Calipari advocates for August practice period


John Calipari has another big idea.

The Kentucky coach, known nearly as well for his outside-the-box thinking as his recruiting prowess and 2012 national championship, is advocating for a summer period of college basketball akin to what college football does in spring.

“How about spring football?” Calipari said. “You like spring football? Something different, right? Spring football. Why don’t we have August basketball for the NCAA? There’s nothing going on in August.”

Calipari isn’t just looking for extra days of practice, he wants, in Calipari fashion, a spectacle that will put a spotlight on the sport – and his program as one of the sport’s most visible outfits.

“Let’s spend ten days of practice — how about we play against foreign teams on our campuses,” he said. “Do you really want your team to go overseas and play right now? How about we do stuff right here?

“So August, for ten days, becomes NCAA basketball. Instead of having to worry about football ending, we’re going to go before it and start in August. It’s too good of an idea, believe me. Plus it’s mine which means it’ll never happen. It’ll never happen.”

Calipari might be on to something as the August sports schedule is often quite dire, especially in the early and middle part of the month. If programs could secure some high-profile foreign teams – or even high-level scrimmages between programs – it could help drum up some interest before football season gets fully underway. The timing would be interesting, though, as that’s often one of the few periods on the calendar that often allow basketball players to leave campus for a couple weeks.

College hoops needs to expand its profile out of just the post-Super Bowl period of the winter, and Calipari offers an interesting option that’s far less dramatic than some proposals, like turning the game into a one-semester sport and playing the NCAA tournament in May.

If spring football is the model to base Calipari’s idea off of, it’s intriguing as that’s become it’s own little interesting part of the calendar for football that helps keep interest up throughout the year, even when the season is months away. If hoops could do something similar, it’s certainly something worth exploring, whether it ultimately takes the form Calipari is advocating or something else.