UK Fans Choose Juleps Over Unamusing Football

Shot of of Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington today moments before the Kentucky football team took the field against Jacksonville State.

Commonwealth Stadium: Kentucky football fans have abandoned 'Cats

With the Keeneland fall meet well underway - on a gorgeous day - there’s no way to blame UK fans for the above display.

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Honest Tee: I dunno .. I never played the position

After Kentucky was hammered at home 48-10 by Florida last Saturday, UK wide receivers coach (and former Tennessee star quarterback) Tee Martin was asked by a hustling Tom Leach why Wildcat receivers dropped so many balls against the Gators.

Martin’s response: “I don’t know. [shrugs] I never played the position.

I just completed my SbB Coach of the Year ballot. Done.

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ESPN Hoops Analyst: Knight “Owes an Apology”

This past Saturday at a speaking engagement in Indiana, Bob Knight said that the starters on Kentucky’s 2010 NCAA basketball tournament team “had not been to class that semester.”

Jay Williams: Bob Knight owes Kentucky fans an apology for false statement about the program

(Audio of Williams’ comments on below)

Speaking to a group in Wabash, Indiana, Knight’s remarks were captured on video:

Knight’s exact quote was:

“Kentucky year before last started five players in the NCAA tournament that had not been to class that semester. That’s that one and none philosophy.”

University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart released a statement Monday night that reported Knight’s comment about the 2010 UK hoops team to be “blatantly erroneous.

Tuesday ESPN college basketball analyst and former Duke basketball star Jay Williams appeared on to address Knight’s comments about Kentucky. After being read exactly what Knight said about the UK NCAA tournament team in question by show host Matt Jones, Williams said, in part:

He (Knight) does owe Kentucky an apology for that (statement) because those are accusations which are wrong.

Williams was later asked by Jones, “Do you believe ESPN as an entity, with Bobby Knight as an employee, should make a statement or address this in some way?Read more…

Calipari: ‘They want to be us. Not beat us, be us

While talking about Kentucky’s upcoming matchup against Ohio State in the NCAA tournament during his weekly radio show on Tuesday, UK basketball coach John Calipari dropped off this gem:

John Calipari: We All Want To Be Kentucky

“It doesn’t matter who’s on your team, you have Kentucky across the front. It means something.

“They (Ohio State) want to be us. Understand that.

“They want to be us. Not beat us, be us.

“So they’re coming at you trying to say you win against Kentucky it shows that we’re them.”

Right, no idea.

Then again, that may explain the dropoff in the state’s identity theft rate since Gillispie left. Read more…

Gillispie Formally Meets With TTU, Hiring Imminent

Former Kentucky and Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie met with new Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, school president Guy Bailey and TTU chancellor Kent Hance - along with other representatives of the school -  this morning in Boca Raton, Florida.

Billy Gillispie

(BCG met with AD Hocutt in Florida & Texas Tech officials in Dallas last week)

The meeting, which took place in south Florida because Hocutt’s last official day as Univ. of Miami Athletic Director isn’t until Friday, was to allow for a formal interview of Gillispie for the vacant Texas Tech basketball coaching job. Read more…

Dick Vitale Curbstomps NCAA Prez Into Response

In an interview with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s Seth Davis this week, new NCAA President Mark Emmert couldn’t have been more forceful in supporting his organization’s decision to rule Kentucky basketball recruit Enes Kanter permanently ineligible to play basketball at UK.

Dick Vitale curbstomps NCAA president into response

Emmert to Davis:

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

If you have followed the NCAA over the years, you recognize the stunning, nearly unprecedented candor being displayed by a sitting NCAA President over a particular enforcement ruling.  So with that in mind, it’s no surprise that Emmert’s candor was most likely far from a coincidence.

On November 23, 2009, Todd Dybas of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reported that Kanter had verbally committed to the University of Washington. In a long post extolling the virtues of Kanter’s on-court game by Dybas, there was no mention of the possibility that Kanter may have been facing NCAA eligibility questions. And if there were, obviously Washington, UCLA and USC were not overly concerned, as all three schools were in the running for Kanter’s basketball services at the time. (Kentucky later entered the picture, obviously.)

