UK’s New Scheduling Philosophy Under Heavy Fire
It was the shot heard round the world. No, not THAT shot. The one where the basketball programs of Kentucky and Indiana agreed to never again darken each others doors. Although, that decision HAS created something of a verbal revolutionary war.
An organization called the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics has come down hard on the University of Kentucky’s decision to encourage more neutral court sites for non-conference basketball games, calling it an attempt to “professionalize” collegiate sports.
They’ve even gone so far as to urge other NCAA members to not c0mmit to contracts with UK. They believe that a move toward what they call a “professional model” will further denegrate the concept of the “student athlete” and consequently the justification for intercollegiate athletics.
First of all, I don’t agree one bit with ending the UK/IU series. We had finally gotten to a point where both teams were going to be very good, if not great, on a regular basis and they pull the plug.
Coach Tom Crean of Indiana wanted to maintain the rivalry on a home-and-home basis. Coach John Calipari of UK wanted the series to go to neutral sites–Indianapolis and Louisville–even going so far as to say the ‘Cats would be willing to play in Indy EVERY year.
Of course, the text to between THOSE lines is the fact that Indianapolis is highly fertile recruiting ground and allowing the nation’s greatest college basketball recruiter to run amok ON it would be nightmarish for opponents. And Crean knows that. Because he knows Coach Cal. They’re old friends.
Would I like to see home-and-home series continue? Of course. But I don’t see how playing on neutral sites suddenly turns UK–or Duke or Syracuse (teams that have been doing this sort of thing for years)–into a professional team. It’s just another instance of Coach Cal getting under someone’s skin.