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Kentucky Basketball

NCAA Approves Blanket Waiver for Non-Coaching Staff Members for 2020-21 Basketball Season

September 9, 2020

It looks as though newly-hired Jai Lucas will have a bit more of a role on UK’s staff after all...for this season, at least. A just approved waiver will allow up to two non-coaching men’s and women’s basketball staff members hired on September 7, 2020, or before (Lucas was hired on August 31st) to participate in managerial duties on the court. Such duties include rebounding, passing to players, setting up drills, etc. On the women’s side, up to two staff members may actually serve as practice players as well. However, while serving as practice players, they may not also engage in coaching activities.

This new waiver, which will only be in place for the 2020-21 season, as of now, was put in place so that teams didn’t have to have additional team managers coming into practice, as to lessen the potential exposure to COVID-19 in the programs. Programs may use these staff members in this role until the conclusion of their 2020-21 season, or until the institutions permit all student managers to attend practice, whichever is earlier.

This waiver allows up to two additional “non-coaching” staff members to participate on the court in practice. This means that both Lucas and Coach John Robic will join Calipari, Tony Barbee, Joel Justis, and newly-hired Bruiser Flint in engaging with players on the court and participating in practice in a way that they would not have been able to until this waiver was granted. For the last 4 seasons, Coach Robic has been in the “Special Assistant to the Head Coach/Basketball Operations” role, and he will likely continue in that role mostly, preparing game plans, scouting, reviewing film, etc. On the other hand, Lucas may take a more prominent place on the court until full-time managers return to practice, as he served in a typical assistant coach role for Shaka Smart at Texas the past 4 seasons. He has been credited for the recruitment and much of the on-court development of big men such as Jarrett Allen, Mohamed Bamba, and Jaxon Hayes at Texas. Lucas is great at building relationships with players and their families, and this expanded role will, at least temporarily, serve the program well going forward into this season.

It is uncertain whether or not Calipari and UK knew of this waiver coming before hiring Lucas, but it would not be surprising if they did, given that Calipari typically seems to be ahead of the curve in making moves to advance the UK program in any way possible.

The following is a link to the NABC’s webpage containing the NCAA Blanket Waiver release:


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NCAA Approves Blanket Waiver for Non-Coaching Staff Members for 2020-21 Basketball Season

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