain the nation’s best players for two years, instead of one — imagine holding onto National Player of the Year Anthony Davis for two years. There would not have been an NIT embarrassment if Davis was still suiting up for Big Blue, that’s for sure.

[Related: What are the 2013-14 national championship odds for Cal’s Wildcats?]

Watch the entire video here:

Video courtesy Drew Franklin YouTube account

[H/T: CBS Sports]