After waiting on pins and needles since the NBA Combine, the first report on Hamidou →
Football Season Coverage
The Depth Chart Podcast is celebrating Derby Week, but only after talking football for an hour. The crew discusses the change of the stadium’s name, the fallout from the NFL Draft and much more, including:
— The difference between Freddie’s facility and what the players have now.
— Where was the passion for Commonwealth Stadium against Austin Peay?
— Our favorite parts of the NFL Draft broadcast.
— Jabari Greenwood, the sixth player to transfer from UK this offseason.
— The Big 12 is worse than you think.
— Roush’s guide to a successful Kentucky Derby experience.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
Today in SEC news, Alabama just gave Nick Saban a hefty three-year contract extension that will pay him $11.125 million this upcoming season, making him by far the highest paid head coach in college athletics. With the extension (which includes a $4 million signing bonus, hence next year’s astronomical amount), Saban’s eight-year $65 million deal keeps him at Alabama through January 2025.
How does Saban’s deal compare to other coaches in college football and basketball? Next season, he will make more than Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, who will pull in $9 million, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ($6 million/year), Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.5 million/year), and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher ($5.25 million/year). Mark Stoops will make $3.5 million for the 2017 season.
The top paid coaches in college basketball this past season? First was Rick Pitino, who brought in $7.77 million in total pay, followed by John Calipari at $7.4 million, and Coach K at $5.55 million. Worried that Rick’s earning more than Cal? Don’t. In the 2018-19 season, Cal’s salary increases to $8 million, making him the highest paid coach in the sport.
Dinner on Coach Saban tonight, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 02nd, 2017 @ 10:45am
It’s one step closer to becoming officially official. The Herald-Leader’s Linda Blackford is reporting that the deal between JMI Sports and Kroger for the stadium’s naming rights easily passed one of the final hurdles today, receiving approval from the athletics committee with zero discussion:
Athletics committee approves deal to change name of Commonwealth Stadium to Kroger Field with ZERO discussion. @jenheraldleader
— Linda Blackford (@lbblackford) May 2, 2017
Additionally, Blackford reports that UK will install turf on the recreational sports fields off Cooper for the fall semester, a nice reminder that while we may not like corporate sponsorships and deals like this, ultimately they’re worth it because they make the facilities better.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 02nd, 2017 @ 9:00am
Good morning, everyone, and shoutout to this brave Kentucky fan for not only riding a camel, but putting down his L after encountering a Louisville fan in Morocco. You’re doing the Big Blue Nation’s work, sir.
Let’s jump into today’s Top 10, shall we?
1. Kentucky offered Bol Bol last night
We’ve had some great names come through this program over the years, but should Bol Bol come to Kentucky, it might rank up there with the best. The 7-1 son of former NBA giant Manute Bol received an offer from John Calipari last night after two impressive weekends on the EYBL circuit. Kentucky now has eight offers out in the 2018 class, including Marvin Bagley, the 6-10 power forward who’s considered the top player in the class. Could Bol and Bagley play together? Talk about a couple of twin towers.
2. Here’s who has offers in 2018 so far:
- PG Immanuel Quickley
- PG Quentin Grimes
- SG Romeo Langford
- SF Zion Williamson
- SF Cameron REddish
- SF Jaedon LeDee
- PF Marvin Bagley
- PF Bol Bol
It’s super early, but give me Quickley (or Javonte Smart), Langford, Zion, Bagley, and Bol and let’s go win the 2019 championship. (This is a post for another time, but the more I think about it, the more 2019 feels like “the year”)
3. 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis will be on campus later this week
Not only are Antoine and Lewis two of the best wings in the 2019 class, they’re best friends and teammates. AND, they’ll be on Kentucky’s campus later this week. If you see them, be sure to say hello.
4. Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field
Yesterday, we found out that Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field as a result of JMI Sports and Kroger’s 12-year, $1.85 million/year deal. Calling it Kroger Field will take some getting used to, but in this day and age, selling naming rights to stadiums/arenas is becoming the norm, so be grateful it wasn’t something worse. If you missed out on all the excitement, we covered it from just about every angle possible:
- Drew: Major Changes To Expect At Kroger Field
- Freddie: The Evolution of Kentucky Football Facilities
- Nick: The Biggest Problem with Kroger Field: Timing
- Jack: Mark Stoops following today’s announcement: “We’re very proud to play on Kroger Field… I’m a Kroger man.”
- Jack: Fans have come up with a new UK logo… a few actually
5. Everyone’s got a joke about it
From Kroger Plus cards to the self-checkout lanes, everyone who’s ever been to a Kroger has made the same jokes about the new name, so keep that in mind as you go about your Tuesday.
