Coach Calipari Expands on his ESPNU Comments Regarding Enes Kanter

During ESPNU’s Big Blue Madness coverage last Friday, University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari discussed the Enes Kanter matter with ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes. The following is a transcript of that discussion as well as some expanded thoughts from Coach Calipari.

First of all everybody has to understand, the NCAA is not working against us or Enes, they’re working with us. They very easily could have shut this down and said, ‘We’re not even looking into it.’

Coach Calipari spoke with Jimmy Dykes during Big Blue Madness last Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 (Screen grab only; for video visit ESPN)

But what they know is he was 14, 15 and 16 when he played for that club team. He’s not 22, 23-years-old. He just turned 18. Although each case is unique and is evaluated on its own set of facts, what the NCAA is going to decide is going to affect all foreign players in a similar situation. The current rules make their decision even harder.

An example: A young man in the United States goes to a “prep school” for basketball. His education, tutors and books (computer, phone, etc.) are all paid for the by the school and could cost nearly $50,000 per school year.

In Europe that’s not the case; if the club gives a family expense money to educate their son, the NCAA rules – at this time – state that those expenses can not be used because the club has a professional team; the young man’s age (14 or 15 years old) doesn’t matter.

The question becomes, how does the NCAA judge expenses in each case? A young man living in an expensive city will get significantly more money from the club than one living in a rural area of a poor country. Just like in prep school, these European families have to move their children to the club’s city. Some relocate entirely, but some, like in Enes’ case split their families and have two households.

I love what the NCAA did with Dee Bost (Mississippi State). Dee Bost decided to put his name in the NBA Draft; stayed in the Draft – meaning he was then a professional and could not come back and be an amateur. Yet, they looked at it and said, wait a minute, common sense says, we’re going to let him play, sit him out some games and let him play.

So I think, at the end of the day, the NCAA has been fair. They’ve been more than fair. They’re going to make this decision and we want it to be right because it’s going to affect all foreign players in a similar situation from here on in.