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John Calipari says new transfer rule could result in coaches “handing out business cards in hand shake lines”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Will the NCAA do what many think it might and allow men’s and women’s basketball players along with football players to transfer and not have to sit out a year now like they must do even though volleyball, soccer, softball and other athletes can now transfer without having to sit out?

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops addressed the crowd in Rupp Arena to thunderous applause. (Kentucky Today/Chris Reynolds)

“I’m going to hold that to myself just strictly because there’s so many people working on that right now,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “There’s good arguments both ways and there’s a lot of intelligent people working through that and trying to make those decisions, so I really don’t feel like getting caught one way or the other making a comment on that.”

Another UK coach, John Calipari, didn’t have any problem making comments Monday during the SEC coaches teleconference. He was initially asked about what changes he had seen in college basketball since the FBI investigation into college basketball. However, his answered wandered over to how the possible transfer change would have a bigger impact than anything else.

“It will not hurt Kentucky,” Calipari said about the proposed change. “We will have all kinds of calls (from players) wanting to join our program. But what will it do to all the mid-majors, low majors or even the bottom half of Power-Five schools.”

Calipari explained mid and low  majors would have to debate whether to recruit junior college or take grad transfers to avoid losing them to transfer rather than signing high school players that might improve and then transfer to a bigger school where they could play immediately.

“Do we have coaches tampering with other programs? If you don’t fire coaches for tampering, and I don’t know if they (the NCAA) are capable (of that),” Calipari said.

Now came my favorite quote from Calipari’s 10 minutes on the teleconference where he only briefly touched on Ashton Hagans’ situation — and was not even asked about it until midway of his allotted time.

“We are going to be handing out business cards (to opposing players) in hand shake lines when the game ends,” Calipari said.

The Kentucky coach said he understands there are situations where a player and school both might decide a transfer would be best. He wonders what other reasons should be valid for a transfer and immediate eligibility.

“Because they do it in track or gymnastics, should we do it for men’s basketball and football,” Calipari said.

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as http://www.yoursportsedge.com/, and http://www.cameronmillsradio.com/. Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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