Personally, I’ve been fascinated by all the old Kroger commercials on YouTube, such as this one from 1989 featuring human scissors:
6. Don’t worry, Rupp Arena’s name is safe for now
With change comes fear of more change, but according to Mitch Barnhart, Rupp Arena’s name is safe…sort of. Yesterday, Mitch Barnhart said Rupp’s name is “too iconic” to sell, and in UK’s latest lease with the Lexington Center Corporation, both sides agreed to keep the name “Rupp Arena” intact; however, odds are the naming rights to the adjacent convention center WILL be sold to help pay for renovations, to one day, it could be “Rupp Arena at the Alltech Center,” or “Rupp Arena at the Big Ass Center,” my personal favorite.
7. No new info on Bamba, Knox, or Cam Johnson
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Matt’s post from yesterday with the latest on UK’s chances with Mohamed Bamba, Kevin Knox, and Cam Johnson, as well as the latest rumblings on whether or not Hamidou Diallo will stay in the draft. Basically, no new info on recruiting stuff as Cam Johnson continues to take visits and we wait for Kevin Knox’s decision, which is allegedly happening this week. Meanwhile, NBA folks continue to be intrigued by Diallo, who wants a first round guarantee to stay in. Next week’s combine is huge.
8. It’s Game 2 for Wizards/Celtics
The Celtics got the best of John Wall and the Wizards in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, but hell hath no fury like a John Wall scorned, right? Boston hit a whopping 19-39 threes on Sunday, so if Washington wants to avoid a 0-2 start to the series, they should, you know, start defending the perimeter. Tune in to TNT at 8 p.m. for Game 2, and stick around for Game 1 of Jazz/Warriors at 10:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, LeBron James feels so confident about the Cav’s chances vs. the Raptors that he almost helped himself to a cold beverage during last night’s game:
LeBron James grabs a beer… pic.twitter.com/gKVBk5saXt
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 2, 2017
9. It’s Game 4 for the Preds/Blues
I hope you’re not tired of hockey updates yet because you’re going to keep getting them until the Preds lose. Game four between the Preds and the St. Louis Blues is tonight at Bridgestone Arena and I’ll be in the house wearing my new PK Subban jersey. The Preds have a 2-1 lead in the series so far, and taking a 3-1 lead to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday would be HUGE. So, catch Preds fever and join me in cheering them on when the puck drops at 9:30 PM on NBC Sports Network.
10. We’re now on the Elite Eight of the KSR Movie Bracket
Let us hear your picks for the following matchups:
- Shawshank Redemption vs Wolf of Wall Street
- Pulp Fiction vs Rocky
- Star Wars vs Goodfellas
- Saving Private Ryan vs Forrest Gump
Get your Plus Cards ready because we’re going Krogering!
Today the University of Kentucky announced a partnership with Kroger that includes the renaming of Commonwealth Stadium to Kroger Field. The change is effective IMMEDIATELY so throw out any of those old Commonwealth t-shirts and posters because those days are dead. This is Kroger’s world now, Big Blue Nation.
Many of the details of the deal and the rename were made public during the Monday afternoon press conference in Lexington, but tonight I’m going to share with you a couple of the changes that were not mentioned.
Expect these major changes to your Kentucky football experience beginning this fall…
Aprons and name tags for the coaching staff
As is the case with all Kroger employees, Mark Stoops and his staff will be written up each time they come to work without their aprons and name tags. Two aprons and two name tags will be provided in orientation; any additional aprons and name tags must be purchased and the cost will be taken out of their paycheck.
Coinstar kiosks at every gate
Kroger’s fancy coin-counting machines will be conveniently located at the ramp of each gate throughout Kroger Field. Fans who dump their jars of loose change into the Coinstar kiosks can either (a) donate their coins to the K-Fund or (b) convert their coins to cash tickets, redeemable at any concession stand.
An 11.9% fee applies to all cash conversions.
U-Scan concession stands
Kroger’s U-Scan self-checkout process will be available throughout Kroger Field for all food and drink purchases; although, fans can expect to miss entire possessions of the football game while waiting for the one U-Scan attendant to address any of those frustrating malfunctions with the scale and/or product barcodes.
High school kids will still be available behind the counters for those fans who prefer face-to-face transactions and human interaction.
Kroger Fuel parking lot stations
There will be a decline in parking spaces in the lots surrounding Kroger Field as Kroger plans to open three news Kroger Fuel stations. Plans are in place to install pumps in the Red, Blue and Green lots.
UK season ticket holders will receive a 30 cent discount on each game day fill-up up to 25 gallons.
Full grocery integration
By the time of full completion in Fall 2018, the new Kroger Field will be a fully functional grocery store and football stadium, the first of its kind. The final layout is still in the design phase, but imagine the players taking the field through the frozen food aisle, beneath the Kroger Field Pharmacy.
Change the game!
