Remember “Inside the Madness: Kentucky Basketball,” Facebook’s behind-the-scenes series on last year’s team? Turns out John Calipari made $1 million from it and gave it all to charity.
USA Today discovered the income through its annual survey of college basketball coaches’ salaries, and when they asked Kentucky about it, Cal said he told his players before they voted on whether or not to participate in the series that if they said yes, he’d be donating his profits from it to charity.
“In a perfect world, some of the money we made from the Facebook series would have been distributed to our players,” Calipari said in the statement to USA Today. “Our rules simply won’t allow it. Instead, I’m proud of how they chose to allow themselves to be part of doing something that would make a difference in the lives of so many other people through charitable donations.”
More than $600,000 went to eight nonprofits, including the Jimmy V Foundation and the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County, with an additional $141,000 towards debt relief for 19 students in Kentucky’s College of Education. Cal also placed $100,000 in an educational fund to relieve debts for staff, managers and former players at UMass, Memphis, and Kentucky.
Another interesting note: the producers of “Inside the Madness” initially wanted to air the show on Showtime, but Kentucky declined. They reconsidered closer to the start of the 2017-18 season when it was pitched for Facebook because they thought it could reach more people.
“We felt like we were getting a lot of stuff about people being disconnected from our team because of the changeover in roster,” DeWayne Peevy said. “So really we thought it was a vehicle for people to be able to get to know our kids.”
Reading this story, I was reminded of something Calipari said during his preseason roundtable with reporters last fall.
“Being here, seeing the other side of it, which is, you have what you need, and your focus becomes what you’re doing within the program, or you have more time to be involved in charity work. I’m doing more of that, ten times more than I’ve ever did when I was younger. I would say my wife and I always try to give back and be charitable, but not to the level of what we do here, which means I’m probably spending twice the time doing that than I’ve ever spent in my entire life.”
I like my coach.