ESPN radio & television personality, Dan Le Batard is no stranger to tough topics, and this morning’s edition of the ‘Dan Le Batard Show’ was no different.
During his morning rant, Le Batard made it a point to chastise his employer for allowing Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach, John Calipari the use of their platforms for the day. This includes ‘First Take’, opposite Stephen A. Smith, in the midsts of former co-host’s Skip Bayless’ departure, as well as ‘Mike & Mike’ and other shows throughout the day.
Le Batard’s issue stems from the seemingly unfair advantage Coach Cal has at this most important recruiting time.
“This is unseemly,” Le Batard said. “This is ESPN being in on the deal. And there’s no getting around this. I can moralize and gasbag all I want, but this is ESPN in on the deal. A texter writes in, ‘Dan, any thoughts on what ESPN is doing today with Calipari? It comes off like a gross recruiting tool for Kentucky. Calling moms of former players, letting him schmooze live on the air, does ESPN have any obligation to keep clear of this type of thing?’”
“It’s simply not right to give him the entire platform to be out recruiting by himself,” Le Batard said. “It’s not the coaches coming through the carwash. It’s one super famous coach who already has a recruiting advantage using all of our platforms to go into full salesman mode. ESPN is doing something wrong today as part of this transaction, and I’m right in on it.”
ESPN has a history of trying to silence, or quiet down their most outspoken hosts & anchors, so it will be interesting to see if there’s any fallout from Le Batard’s stern comments.
He isn’t wrong though. ESPN is likely binge-watched by thousands of high school athletes, many of whom idolize Coach Cal and the Kentucky program already.
Although this can be viewed as an advantage, I don’t think it’s entirely wrong for the network to have college coaches on. As long as there aren’t any direct pitches to students, an extremely popular coach, going on the worldwide leader to speak facts about his very successful program shouldn’t be banned. Other coaches really should look to attempt to take advantage of these tv spots.
What do you think? Should NCAA coaches be allowed to promote their programs on such a huge platform, or should the NCAA take action to try to level the playing field?
Besides, it’s not like Calipari isn’t boasting a million one-and-dones to already grab the attention of these high school stars.