In the wake of last weeks FBI’s findings revealing a corruption and bribery scheme that resulted in the arrest of four college basketball assistant coaches, there’s been plenty of discussion about the system in place and how to fix it.
Duke coach of the sport earlier this week, however John Calipari was much more optimistic. The Kentucky coach offered up a solution and tweak to the current infrastructure similar to the baseball model he feels would benefit the sport as a whole.
“Players should be allowed representation just like they have in baseball,” Calipari told FanRag Sports. “They don’t need a new model because there’s already a model in place. That’s what they do in baseball.”
The Department of Justice’s findings last week revealed an elaborate scheme in which college coaches were paid bribe money to push players to financial advisers, and some even went as far as arranging for payments to the families of some recruits in exchange for their commitment to a school.
U.S. Attorney Joon Kim called the scheme part of the “dark underbelly” of college basketball — a world in which under-the-table payments and backdoor deals were seemingly the norm. But in Calipari’s proposition, all those worries would, in theory, be put to rest. If players could benefit off their own likeness, the backdoor dealings would (again, in theory) cease to exist, with the caveat being that the money earned by the players be deferred so as not to tarnish their amateur status.
“Players should be able to earn income because of their name, their signature, and their likeness,” Calipari said. “If a uniform is sold with a player’s name on it, the player should get a percentage on it. If they want to go out and sign autographs, let them sign autographs. The money should be deferred. They should be able to sign a shoe contract too, but the money should be deferred unless it’s used by the parents of the player for transportation or expenses to come and see the kid’s play. They’re not professionals if that happens and it probably eliminates a lot of stuff.”