The NCAA is legally powerless to control the extravagant salaries being thrown at coaches, President Myles Brand said Thursday. But he nonetheless registered his discomfort with the eight-year, $31.65-million deal Kentucky handed John Calipari this week.
Speaking in Detroit in advance of the NCAA tournament Final Four, Brand said, "You have to ask some very hard questions, whether this is really in tune with the academic values, whether we've reached a point already that these high salaries and packages for coaches has really extended beyond what's expected within the academic community."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"I can tell you they love their basketball in Kentucky," former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "It's something special."
Smith, the outgoing NABC president, said he was happy for Calipari and had no problem with the deal, but he added one qualifier.
"As long as we keep in mind why we're in the business: to help young people, to educate young people, give them [guidance]," he said. "... Some of the most influential people in my life have been coaches [and] teachers. I think that's the impact that coaches have. ... You can't put it in terms of monetary value."
Xavier Henry said he spoke to Calipari shortly before Calipari officially accepted the Kentucky job. "He just told me that he was leaving Memphis and that Kentucky was his dream school," Henry said. "He didn't want me to feel betrayed by him leaving Memphis. Like my dream of going to the NBA, his dream was going to Kentucky. He should follow his dreams, just like I'm following mine. If we cross paths, if I go to Kentucky, then it's still a good thing. If I don't, then I don't, but at least we'll be on the way to our dreams."