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A Primer on Why UK’s Football Program is Underfunded

If you are a Kentucky football fan, this is a MUST-WATCH interview. UK Athletics Board member Ballard Cassady talks about UK football funding in great detail and examines the points he made in last week’s Herald Leader editorial. He discusses:

1. Why Mitch Barnhart has a difficult time building facilities

2. Why Kentucky has a difficult time attracting top-tier football coaches

3. The REAL reason that no facilities can be built for football at Kentucky.

4. How the University’s accounting costs the football program at least $5 million a year in funds

5. Why Louisville has a structural advantage UK simply doesn’t have

6. What can be done about all of this

This is an extremely important interview for all Kentucky football fans and worth your time:

Article written by Matt Jones

48 responses to “A Primer on Why UK’s Football Program is Underfunded”

  1. SEC Sports

    For me, the answer is simple. I’m done with UK football all together. No way am I going to continue to buy tickets for a family of 4 that wants to see a “winner” knowing that the folks that are in power at UK have no true desire to deliver a winner to the fanbase.

    Thanks to technology that allows the fan base to know details of the program- the gig at UK is finally up.

    Many fans are finally becoming educated regarding what’s happening behind the scenes and won’t want to be a part of it moving forward.

  2. CroftonCat

    I know this is about Tennessee football…. However, it is a great story.

  3. Chad

    Great interview. Please expose Frankfort as much as possible on this. We have to improve our football facilities. I currently live in Knoxville and what they have here blows UK away…..even Bball. I hate to see it. If Vandy can get players UK needs to step it up.

  4. Sutherland

    I will be making a phone call to my representative.

  5. Biggass Hungguy

    That interview wasnt nearly long enough, give him a 30 minute slot on your radio show.

  6. Irony

    Why didn’t Frankfort (the Kentucky Senate) say “no” to UL when they asked for additional bonding capacity to expand papa john’s stadium just a few short years ago? UL’s football ammenities completely blow UK’s away at this point. Doesn’t make sense if Frankfort is being blamed.

  7. Bourbonbelly

    So what is the structural advantage the Tards have?


  8. your high school golf coach

    The in-state, out-of-state tuition thing kills me. Why would any school hinder their athletic programs by not granting the waivers? What a joke! If I wasn’t 40 years old and 30+ years invested in this program, I would find another school to root for

  9. Guest

    Caption: So THAT’S what the birds and the bees means?

  10. Coach in Waiting

    LOL at this guy calling out Joker. “We can all agree that Joker Phillips is a good guy, but he’s not a 5 star coach.” LOL!!!!

  11. Mr Schwump

    Then these morons need to fix it or shut down the program. Oh wait, these greedy bastards would lose milions. More excuses for losing, we’re now staring at 75 game losing streaks to UF/UT while these MFes prop up girls basketball and rifle. Tell these fron row blue hairs at Rupp you now make massive donations to football or you lose your tickets.

  12. katsrock

    4) Your SENATOR not your House representative.

  13. Biggass Hungguy

    #6 KSTV in all its greatness edited that part out, hopefully Matt or somebody could post the pat of the interview Matt talked about on his radio today. Apparently there is a Louisville Athletics Foundation that the state set up in the 1970s to help the university and its athletic teams become competitive. In setting up the fund it makes it easier for them to attain money, and Kentucky is trying to set up a similar fund for its athletics department.

    Wish he would go into more detail about that and the intricacies of the fund, but of course he leaves us hanging.

  14. katsrock

    Matt, this interview was WAY too short. The questions seemed rushed due to limited time. You need to do a 1/2 hour interview with this guy.

  15. chiefbroom

    whoever said ‘the answer to ALL your questions is money.’ is right on

  16. blitzedanddazed

    The next time you see David Williams at Rupp Arena tell him to go back to Hicksville. Williams is a number one prick that has always stated UK will not get a penny of State money as long as he runs the Senate.

  17. OneAndDone

    Senate President David Williams has got to go. (and I am a proud Republican). His lack of leadership is killing this state. Please contact the Senate Presidents offices and let him know how you feel Cat fans. Warning: he and his staff are quite arrogant.
    (502) 564-8100. Ask for Senate President’s office and leave a message.