Kanter eventually de-committed from Washington a year later, which led Huskies Coach Lorenzo Romar to say at the time:

“You develop relationship with kids, and in your mind you have a vision with how it’s going to work with them in this program and how you’re going to help this kid develop and how they’re going to help you. Then, when that changes, it’s disappointing.

“When you’re recruiting someone and they’ve never committed to you and they go elsewhere, then that’s a part of what we do. But if someone does say, ‘I’m picking you, I’m coming with you and we’re getting ready to do this together from here on out,’ and then if they were to change their mind, it’s very disappointing.”

So Romar was indisputably still on Kanter’s trail up until the Turkish recruit’s decision to de-commit from Washington.

Now back to Mark Emmert’s statement about Kanter to Seth Davis this week:

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”

Who exactly was the President of the University of Washington when the Huskies received their verbal commitment from Kanter? (And subsequently Kanter’s “very disappointing” de-commit?)

Mark Emmert.

But even with that intersection of what some may view as mere coincidence, why was Emmert so heated in defending his NCAA’s decision to render Kanter’s ineligible?

Enter Dick Vitale. Read more…

Pitino Rico Preparing To Face DominiCal Republic?

In a selfless gesture of goodwill to the lovely people of Puerto Rico, Rick Pitino has agreed to coach the country’s national basketball team for three months beginning in April.

John Calipari Maker's Mark Photo

(Now duty-free!?)

As Jeff Goodman of recently noted, the move is in no way designed as a way for Pitino to horn in on the talents of one of the top young guard talents in the world. It’s all total and complete coincidence. (How could you think such a thing?)

Speaking of complete coincidences, with Pitino pushing the boundaries of NCAA recruiting rules coaching in Puerto Rico, I’m sure it’ll come as a major surprise to you that John Calipari is seriously considering taking over as coach of neighboring Dominican Republic.

A Puerto Rico basketball blog reported Monday night: Read more…

UK QB And UK Cheerleader Accused Of Assault

Bizarre news out of Lexington early Friday morning as University of Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline was arrested after a disturbance in a local neighborhood.

Mike Hartline Ashley Carnes Accused Of Assault

(Hartline and cheerleader Carnes)

According to the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, Hartline, 22, was charged by authorities with “second-degree disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication in a public place and failure to notify the department of transportation of an address change.


According to police reports, Hartline and another UK student, Ashley Kathleen Carnes, reportedly assaulted a woman.

“There was a verbal altercation and, possibly, a physical altercation,” police spokeswoman Sherrelle Roberts said.

That other student allegedly involved in the assault, Ashley Carnes, also happens to be a Kentucky cheerleader.

Ashley Carnes Mike Hartline

Read more…

Kentucky AD Statement Has Glaring Non-Denial

Today Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart released a statement responding to my report last night that he would soon be interviewing for the Kansas Athletic Director position.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(Get the UK fan reax to Barnhart’s statement)

Barnhart’s complete statement from the UK official site:

“Being a Kansas native with family in the area, having gone to Ottawa University in Kansas and my wife, Connie being a Kansas alum, I have many ties to the state. We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas. I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

“We have made progress in many areas over the last eight years, but we need to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the facilities to compete at the highest level.

“We have initiated the process of building a new track and are now focused on how we can upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and our football facilities. Our 22 sports receive unbelievable support from the Big Blue Nation and our fans deserve championship level success across the board.”

The two lines that matter:

I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

Does that look like a denial to you? (Somebody tell Mitch he’s not the football coach at Alabama.) Read more…

Kentucky’s Barnhart ‘Finalist’ For Kansas AD Job

Two SEC school administration sources have told me in the past 48 hours that University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart will interview for the Kansas University Athletic Director position in early December.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(Landing KU gig would likely mean bump in pay for UK’s Barnhart)

Joining Barnhart as a finalist for the position is current Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. Cunningham will also interview with Kansas for the job next month, which was recently vacated by the retirement of Lew Perkins.

I’ve been told Barnhart and Cunningham are two of three finalists targeted by the six-member Kansas AD search panel, which is chaired by the managing partner of Pegasus Capital Management, Ray Evans.

As it pertains to Barnhart, I’ve been told there are three main factors fueling the interest of Kansas officials in the current UK AD. Read more…