I TEXTED John Calipari not long after I heard that Drexel had told Bruiser Flint he was out as coach Monday morning. I asked if he wanted to talk about his longtime friend and colleague. The Kentucky coach got back to me Monday night, but I missed the call. He left a classic 80-second voice mail, an impassioned defense of Flint and a call to get rid of the graduate-transfer rule that allows players who have graduated with eligibility to go to another school without having to sit out a year. Here is a transcript of Calipari's message:
"I'm hoping I get to talk to you, but the biggest issue is that you're talking about a good man who's great for that university, probably never told anyone no if they asked him to do something, loved Drexel, loves Philly, the same thing with the city of Philadelphia and our profession.
"But what happened was, the NCAA has a rule that a kid can leave a program like Drexel after being coached and molded for three years and go to another school without having to sit out. If (Damion) Lee is there, they're in the NCAA Tournament. We're not even talking in these terms, but that happened. It's not about the school (Louisville) that took him. It's about we let it happen.
"Understand, I've been in a dogfight to say this is ridiculous. We took a kid because I saw Duke did it. Even then, I was like it disgusts me that we're doing this. The kid was going to go somewhere, so why don't we take him?
"This is not only hurting there. It's just bad for the business, bad for kids. It's another thing the NCAA will say whatever they want to say. It's not good for the game. It's not good for these kids. And it caught Bru. Thanks.''
- Dick Jerardi