Calipari Meets With NBPA About Eligibility Changes

Kentucky coach John Calipari met with NBA Players Association representatives last week to explain his ideas for major reforms to the “one-and-done” process and the G League, writes Mac Engel of The Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Calipari advocates a system that would create an easier path for high school players who want to go directly to the pro ranks. He is urging the union to set up a “combine” for high school juniors.

“Kids should be able to go [to the NBA] out of high school,” he said. “That’s not our deal. That’s between the NBA and the Players Association. Don’t put restrictions on kids.”

Calipari sees failure in the current rules, adopted by the NBA and the union in 2007, that stipulate players have to be at least age 19 or a year past graduation to be eligible for the draft. The purpose was to reduce the role of agents, but their reach has become greater than ever.

He envisions a system similar to minor league baseball, with the NBA providing G League players with salaries in the $30K range, along with money for college tuition.

What do we do with these kids now,” Calipari asked. “What do we do if they are not academically ready at all, because they didn’t plan on it. Who wants to take care of those thousands of kids whose family, many times, are dealing with generational poverty and their chance was maybe to get him an education?

“Now, how many kids do you think who went thinking, ‘I’m here one, or two, and done and stayed all four years? It’s been proven by the graduation rates it’s a ton. What’s wrong with that? I don’t care what they do, but let’s not force them to go to the G League. If they choose to do that, that’s fine, but why don’t we make sure if they don’t make it in, they at least have a chance at a guaranteed education.”

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