December 18, 2009
When Bob Knight gets an open microphone for 90 minutes something controversial is bound to come out. Thursday night, at a fundraiser for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, didn't disappoint. In the midst of a recollection of his fondest days in Bloomington, the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history took a shot at Kentucky's John Calipari, asking why the twice-sanctioned coach is still allowed on the sidelines.
“We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching,” he said. “You see we’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
Though his ultimate conclusion that Calipari shouldn't be coaching is a bit harsh, Knight is on point with his criticisms. (Even if its more a knock on the NCAA than on Calipari himself). The hypocrisy of the NCAA to allow guys like John Calipari to abandon schools after leaving them crippled with scandal, to cash $4 million paychecks when their players get nothing and to freely transfer without having to sit out a year is a joke.
Since Billy Packer was unjustly run out to pasture by CBS, Knight has become the most refreshing television personality in college basketball (which is no surprise seeing as how he had been the most refreshing coaching personality for three decades). His lack of diplomacy and complete disinterest in sucking up or playing nice makes for great television. He says what he thinks.
Though it's highly unlikely that Knight's programs were completelyclean (the odds that no player ever got some pocket change from a booster or some back-room incentives to come to the school are slim), he also wouldn't have allowed someone like Worldwide Wes(a notorious NCAA power broker) to become associated with his university.
John Calipari is far from perfect, but blaming him for the NCAA's faults is like blaming rum runners for taking advantage of Prohibition. The system is flawed and until it's fixed, it's going to be exploited.