  18. SouthernFriedPigskin

    Matt Jones, this is such an interesting topic for the fanbase. I think people would universally agree that this subject deserves more time. Could you invite Mr Cassidy and possiblly some other folks in similar positions to do a 30 minute or hour long special on this? This is the type of info the fans need to have before deciding whom to cast judgement upon. We need more details, Matt. Can you make it happen?

  19. bigbluegh

    Matt, UK fans need more! Is this the next big movement at UK?

    Should we occupy Frankfort and tell them to “Free UK?”

  20. MattJonesisTheEricDanielsofUKMedia

    Denny Crum, said that UL owed so much money on Papa Johns Stadium, even before they expanded it, that they need to sell-out every game to break even.

  21. Coco the Monkey

    You will never have a football program. B Ball is too big in kentucky and rightly so. Look at UF. They should have never had a B ball progaram but they landed billy and he did it all on his own. Do you really think UK will land the Billy of Football? Yeah right!

  22. SeoulCat

    I second (third) the notion of having Cassidy in for a longer slot. This is an important issue which deserves much more time, focus, and discussion.

  23. Computer Blue

    Vote out all the state senators, win in football… who hasn’t wanted to do that anyway?

  24. Maverick

    If I had to guess, Louisville was able to obtain bonding capacity because of the political clout of Mitch McConnell. With him and Williams both being Republicans, I am sure there was no problem in getting this passed. McConnell owns Louisville, and he rules the Republican party not only in the state, but in the nation. If the right people went to Mitch wanting a new football stadium, I am sure he could make it happen. Especially for those valuable campaign contributions that every politician covets. I just hope that once Beshear is finished with his term as Governor, we might finally have a candidate that can knock off Mitch once and for all. McConnell is a prime example of why this country needs to set term limits for our congressmen/women. Mitch has no desire to work in a bi-partisan effort to make the changes our country needs. I don’t really care if it is a Republican or Democrat, but Mitch needs to go.

  25. kumarCat

    Matt, not trying to stir anything up but it seems like you have an agenda lately of protecting Mitch Barnhardt. Has something happened that has improved your opinion of him or is it just “political correctness” for access to the program?

  26. charlie hardy

    Hey man this was a great interview. It tells all Kat fans to contact Sen. David Williams on this subject. Take it on BBN !!

  27. big tim


  28. Section 133

    I watched the interview last night on KSTV. I think it was the biggest explanation of what really goes on at UK in history. I got slammed by some of you cretins when I commented about it. But its the truth. The reason why UK cannot compete with football facilities in the SEC is the unwillingness of the Republican dominated state senate to release some bonding capacity to UK. Who is the President of the Kentucky Senate…the bully from Burksville, David Williams. Who has been the President of the state senate for 26 years…you guessed it. So of you are a ballot pulling Republican from south central KY, and are also a UK football fan, you better change your ways.

  29. Juan4UK

    Well, your boy Tyler Montell seems to disagree with Cassaddy.
    Also, here is a chance for KSR to do some real good by formulating aplan and leading a charge to get things changed in the Senate and/or change the laws that apply. If we only knew a lawyer that could write a proper Bill…

  30. Justin

    I love the panel of 4, matt mediating, and an hour special.

    Beisner can get it done! Best move KSTV made!

  31. Juan4UK

    And another thing, who doesn’t get it that the blame goes to the state senate. It seems to me that if you are being real, then place the blame where it belongs.
    And why is it that we are just now finding out how this works??? Damn!

  32. Ballard Cassady for Senate

    Nuff said.

  33. Tyler Montell

    29) I 100% agree with Mr. Cassady– that this is a state issue. I objected to the Board or treasurer’s office being blamed for following the (ineffective) state law. He’s dead on here.

    It is maddening, and detrimental to EVERY university department, that UK can’t fund its own capital construction projects. A few years ago UK had to get permission from Frankfort to spend $100 million of our own money on hospital construction. UK was forced to get permission to reinvest hospital profits back into the hospital. That’s lunacy.

    KSR really can do here what literally no one else has been able to do: exert enough political pressure on Frankfort to get this debilitating law changed.

  34. alltruebluefans

    Occupy Frankfort!

  35. Gert B Frobe

    Pardon me if I’m wrong but I think that there are other more important things that our State Senators are responsible for besides delivering powerhouse football programs to the state of Kentucky. And I am a huge UK football fan.

