College basketball analyst Billy Packer might be a fan of the way Kentucky coach John Calipari coaches his teams, but he's not a fan of some of the extracurricular activities that have surrounded Calipari's programs during his years as head coach.
Most recently, on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," Packer took exception with Calipari allowing New Jersey Nets part-owner and rapper Jay-Z to visit the Kentucky locker room after the Wildcats secured a trip to the Final Four. The visit is currently the subject of an investigation by the NBA.
"Obviously, rules are made to be adhered to, both from the NBA's standpoint and the NCAA's standpoint," Packer told Hunt. "The person that I would fault right there is the coach, and in this particular case, John Calipari. You control your locker room, and therefore you know who comes in and who doesn't come in. Without question, that is something that never should have happened."
This is the third team Calipari has taken to the Final Four. He also coached Massachusetts and Memphis into the Final Four, but both of those teams came under scrutiny by the NCAA rules infractions committee and the Final Four trips were vacated. Hunt asked Packer if he thought Kentucky might be headed down the same path.
Packer defended Calipari, but didn't exactly exonerate him from any possible allegations at Kentucky. However, he did champion Calipari for working the NCAA's one-and-done system to his advantage.
Here's part of Packer's transcript:
"Well, so far there have been no allegations on this particular team. And in the case of both Massachusetts and in Memphis, John walked away from that and the fact that he was not implicated in either one of those decisions by the NCAA. So until proven guilty, I'd give a guy an opportunity.
But, you know, you walk on a path like that, and it's something you'd better be very careful of. John has developed better than any coach in the United States the one-and-done situation to his advantage. I think other guys will try to emulate him. He's in a place at Kentucky right now -- as you probably realized, he's recruited four kids next year that are four of the premier players in high school.
So, you know, he's not worried about a guy coming and leaving after one year. He's merely reloading. Now, whether or not that holds up in regard to the University of Kentucky's academic situation, that remains to be seen."
- Billy Packer