[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Not the same Mike Bowen, but I’d like to imagine this is what he looks like.
While perusing the internet for any and all Kentucky news, I came upon an interesting nugget posted in a message board. Apparently, a ton of UK fans emailed the COIA Offices, which is far from surprising, but according to this poster, they received a mass email from COIA Co-Chairman Mike Bowen that was sent to dozens of these outraged fans. Here’s what they had to say for themselves:
Lady and Gentlemen,
Despite the obscene, ignorant and totally despicable comments we’ve received from many of you, I will respond in an attempt to set the record straight.
COIA has never, as a matter of policy, commented on the things that individual universities, or coaches, do whether we agree with them or not. That is not our thrust. We decided to comment on Coach Calipari’s pronouncement only because it has far broader implications for the integrity of the student-athlete idea in intercollegiate athletics. What he’s suggesting is that his non-traditional program is dedicated to bringing in athletes that are, for all intents and purposes, professional with no intention to graduate from the University of Kentucky. The sort of players he referred to will probably need to attend classes to stay eligible their first semester of their freshman year, but, if they intend to turn pro, would have no need to attend classes in the spring because their intention is to leave the university once drafted. Any pretext of such UK (or any other university’s) basketball players as student-athletes is gone it seems. It also seems tragic to us that the NBA Players Association currently controls whether such athletes, who don’t desire to attend a university for an education and would prefer to play professionally, are limited in their ability to do so because the rules that apply to other athletes (i.e., baseball) graduating from high school don’t apply to them.
Again, COIA’s stance is only to defend the integrity of the student-athlete concept. The issue of games at neutral sites is not all that important, other than as a symptom of the “big issue” that we, as representatives of our various member faculties, felt that we have the responsibility to speak out about. As you know, intercollegiate athletics has been descending the slippery slope into a more professional and money driven model for many years now – at the expense of student as athlete principle upon which intercollegiate athletics, and athletics at any high school or grade school, is based. Some of you apparently disagree with this principle, but this is what we believe and are standing up for. In light of this, we see Coach Calipari’s statement to be yet another (as many of you have correctly pointed out, he is not alone in some of his “non-traditional” practices) alarming escalation that will make this situation worse by placing enormous competitive pressure on other universities to adopt similar practices.
In case you quit reading and began writing your hate mail immediately after the first sentence, this e-mail does actually say “COIA has never, as a matter of policy, commented on the things that individual universities, or coaches, do whether we agree with them or not. That is not our thrust. We decided to comment on Coach Calipari’s pronouncement only because it has far broader implications for the integrity of the student-athlete idea in intercollegiate athletics.” So, basically they’re saying that they weren’t singling out Kentucky and Coach Calipari (which they definitely were), they were just citing the most well-known example of what they perceive to be the “slippery slope into a more professional and money-driven model” of college athletics. No comments apparently regarding one of their member schools scheduling what could be the BIGGEST neutral court game in NCAA history the same day that they called for a total boycott of neutral site games.
Get your 2nd round of emails prepared, Nation. Then follow me on Twitter (@WillTottenKSR)
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