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Rupp makes ESPN’s “Bucket List,” but is it time for it to kick the bucket?


rupp

The ongoing debate on whether to renovate Rupp Arena or build a new facility may have the UK fanbase and administration divided, but Rupp Arena is still special enough to make it onto one of the ESPN’s College Basketball Panel’s “Bucket List”:

Stephen Bardo: Rupp Arena tops my wish list. I was born in Kentucky and raised in nearby southern Illinois, so Wildcats basketball was by far the most popular college team of my childhood. Growing up watching the Jack “Goose” Givens era and now the way coach John Calipari has it rockin’ again, a visit to Rupp would bring it full circle for me. Hearing 24,000 fans live and die on every play would be special.

While Rupp may grace Bardo and Joe Lunardi’s (he put it at number two, behind Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse) bucket lists, it did not make any of the analysts’ list of favorite arenas, nor a coaches’ and players’ survey of toughest arenas to play in. To me, this underlines the case for a new facility: while Rupp may hold sentimental value in our hearts for the countless memories under its banners, it’s not enough to be one of the best in the country anymore.

All of the arenas mentioned on the panel’s lists–Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State), Maples Pavilion (Stanford), Pauley Pavilion (UCLA), The Palestra (UPenn)–create memorable experiences for the viewer through atmosphere, something that, for a number of reasons (blue hairs in the lower arena, students only in one endzone, etc.), Rupp lacks from time to time. Phog Allen and Cameron Indoor Stadium achieve atmosphere by putting students right next to the court, ensuring a loud and intimidating environment from start to finish. Other arenas, like Madison Square Garden and Philadelphia’s Palestra, made the list because of a combination of their architecture and history. Yes, some, especially those on the task force, may argue that a renovation of Rupp Arena could achieve a sense of old tradition with modern amenities, but what exactly is so precious about Rupp the building to save? Why not start from scratch and create the arena we’ve always wanted?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR.

40 responses to “Rupp makes ESPN’s “Bucket List,” but is it time for it to kick the bucket?”

  1. bosshogg24

    Build a new arena, forget renovation!

  2. bosshogg24

    Build a new Arena! Forget the renovation!

  3. Nurd83

    Say it with me- Hey, hey, Ho, Ho, Rupp Arena has got to go.

  4. Calipari'sInYourEar

    I say we go back to playing at Memorial.

    Make ticket prices $5000 a seat and give the rich in Lexington a chance to enjoy their status as “the haves”. j/k

  5. hungover

    Wonder if football teams like Notre Dame would ever want a new stadium? No, don’t f%ck with tradition man. I’m all for renovating Rupp and putting millions into it, but just don’t tear it down.

  6. Jarweed

    What exactly is so precious about Rupp the building to save? … THE NAME!

    You build a new arena some corporation will get their filthy, greedy hands all over it. Do you want “Friends of Coal Palace”?

  7. Catfan

    5 you suck! We need a new arena. Rupp just isn’t intimidating for visiting teams.

  8. ukfan

    Renovate, keep the history and modernize.

  9. Sluggercatfan

    #7..Catfan…with all due respect..why does 5 suck..If you transfer the same folks from Rupp to a NEW arena why will it be intimidating??…It is the people in the building that make it intimadating, NOT the arena….

  10. cats11

    7 (and Tyler) If I remember correctly, Kentucky has the second longest home winning streak in the nation. Maybe it’s intimidating, maybe it’s not, but let’s not build a new arena because it’s nobody’s “favorite” or not on somebody’s stupid list.

  11. James

    I feel like some of our fans have a really idiotic mentality towards a new arena. Why do we need a new arena? Because Louisville has one? Sure, there would be more revenue but as far as I’m concerned, the athletic department makes plenty all ready. How does it benefit all of you? Renovate Rupp if it’s such a problem. But I bet plenty of people freaking out on this website have never been and just take someone else’s word for it. And frankly, bringing up lists like this is dumb. Is a shiny new arena going to bring us closer to making it? Heck no. All of those arenas have TRADITION, and building a brand new one sure won’t generate any of that.

