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Calipari wants to change college basketball's calendar. USATSI

John Calipari's brain never rests. The Kentucky coach is always trying to think of ways to keep his program a nationally relevant sports topic and to figure out how he can't tweak the system to better benefit UK. It's smart thinking, and because of this, Calipari and Kentucky wind up in the news more than any college basketball program in the country -- maybe any college program.

He's got a new pitch, and it's pretty interesting. Calipari was asked at a luncheon on Tuesday what he would do to change college basketball if he was the commissioner of the sport. (Note: college sports do not have commissioners, though the idea has gained traction in recent years.)

Calipari's response was something I hadn't heard before. He wants to mimic college football's model of spring practice, only adopting college hoops in August. Currently, the NCAA allows programs to take an overseas trip once every four years. It's a good program and good practice, but this means that schools are on cycles wherein they can have 10 days of practice prior to those trips, but those 10 days are quadrennial.

So why not allow August basketball to keep teams practicing, all 351 of them, and balance the field on a year-by-year basis? Calipari's argument is: August is the slowest month on the sports calendar, so why not give college hoops a chance to get some more pub and good run by holding exhibitions against teams that are geographically close -- or have foreign teams come in and play, say, Kentucky at Rupp Arena?

Like that wouldn't be a success? For many programs, of course it would.

"Spring football," Calipari said. "Why don't we have August basketball for the NCAA? There's nothing going on in August. Let's spend ten days of practice - how about we play against foreign teams on our campuses? 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."

Here's Calipari's quote in aural context. Audio via Kentucky Sports Radio:

Calipari's pitch is something the NCAA should consider. There's an argument against players spending too much time playing basketball, that these guys are already around their coaches too much. But you could give and take here. If August basketball becomes sanctioned, you could cut down on when practices can start -- and go back to the day that, for so many years, was college hoops' start date: Oct. 15.

That's really the perfect solution, isn't it? Give college basketball a nice boost and some real reasons for publicity in August. You can split up two 10-day periods (teams would have the choice of when they wanted to play, early or mid-August), and then college basketball's preseason officially can begin on Oct. 15.

These days, teams are allowed to start practicing 40 days before their first scheduled game of the season. But they still are allowed 30 days total of practice. So there's still some hitch-and-go. Why not bring back Oct. 15 as a "Midnight Madness" type of event around the country, one huge night to kick off the preseason, and in the process you give August basketball a boost that serves as an entree to what's to come? Benefits all around. Having Oct. 15 as the official start date also allows the sport to have a moment amid the frenzy of football in October.

Schools started practicing last weekend. Did you notice? Only the diehards, really. Most sports fans don't realize college basketball teams have already begun formally practicing. Some probably think it's still mid-October when things get going.

Calipari's idea here is sensible and doable. We sometimes get caught up in the cycle of the calendar and a routine and how things are done, but there's nothing prohibiting the NCAA and its member schools from taking a moment to think and debate about how college basketball could be better served. You could have Kentucky playing Western Kentucky in a scrimmage. Arizona playing UNLV. Florida playing Florida State, etc.

Foreign tours shouldn't necessarily disappear, either. Schools can and should still have the once-every-four-years option, but now you'll have every school able to recruit and practice on similar schedules. Calipari half-jokingly said the idea would never fly because he came up with it. I'm not convinced of that. If the right people look at this, it could be something college basketball is willing to adopt a few years down the road.