Calipari has elevated his status from basketball coach to a well-known celebrity. He promotes his program more than anybody else in the country. Recently, ESPN featured Calipari and his team on the all access feature, showing the ins and outs of the program.
This is a marketing strategy by Calipari and obviously a beneficial one. The show had opposing coaches frustrated, saying that the show could be seen as an unfair recruiting tool, which is exactly what it is.
Do you think Calipari really did that show to enlighten all basketball fans about Kentucky?
No. He did it because he is a marketer and he knew that it would draw attention and press, which is precisely why big name recruits are drawn to Kentucky. Well that and because they know that Calipari is the best NBA agent they could ask for.
But when you know a coach is all about promoting the program, how do you know what to believe? It’s like listening to any sales person give a spiel on their latest and greatest product and you know they aren’t going to tell you about the imperfections.
But when do you draw the line? When is the celebrity status Calipari and his players on begin to take away from the nature of college athletics and the fan support that revolves solely around the score on the board at the end of the game.
Calipari has made an impact at Kentucky, but he is starting to make a negative one in the NCAA.
The meaning of being a basketball coach has transitioned into being a salesperson. The traditions behind college basketball are being blurred in the race for the most Twitter followers.
And John Calipari is to blame.