Before we get into the weekend and begin our summer in full, it is worth noting an under-reported story from this morning. UK and the city of Lexington announced that a UK employee will head up the Rupp Arena Project. In an announcement today, Mayor Jim Gray said that Frank Butler, the UK VP for Finance and Administration, would take at least a six month leave of absence from the school in order to head up the project. His salary will still be paid by the University and he will remain a University employee, however his duties will be to oversee the new Rupp Arena District project for the city.
I find the announcement VERY interesting for two reasons. First, a University employee in charge of the project suggests that the University’s needs will be at the forefront of all discussions on Rupp Arena’s future and can only be seen as a good thing. But second, if you will remember out interview with Mitch Barnhart a few weeks ago, the city and UK have not been on the same page as to the future of Rupp and the renovation vs rebuild argument. Does this mean that the two sides have come on the same page on Rupp’s future since that interview? Does this mean that the project as it now stands (with renovation and not a new Rupp Arena as the goal) now has UK’s implicit support? And if the latter is true, is there a difference in opinion between UK administrators (such as President Capilouto) and the UK Athletics Department (ie Mitch and Calipari). With the project now being headed by a UK employee, whatever is done will have UK’s implicit stamp of approval. That is great for Mayor Gray and the city of Lexington…but it will be interesting to see what that stamp of approval will create and whether the Athletic leaders ultimately agree with it.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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