Videos by OutKick
While plenty of college basketball fans out there love to hate him, when John Calipari talks, people tend to listen. The Kentucky head coach is hopeful the NCAA listens to his latest criticisms following his team’s win over Bellarmine University on Tuesday.
Despite the Wildcats beating Bellarmine 60-41, Calipari had nothing but high praise for the small Catholic school in Louisville. He’d like to see Bellarmine get into the NCAA Tournament, but there’s one major hurdle in its way: the NCAA.
Bellarmine moved from Division II to Division I before the start of the 2020-21 season. However, NCAA rules call for a four-year process before being allowed to compete in the Division I tournament.
Calipari thinks that rule needs to change.
“What’s disappointing, you know, if they win their league tournament again, they can’t get in. … I’ve said this many, many times. If you do things for the kids, you’re never wrong,” Calipari explained during his postgame presser.
“It’s not right for the kids. They should be able to be in that tournament, if they do what they did. They’re well-coached. They’re great kids. I hope people will reconsider. Change the rule.”
Having a rule in place from keeping college athletes – who are able to get paid now – from competing in their sport’s biggest event makes zero sense. This is the NCAA we’re talking about here, however, nothing it does makes much sense.
As for Bellarmine, the program deserves all the respect in the world. While the Knights may be 2-6 on the year, they’re the most battle-tested team in the country by a wide margin.
Bellarmine began the year with a road win at Louisville and has since played on the road at Clemson, Duke, UCLA, and Kentucky. The Knights have had just one home game all season.