Skip to main content

John Calipari On 'Pay The Players' Debate: 'They Should Be Able To Make Money'

In light of new reports about the FBI's investigation into college basketball, there is renewed support for a pathway towards college players making money. Now, John Calipari is speaking about the issue.

Calipari's Wildcats are not quite as caught up in the current issues as schools like Louisville and Arizona. Kentucky was among the schools with players named in last week's Yahoo! Sports report.

Kevin Knox, UK's leading scorer and rebounder, was one of the current players named in Yahoo's report. He was named in the expense sheet of Christian Dawkins, a runner for now-former NBA agent Andy Miller.

Knox's father denied that he or his son ever met or received anything from Dawkins. Kentucky has cleared him to play, and he did not miss any time due to eligibility concerns.

Recent Wildcats Nerlens Noel and Eldrice "Bam" Adebayo were also featured in the Dawkins documents at the center of the Yahoo piece. Adebayo, who did not sign with Miller, allegedly received a loan of over $36,000, while it lists Noel as having received one of $4,350.

The FBI investigation has further exposed the need for reform within the NCAA. There is renewed debate about whether college player should be paid, and in what form payment should be allowed.

John Calipari has some ideas that he thinks could help solve the issue.

During a Tuesday press conference, Calipari discussed the issues facing college sports. He says that he supports players being allowed to profit off of their own likenesses. From ESPN:

"It's their name and likeness. It's not ours, it's theirs. They should be able to make money," he said. "Maybe the school manages it, maybe the money goes to their parents for travel. And maybe there's a limit on what they can do, and the rest they get when they leave here. It's all stuff that can be done easily.

He also raises the idea of allowing players to have representation while in college. This could also open the door for players with monetary concerns who seem like definitely future pros to take out loans.

"We need to work with the players' association, who oversees the agents, and figure out what do they think the solution is," Calipari said at a news conference. "These kids deserve advisers as they're moving through this process. But the way it's done right now, it's an issue.


"Let them take a loan. Let their family get a loan from the players' association," Calipari said. "What's the problem? For travel to games and the NCAA tournaments. Why? 'Well, the kid at this school can't get it.'"

These aren't brand new ideas for John Calipari, but with the issues facing the NCAA, there does seem to be a new groundswell of support for reforming player compensation, even within the coaching ranks. Calipari has long been more opened minded about this when compared to his peers, but now we even have FBS football coaches supporting the "Pay The Players" movement.

This has been a contentious issue for a while, but it does seem like sweeping changes will come. The question is: in what form?