  12. DB11

    we need to increase capacity..by a lot. rupp simply can’t provide that. its nearly impossible for students to get tickets to games, and when they do theyre either crammed into the erruption zone or up in the rafters. show some damn love for the students, we only pay thousands of dollars a year to go to an overcrowded school with no parking, terrible student/teacher ratio, and a crumbling infrastructure. the least the school could do is give us a decent opportunity to watch our beloved basketball team.

  13. kevin c

    if uk owns greg page apts if they dont them buy them.tear them and build a dome type arena that both basketbal and football can play in.is it true that the owners of rupp charges uk $50000.00 a game?

  14. bung

    keep Rupp Arena

  15. Polkville Cat

    I’m with #5. I remember my sense of wonder when I went to Rupp as a child in 78 at the Christmas tournament playing Illinois. What a treat. My parents waited out in the cold with me near the players entrance. Got to meet Macy, James Lee, Shidler as they made their way inside. A big navy Cadillac pulled up at the garage door and we followed it inside. Coach Hall slid out and graciously spoke
    to us for a few moments before heading into the locker room. (Lucky no one carted us out in handcuffs for trespassing). I can vividly remember Happy Chandler singing My Old Kentucky Home. I’ve been back to Rupp a few
    times as an adult at Senior Day and wouldn’t trade Rupp for anything. The problem isn’t Rupp, but the crowd
    that forgets to cheer.

  16. Manbearpig

    Get a new arena and make it a dome like up here at Purdue (Mackey Arena). The student section takes up a pretty nice portion behind/diagonal to the opposing team in the 2nd half and the noise in it is crazy. The place only holds like 10k. I know having 16k strong at UK (minus 8-9k of the blue hairs) we would be the loudest place in college B-ball!.

  17. Truckdrivingman

    Them benches sure are hard on my roids.

  18. Calipari'sInYourEar

    THE ANSWER:

    1. Schedule every game as a night game at Rupp.
    2. Have a “blue hair revue” 4 hours before every game in the convention center.
    3. Place a donate your game tickets to UK students box at the exit doors of the convention center.

    By the time the game starts the blue hairs will be all pooped out and will head on home, leaving their tickets in the donation box.

    Then UK opens a side door to UK students with student ID’s and they can flood the lower arena at will and fill the empty seats left by the glucosamine/chondroitin army.

    GO BIG BLUE HAIR REVUE!

  19. Polkville Cat

    Fondly remember my first trip as a child in 78. Still vividly hear Happy Chandler
    singing “My Old Kentucky Home” and have attended a few Senior Days since. Also was
    there against an LSU game in the 90s when the crowd was screaming so loud I literally couldn’t hear. Keep Rupp Arena. You can’t build a place big enough to hold BBN. What makes an arena is it’s attitude and our crowd down low is just staid.
    Fix the seating chart, make students area closer to court, whatever.. but don’t leave Rupp Arena. I’m old enough to remember Rupp. He built us!

  20. lee dee

    iF I don’t have to pay for it, give me the biggest and best. But if I am responsible for paying the bill, remember somebody’s tax money is going to go toward paying for a new arena. Let’s not be selfish, the state of Kwnrucky needs to spend its money on so many more imporant things to the state than a new basketball arena.

  21. lee dee

    iF I don’t have to pay for it, give me the biggest and best. But if I am responsible for paying the bill, remember somebody’s tax money is going to go toward paying for a new arena. Let’s not be selfish, the state of Kwnrucky needs to spend its money on so many more imporant things to the state than a new basketball arena.

  22. Jim Ross

    I get so tired of the “tough place to play” argument when it comes to a new arena. We haven’t lost a home game in 2 years and how exactly are luxury boxes going to make the cheering louder. People complain now that students and the lower income bracket of fans can’t get a good seat… don’t you realize it will be even more expensive and catered to the rich getting the best.

    Look at the NFL. Luxury boxes are the norm, but create a fan experience that leads to watching behind glass, talking to friends/business associates, and sipping a glass of wine. Also, look at the NFL where home field advantage is almost obsolete.

