It’s not a secret that one of the biggest advantages to being a high-major head coach at a program with an unlimited recruiting budget is the amount of money available to spend on private planes.
Over the weekend, Kyle Tucker of the Louisville-Courier Journal was able to get his hands on the receipts from Kentucky’s use of private planes while recruiting, and the numbers are quite large.
John Calipari and football coach Mark Stoops combined to spend about $450,000 on chartered flights during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, with $342,713.91 of that money being used by the basketball team. For comparison’s sake, Mississippi Valley State’s entire men’s basketball budget in 2013-2014 was $525,350, according to BB State.
And it works.
One of the examples that Tucker uses is when Calipari flew from Peach Jam in Augusta, Ga., to Philly for the Reebok Breakout Classic and back to Peach Jam in the same day. Emmanuel Mudiay, who ended up picking SMU over Kentucky, was playing in Philly. Tyus Jones was playing at Peach Jam, but Calipari made it back to Augusta in time to see Tyler Ulis, who ended up being the point guard for Kentucky in the Class of 2014, put 22 points and 17 assists on Jones.
Kentucky is far from the only program that spends six figures on private jets, and John Calipari is far from the only head coach who will pop his head into different events in different parts of the country on the same day.
But still, it must be nice to be the face of Big Blue Nation.