  36. Hal

    35-you are wrong. it isn’t just about having a “powerhouse f-ball program.”
    1) the senate would simply vote on/tweak a plan so they wouldn’t be spend much of their time on this.
    2) better facilities would mean more $$ for the university & or the state. the state can bring in some serious revenue with decent SEC football team in good economic times & bad.

  37. Dick Brooks

    Sooo, why exactly should we be supporting UK football if neither the state nor the university have ANY type of a plan that would allow the program to compete with rival programs? This is the biggest damn ponzi scheme in the history of sports.

    I’m not renewing until I see some type of a “plan” or communication from UK on how they are trying to fix this problem.

    Simply put, writing a check to UK football at this point is no different than writing a check to Bernie Madoff. You’re going to get a net negative return with either option. No thanks.

  38. bung

    why so serious…its basketball season…

  39. RidgeRunner

    Great post and thank you for bringing this to light, Matt…KSR.

    Yes, lets make this the start of an eventual sit down round table where more time is permitted. KSR at the forefront again.


  40. Jarvis Redwine

    35) Your post is the exact definition of being “penny wise and pound foolish.” Currently the UKAA, and more specifically UK f-ball, is being treated as a cash cow for the university proper, all the while starving the very source that drives that revenue. A f-ball program that can compete with the best will pay for itself many times over, if allowed to happen. Increased merchandise sales, more bowl money, greater tickets sales (or higher ticket prices that people would gladly pay to see a powerhouse f-ball team) and better facilities (that generate more cash flow). David Williams must be a Louisville fan. He will receive a call and an email from me and I am giving serious thought to reevaluating my support of the f-ball program. I love UK f-ball but something needs to be done.

  41. Jarvis Redwine

    36 & 37 are spot on. Preach it!

  42. JoeMoney333

    Some of these comments are hard to read, did some of you just rant w/o even listening to the interview or learning anything about this issue? Sometimes the ignorance of this fan base scares me.

  43. Cosmic Wrangler

    #37 Exactly!!

  44. Rickthebeagle man

    As if I needed another reason to dislike Williams now i hear this. I am a Repuplican but Williams needs to go. While I am sure there are other reasons, I can see Williams doing this. #36 comment is exactly right. I have always enjoyed bb. but a winning football team at UK would blow BB out of the water.

  45. mike

    This comment thread is infuriating. If this week’s horrific events at Penn State have taught us anything is that we need to put the University – not the football program – first. UK has students who are living in the same dorms that people lived in 60 and 70 years ago. The University’s main classroom building is an embarrassment. And the Reynolds Building, where art students study and learn, is the worst academic building in the Commonwealth. And don’t get me started on the Student Center. And here we have Mr. Cassady complaining that football does not have a nice enough facility for recruiting… Talk about someone who needs a reality check.

  46. VantagePoint

    So we are supposed to vote based on who gives UK athletics the most funding? Seems like we are missing the bigger picture…

  47. yabba do

    Jones, get your ass up to Frankfort, and interview David William’s. This stadium expansion is going to get done one way, or another.

  48. Follow the money

    After reading Cassidy’s editorial and watching the interview with Matt, it seems that all one has to do to see what the Board of Trustees is up to is follow the money. Anyone experienced in deals involving money knows that everyone wants it. If the Board of Trustees is able to take control of the athletic department and thus its revenues (seems like the NCAA or some accreditation body would take issue with this move) do we really think those funds are going to end up back in athletic projects? Seems to me that the University has showed its hand in such dealings by receiving over $800 million in bonding authority in the last ten years and only $7 million of that amount has been awarded to athletics (that is picking winners and losers Mr. Montell, sir). So do we as fans really want to see UK athletics go under the full control of the board of trustees? Will regulating bodies even allow it?
    My guess is they will not so the Board of Trustees, to save face, will cleverly vote to put full control of UK Athletics under newly hired President Capiluto- the guy seems nice enough, but he is still learning the campus map and was hired by the very same Board of Trustees. Do we really trust him to steer our athletic ship or do we think outspoken board members such as Brockman and Shoop will have him on autopilot?
    To a concerned fan who understands that more investment in UK athletic facilities, especially in a cash cow like football, would benefit not only the quality of the athletic programs, but also would benefit the bottom line: both the Athletic Department’s and the University’s, this all reeks of political favoritism by the Board of Trustees. And this fan doesn’t like the smell.

    After all, what could possibly go wrong with turning athletics over to a bunch of political appointees?