    The argument always goes back to Kentucky needs to be the “Gold Standard” pitched by Mitch our less than bright AD. He is the same guy that managed to have to pay Gillispie millions because he continually stated there was a contract in place to the press. Had he not done so repeatedly than UK could have fired Coach G with no repercussions. He is also the same guy that scheduled UK to play in Nashville, but because nobody thought the check that school with priority for LP field, Tennessee State, had a game that day… So kentucky had to play A Thursday night game with less than 30,000 in the seats. Really? He didn’t think to check TSU’s schedule? And we trust his opinion on the matter? Let’s see…. New arena paid for by the taxpayer, higher ticket prices, higher K Fund donations, lucrative luxury boxes that companies use for wining and dining local and national business associates. That seems like the best interest of the University? That looks more like a way for a small number of people to make more money off the University of Kentucky Wildcats and by simply saying it’s for the good of the players/fans, etc. All while creating a wasteland in downtown Lexington. Remember a few short years ago the downtown was dying. It is still recovering so why should we as taxpayers “pay” to bring it back down. Makes no sense. These people are pathetic.

    Also, citing a list of favorite arenas is a valid argument for creating hundreds of millions of dollars of debt to be floated by the Commonwealth? Sounds like something someone in Tennesse would write… oh wait, isn’t Miss Thompson in Nashville? I ask you, the one or two games you attend a year, correct me if it’s more, are such a horrible experience that a new arena for hundreds of millions is needed? I am all for being a rabid fan, but a new arena is simply ridiculous. Hmmm, didn’t seem to be an issue until a rival university upgraded and Coach Cal said we needed a new arena.

  23. CTE

    Keep Rupp because a new place will be bigger, with worse views and a lot of suites – and saddle Lexington with debt. You know why the arenas on the analysts are cool? Because they are not giant, new and filled with corporate seats/suites. Look at the list – all older and maybe renovated, like Pauley. I’ll bet 50+% of the folks on this thread who want a new arena have never been to Pauley, Cameron, Allen or any of the great arenas. The fools who want a new arena may, sadly, get their wish and I’ll have a huge laugh at their expense when they complain how far from the court their new seats are…

  24. Tom Baker

    It’s interesting to me how Ms. Tyler Thompson makes a great case – to keep Rupp. She mentions a number of programs that play in facilities that are far smaller than Rupp that don’t have luxury boxes. Many of these programs are among college basketball’s elite. Furthermore, she mentions the atmosphere created in other arenas while arguing for what is likely to be a much more antiseptic experience in a new “Rupp” arena. It would not be terribly difficult to ring the court with students and ensure those students were not only there but were loud by changing the ticket distribution so that instead of Muffy and Buffy having the same chance at good tickets as those who actually go to watch the game, only the true student fans would be in the best seats.

    As for luxury boxes, I’m all for sealing the blue hairs behind panes of glass along with those who wander in about the first TV timeout and leave at the last one. But I’d rather them not show up at all and instead the thousands and thousands of real UK fans who hardly ever get a chance to see a game be allowed.

    What assurances will those who have dutifully bought tickets in the upper deck for years have that (1) they will be able to keep their tickets or (2) their seats will be as good as what they have now? This all seems to be going towards what so much does in today’s culture – style over substance.

    Yes, there are things wrong with Rupp Arena but there is not a single thing I can think of that is wrong with it that could not be fixed which would keep us from playing in the Whitaker Bank Shot Arena.

  25. bung

    I think the blue hair seats should be confiscated and given to rowdy drunks. Then pass a law that requires blue hairs to continue purchasing the seats even though they will be confiscated and redistributed. Part of that law should also tax the blue hairs until they are as poor as me. Then when no one can afford to be a blue hair we can turn the arena into a homeless shelter (with boxes for those with Ripple).

  26. DoubtingThomas

    GET REAL FOLKS! I’ve seen the Cats play at least 20 times in my life! Never once at Rupp, and why? Ticket unavailabilty, at least in decent seats! Now you might argue that an enlarged arena would help in this, but I argue the opposite I’m not paying $5 to sit six seats from god. Have you ever sat in a 25,000+ basketball facility? You can’t even make out the the numbers on the players jerseys in the cheap seats. BFD if UofL has a big new shiny facility, it hasn’t helped their team 1 iota! So we’re talking roughly $300,000,000, thats 300 million, not sure anyone has heard, but the nation and the state of KY is in a recession. And do you also think ticket prices and concessions will do anything but go up in price? If so you’re a total dunderhead, even if you get seats they’ll suck, and a family of 4 could not afford them anyway. Season tickets, forget it the average Joe can’t afford that. I see no benefit from taking on such a massive debt to keep up with the Jones’s when most of us can’t afford a decent seat in our current arena! So who benefits? Not me, not you, not the players, the rich folks that already have great seats. Do you think it will benefit recruiting, how is that possible, we’ve signed 3 #1 classes in a row!…..Someone please explain 1 (just 1) benefit that goes beyond corporations and the wealthy…..I dare ya!!!

