Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and Kentucky head coach John Calipari both angrily disputed claims today in an NCAA ad running during the NCAA Tournament claiming that most "student-athletes" … "go pro in something other than sports."
"That is an outright lie, at least when it comes to my program," said Calipari at press conference. "I don't want the heads of my potential recruits being filled with lies. I fully intend on making them professional basketball players. In fact, if they do go pro in something other than sports, I feel like I've been a failure. That is my promise to them. And you can quote me on that. In fact, please do."
Boeheim echoed Calipari's comments in a separate press conference.
"To be honest, there's nothing I like about that ad," said the longtime Syracuse coach. "Why are we telling kids to pursue something other than their dreams? Do you think I have any players on this team who want to be chemists? No. At least I better not. I want them focusing on basketball, not … whatever the hell they do in chemistry. Chemicals or something. I don't know."
Calipari said that he even resents the term "student-athletes" being "thrown around so cavalierly" in the ad.
"My players are here at Kentucky to play basketball," he said. "Not be students. If all goes according to plan, they'll be out of there in one year without learning anything off the court. Stop trying to call my players something they're not."
The NCAA has said it will run the commercial for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament, but will scroll "Syracuse and Kentucky are against the message of this ad and want you to know that most of their basketball players go pro in basketball" at the bottom of the screen.