I find that I agree with Coach Calipari

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Mike's Minute

By Mike Aldridge

Often I am told on the street, at Biancke’s, and other places that people find that they agree with what I may have written or said on the radio and that the fact that they agreed with me frightened them a bit.  
I guess I understand, although what I write or say makes perfect sense to me so it still baffles me somewhat that people may not agree with me.  
Anyway, on Thursday morning when I was traveling to Crofton, Ky., and listening to Coach Calipari, I found myself agreeing with him which surprised me some though I wasn’t frightened.  
I am sure that all of you know where Crofton is so I won’t bother with that, but it was a good long trip so I was able to hear the coach as he made guest appearances on two ESPN programs.
The University of Kentucky mentor was lamenting some of the more archaic and ridiculous rules passed down by the NCAA and some solutions to make the major college sports more reasonable for the student athlete and their families.   
Much of the talk about the plight of college athletes came to focus after Shabazz Napier of UConn said on national television that he went to bed hungry some nights.  
His comments brought about a storm of comments from places other than the regular sports outlets many acting like the fact that the NCAA had ridiculous rules was something new.  
It may have been new to some of the band wagon jumpers, but it has not been a secret at all to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention.  
The NCAA, never one to look for bad publicity, has already changed the rule to allow unlimited meals for college athletes.  
This is much better than having a rule where if the school provided peanut butter for a bagel it was providing extra benefits or if a player took a sandwich to go from the training table he was getting extra benefits, too.
Calipari spoke of a game in the NCAA Tournament when Brandon Knight made the winning basket but his parents were not able to be in Philadelphia to see it because they could not afford to attend.  
This, I agree, is ridiculous when the NCAA is making billions on the tournament that parents of players can not be allowed to attend with help if necessary.  
Calipari had a suggestion to pay for the parents trips without affecting the bottom line for the NCAA.  
His idea, which again I liked, was for the hoard of media people who attend the games to pay their own way instead of getting free tickets.  He also proposed that these same media folks be served popcorn and diet coke instead of full meals to save money to be used for the transportation of the parents.
However it is accomplished, parents of the players should be able to attend the tournament.  
Of course, this cannot be written without saying that some of the schools are to blame for some of the precautions taken by the NCAA.  
The old saying “Give them an inch and they will take a mile” has never been proven more than by what some of the NCAA member institutions have done over the years.  
I am not naming any names here but all of us could fill in a blank or two and I am not talking about excess telephone use but money, cars, and more.    
I am against paying the players because that would make life really difficult for the Eastern Kentucky’s and Morehead State’s of the world.  
Gender equity would also come to play in paying players, which would make many already struggling athletic departments cut out some sports to be able to finance the others. But something needs to be done to level the playing field between what the big name coaches, the schools and the NCAA makes and the hardship on some of the players and many of the parents.