  27. RP_McMurphy

    UK basketball is UK basketball. Rupp Arena is not UK basketball and it’s time to move on.

  28. fan

    ?

  29. Roll Tide

    Rupp cannot be updated. It is just an old box that needs to be demolished and replaced with a modern arena.

  30. fan

    We got Rupp, and they want to BE us.

  31. symphonist

    Building a new arena isn’t going to make it more intimidating to play UK or create a rowdier atmosphere. The same people who have the choice seats now, referred to as “blue hairs”, will still get the choice seats in a new arena. The student section would still likely be in an endzone like the current eRupption Zone. You couldn’t build a big enough new arena that has luxury boxes or suites or whatever else to put the “blue hairs” in it so the “rowdier” fans & students could sit courtside. Keep & renovate Rupp.

  32. symphonist

    Building a new arena isn’t going to make it more intimidating to play UK or create a rowdier atmosphere. The same people who have the choice seats now, referred to as “blue hairs”, will still get the choice seats in a new arena. The student section would still likely be in an endzone like the current eRupption Zone. You couldn’t build a big enough new arena that has luxury boxes or suites or whatever else to put the “blue hairs” in it so the “rowdier” fans & students could sit courtside. Keep & renovate Rupp & save the taxpayers millions.

  33. the big dog

    Ditch Rupp Arena. It has never been a good place to watch basketball. However, Mitch needs to pay some attention to Tommy Turtleneck and make the new facility more fan-friendly than Rupp and Commonwealth Stadium. I fear that he will cater to the rich donors and leave the rest of us out in the cold packed like sardines on concrete.

  34. symphonist

    Building a new arena isn’t going to make it more intimidating to play UK or create a rowdier atmosphere. The same people who have the choice seats now, referred to as “blue hairs”, will still get the choice seats in a new arena because of $$$$. The student section would still likely be in an endzone like the current eRupption Zone. You couldn’t build a big enough new arena that has luxury boxes or suites or whatever else to put all the “blue hairs” in it so the “rowdier” fans & students could sit courtside. Keep/renovate Rupp, save the taxpayers millions, and in the process spare us from an embarrassing name of a new corporate-sponsored arena (Yum!). The name is as much worth saving as the building.

  35. CA UK FAN

    Keep Rupp…..I don’t care for the Wildcats to ever play in a corporately sponsored arena. Look at Louisville, people wear chicken buckets on their heads. What kind of tradition is that? New is not always better.

  36. Will W

    Lexington needs a new arena district period. Rupp is old like the blue hairs that fill the lower arena. I understand they love basketball, but come on the students need to be behind the benches to where the opposing team cannot hear. Not have a time out and can get crystal clear instructions. Number 18 that is too funny but I agree to an extent. The blue hairs need to sit in the upper arena and let the screaming fans down in the lower arena. We are not at a knitting show

  37. This comment is awaiting moderation.

    Gotta keep Rupp. Whether its with renovations or not. I cringe at the thought of a corporately sponsored name for our Cats to call home. It also would probably mean a substantial increase in ticket prices. And plenty of comments here bring up a great point that a new arena just means blue-hairs have new seat to sit in close to the action. They are still gonna show up and still gonna do nothing but look old and decrepit the whole time. New arena is not the answer. Just a “grass is greener” idea that has not realistically been though through by the vast majority of its supporters.

  38. GODSAZNO

    The only consideration for saving Rupp is to save money. A ‘gold standard’ facility doesn’t come on the cheap.

  39. BEEZEMAN

    Maybe the worst post on this blog ever…. what are you – 12?

    Can we get a writer on here that was born before 1980 such that there is some type of reference, and maybe, wisdom.

    Brutal

  40. BEEZEMAN

    Possibly the worst post on this blog ever…. What are you, 12?

    Can we get a writer on here that was born before 1980 with some form of reference, and maybe, wisdom.

    Brutal