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Report: Kentucky HC John Calipari to Donate $1M Received from Facebook Series

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2019

Kentucky head coach John Calipari addresses the media on his back porch after watching the NCAA college basketball selection show at his home in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, March 17, 2019. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
James Crisp/Associated Press

Kentucky head men's basketball coach John Calipari is set to donate $1 million he received as part of a Facebook Watch series last year.

According to Tom Schad and Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, Calipari was paid $1 million for access to his team during the filming of Inside the Madness: Kentucky Basketball. Rather than pocketing the money, Calipari intends to put it toward several different charities.

The coach discussed his decision in the following statement provided to USA Today

"In a perfect world, some of the money we made from the Facebook series would have been distributed to our players. 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."

Of the $1 million, Calipari said more than $600,000 will be donated to nonprofit organizations, including the Jimmy V Foundation. Also, $141,000 was used for debt relief for 19 students in Kentucky's College of Education and another $100,000 went toward "an educational fund that will distribute money to relieve college debts of staff, managers and former players who have made a difference in our programs at Massachusetts, Memphis and Kentucky over the years."

Calipari is in the midst of his 10th season at Kentucky after previous stints at Massachusetts and Memphis.

Per USA Today, Calipari is by far the highest-paid coach in college basketball with total earnings of over $9.2 million this season. The next closest is Duke's Mike Krzyzewski at just over $7 million.

Kentucky deputy athletic director DeWayne Peevy told Schad and Berkowitz that Kentucky initially turned down the docuseries, which was originally supposed to air on Showtime.

Peevy said the school later agreed to be part of the series when it moved to Facebook: "We felt like we were getting a lot of stuff about people being disconnected from our team because of the changeover in roster. So really we thought it was a vehicle for people to be able to get to know our kids."

The series followed a Kentucky team that was seeded fifth in the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet 16 before it fell to Kansas State.

This year, the Wildcats are a No. 2 seed and will face No. 15 Abilene Christian in the opening round. Per Bovada, Kentucky is tied with Michigan State as the fifth choice to win the NCAA tournament at +1200 (12-1) behind only Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia and North Carolina.