Short term headlines, long term benefits

Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats yells to his team during the NCAA Tournament second round game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Kentucky fell to Indiana 73-67. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Ever since John Calipari was named head coach at UK, the Cats have established a semi-permanent spot in the headlines being in the forefront of most issues pertaining to college basketball. Wednesday afternoon was no different when he tweeted that every eligible player on UK’s roster will submit their name for the draft.

Following the 2009-2010 season, Calipari’s first at UK, the Cats had a record five players drafted in the first round, a feat that he proclaimed was the greatest in the program’s history. That team was a pioneer for the one-and-done era, a revolution that UK would go on to validate by winning a national championship by a freshman-led team in 2012.

This latest move by Calipari and the Cats represents the next step for college basketball. A new rule passed by the NCAA now allows college athletes to submit their names into the draft a total of three times while also giving them the option to change their minds and return to school within a ten-day period after the NBA Draft Combine, making the deadline May 25 this year.

Calipari is making sure all of his players take advantage of the new rule, even the walk-ons.

This move should not be surprising, as Calipari has always been a big advocate for helping the players, even going as far as to write a book on his “Players First” mentality.

“Met with our team today. Told them that during the season it’s about the team and sacrificing for each other – which they did this year,” Calipari said on Twitter. “When the season’s over, it’s about each individual player and what’s right for them and their families.”

He declared the rule change a “win-win for student athletes,” but it will also help vastly improve the college landscape by preventing players from leaving early from school only to end up in the NBA’s Developmental League.

Players will be able to put their name out and return to school if they do not receive the kind of feedback they were expecting, or even if they don’t receive an invitation to the draft. This new rule will likely result in more players staying in school, which will ultimately be better for the NCAA and NBA as far as quality of play is concerned.

The move made by Calipari may be making headlines now, but expect to see some other schools take this approach. The new rule change offers up a situation that can greatly benefit the student athlete while seemingly offering nothing to lose.