Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Kentucky Way

It may seem like a good problem to have. Too many elite recruits coming in for the number of spots available on the roster.

However, there is the sticky matter of principles. Who stays and who goes? What is the university's set of guidelines for making these kinds of decisions?

Mark Richt talks about "the Georgia way," and it entails everything the school stands for, and all of the corresponding expectations the school has of its student athletes.

UGA basketball fell short a few years ago when we neglected the Georgia way in a misguided attempt to improve the team as quickly as possible.

Is there a "Kentucky way?" If so, John Calipari might be trampling all over it.

I know. UK fans will say it's jealousy, and they will bask in the light of their run of recruiting good fortune. They will look forward to world domination.

Call it sour grapes or whatever you like. I'm still stunned by Calipari's actions and the reasons he states for taking them.

Calipari says he has talked to three current players and let them know that they will not have a place with the team for next year. At the same time, Calipari also remarks that he will not make any final decision on the roster until Jodie Meeks decides in mid-June whether or not to return.

In other words, "If I need you, I want you. If I don't, bye."

Calipari justifies his actions by saying that he would not cut a player unless there were "issues." In so stating, he seems to be claiming the moral high ground as he makes roster decisions.

However, by "issues," Calipari does not mean academics. He doesn't mean moral shortcomings-- not the typical matters that fans and the public understand mean qualification and suitability to represent the school. What Calipari really means by issues is "talent," or lack thereof.

Just call it what it is. Don't have the euphimistic expression of "issues" hanging over a player's career-- especially since Calipari is apparently unbothered by and willing to brush aside some of his recruits' "non-issues."

And then there is the matter of directing players during May and June to find and enroll in a new school by August. A scholarship offer should mean that it carries with it certain ethical commitments from the university-- the university's way.

As it stands, it appears to me that the University of Kentucky is allowing Calipari to set a troubling standard. He is equating the Kentucky way with having NBA talent. That's not good for the student-athlete, and ultimately, it's not even good for the institution.

The way Coach Calipari is treating UK's student-athletes is unseemly. Some of the long-time fans should say something before it's too late.

If your goal is to win at all costs, sometimes you do.


Mr. Sanchez said...

very nice daugman. like it a lot.

although with Meeks as the only real ?, I'd assume only one of the 3 departures has been told the "maybe we'll want you, but maybe not". Then again, you assume one of 3 if the man has principles, and Calipari clearly doesn't.

DaugMan said...

Thanks for the compliment, Mr. Sanchez. I appreciate you reading the Blog and leaving a comment.

My understanding from the article is that UK is 4 scholarships over, if Meeks returns and each incoming recruit qualifies.

If Calipari has talked to three current roster players, that means that these guys are pretty sure they have to go. Another player is "on the bubble," shall we say, depending on if Meeks returns.

All this brings up the question: Have all the UK recruits qualified?

If John Wall does not, for instance, I can see Coach Calipari going to the most talented of the three current players and notwithstanding the previous "issues," saying, "Oh, on second thought, we want you after all. You can stay."

Tim Floyd lost sight of the USC way, and though he was able to bring in some great recruits, things have gotten really ugly.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Actually, looks like Floyd knew the USC way well if you listen to ESPN and yahoo reports on it (Bush, Mike Williams, etc).

And my bad on the Kentucky math. Although certain players--AJ Stewart and the rsFR G Williams among them--had to know this would be coming though. Doesn't make it any more respectable, but it certainly can't be considered unexpected.