Kentucky can pony up $34 million for Calipari buyout if 'noise gets loud enough,' Bruce Pearl on UK fans' radar

Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl and Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari shake hands
Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl and Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari shake hands / Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to A to Z Sports' Zach Ragan, Kentucky could pony up the $34 million buyout cost it'd take to remove John Calipari from his Wildcats coaching position "if the noise gets loud enough." Before making that statement, Ragan pointed out that Auburn's Bruce Pearl is the popular replacement pick if UK fans had their way in a piece titled "The coach that Kentucky fans want to replace John Calipari will get the attention of Tennessee Vols fans."

"That's obviously a lot of cash to spend to move on from a head coach," Ragan prefaced before saying, "But we're only a few months removed from the Texas A&M Aggies firing head football coach Jimbo Fisher despite his $77 million buyout (which makes $34 million seem...reasonable?). 

"If the noise gets loud enough, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Kentucky pony up the $34 million it'll cost to move on from Calipari."

There's no chance Bruce Pearl replaces John Calipari at Kentucky

There is no smoke to the Pearl-to-Kentucky rumor. Furthermore, there's not even enough juice yet to give credence to the idea that Calipari will imminently be let go in Lexington. Five top-five recruiting finishes in the last five seasons buys you time at your job even if the on-court results don't match.

Winning in college basketball is hard, perhaps harder than any other sport, so until things really start falling apart behind the scenes, Calipari is likely safe.

Now, onto Pearl. The idea of him leaving what he's built at Auburn for Kentucky is preposterous. While many have speculated that Pearl could be planning to hand his Tigers program over to son Steven eventually, he isn't likely to go to another SEC program upon leaving the Plains.

If anything, Indiana would be the likeliest move for Pearl. The 64-year-old told Hoosiers Now's Tom Brew back in December that the Hoosiers position was his "dream job."

"Indiana was my dream job, it really was,'' Pearl told Brew. "I love everything about Indiana basketball, really loved and admired Coach Knight as a young coach myself, and it's one of the great programs in America.

"The timing was never right, I suppose. I guess, what, I was at Tennessee and really enjoying that and I love Auburn now. So nothing ever really aligned, but it would have been a dream come true to coach Indiana. That's how much I love and respect that program.''

Keyword: was. Pearl admitted to being happy with Auburn, and if anything, he wouldn't conclude his time with the Tigers on such a disappointing note after AU lost to Yale in March Madness's Round of 64.

Pearl's legendary tenure at Auburn isn't in danger of ending anytime soon. And it would never end for him to be the follow-up to Calipari's legendary reign at Kentucky.