This week marks my two-year anniversary as a Kentucky Sports Radio blogger. It’s been a blast. Full disclosure, I also work for the UK Sports Network which is a part of JMI Sports. UK, JMI, and Kroger came to terms to rename the home of the football Cats to Kroger Field. By now many have declared their position on the matter; both for and against. I was given the freedom to speak my mind with no restrictions when reacting to and discussing Monday’s announcement. Here’s my take:
First, I’ll provide some background. UK Football has trained at three facilities in my lifetime: Shively Center, E.J. Nutter Center, and the Joe Craft Football Training Facility. Many moons ago my freshman class moved into the Shively Center upon reporting to campus. The accommodations were modest but it was home. Summer workouts at the old training facility were hot. Weights were moved onto the astro-turf for lifting and space purposes.
Team meals were served in Donovan Hall which is now the new location of the science building in which UK Athletics donated money for construction. Coaches and players had to walk across the street to the Biology Building for team meetings because Shively didn’t have space to fit the entire gathering. We soon moved into the palatial E.J. Nutter Center with AC in the weight room, spacious lockers, and adequate team meeting space. Major upgrades. Progress.
The Cats now call the Joe Craft Football Training Center home where players are provided the most modern amenities imaginable. That building came at a price. We’ll get to that later. Smoothies can be ordered by text after players leave the center’s in-house barber shop. Coming full circle, corporate partnerships were a vital piece of the equation that provided UK Athletics with its shiny new toys. Thus, Kroger Field.
Tradition is a subject that can justifiably raise emotion within a fan base. In my lifetime, UK has played its games at two stadiums: Stoll Field and Commonwealth Stadium. The program’s two best teams played in different locations. Bear’s teams at Stoll Field, Derrick Ramsey’s crew at Commonwealth Stadium. While I’m a traditionalist at heart, the modernization of facilities and improvements for students and student-athletes are far more important.
Remember, recruiting is the lifeblood of all programs. Antiquated facilities can be a deal breaker. Can you imagine Vince Marrow hosting recruits while players pumped iron in the parking lot? Or maybe have recruiting dinners like the old days that can be seen in the below picture.
Several non-football incentives also comprise the JMI-Kroger association as the agreement entails much more than just a name on a stadium. Remember the monetary donation to the new science building? Select community fields throughout the state will receive funds for upgrades. Other features include campus initiatives, pharmacy, nutrition, and health conscience activities which are all tied to naming rights.
I’ve tried to sustain my stance that media types should never tell fans how to fan. Fandom is personal in nature. I don’t like to be told how to be a fan either. So, I won’t try to persuade others to go along with my thoughts about Kroger Field nor will I denounce detractors. I will try to understand the opinions of those that support and criticize Monday’s proclamation. Varying sentiments are ok. I have mine, you have yours. We don’t have to agree.
I’m excited about the baseball team’s success and pending new stadium. Will be quite the improvement from the Cliff. Softball now plays at John Cropp Stadium. UK’s track and field teams host meets on enhanced grounds. I’m happy that today’s football players can train in one of the most extraordinary and lavish facilities in all of college football. The stadium looks great after all the improvements and additions. Again, progress has an associated price tag. Money was paid upfront. See below.
“UK’s multimedia rights agreement with JMI Sports – signed in June 2014 – grants naming rights to athletic facilities and expanded opportunities to market campus media rights like those included in this partnership with Kroger. The multimedia rights agreement pays UK Athletics $210 million over 15 years, including a signing bonus of $29.4 million built in to help fund important capital projects like the baseball stadium currently under construction.”
Thus, I’m perfectly fine with Kroger Field. No, I like Kroger Field.
In the end, the scoreboard is the only signage at Kroger Field that really matters.
Change, whether it’s inherently good or bad, is always met with some resistance.
Since the University of Kentucky announced the comprehensive partnership with Kroger worth $22.2 million over the next 12 years, you’ve heard approximately 8,533 jokes about the “C.M. Newton Grounds at Kroger Field,” the new name for the old Commonwealth Stadium.
After 44 years as Commonwealth Stadium, finding a suitable name for fans while selling naming rights to the Kentucky football stadium is impossible. You can’t please everybody. However, the name change could have been much more palatable if it was done two years ago.
In November of 2013, UK Athletics announced a $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium to be completed before the 2015 season. Seven months later, JMI Sports paid $210-million to be Kentucky’s multimedia partner through 2029. UK received $29.2 million in the first two years, giving JMI rights to radio broadcasts, stadium and corporate signage rights and stadium naming rights. The Kroger naming rights do not even recoup JMI’s signing bonus cost.
It took JMI just under three years to sell the most lucrative stadium naming rights available. To make the transition easier, they should have done it before September of 2015. Instead of “The New Commonwealth Stadium opens with a Boom!” it should have been “Kroger Field opens with a Boom!”
Packaging together a renovated stadium with a new name just makes the most sense. Instead, we embraced the #NewCWS, only to have the name changed on the same place the team played for the last two years.
Even though Kroger Field comes two years later than it should have, looking back is counterproductive. Looking forward, I can’t wait to go Krogering on Saturdays this fall.
“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 5:33pm
In news that’s not terribly surprising, Justin Rowland is reporting that redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jabari Greenwood is planning on transferring. Greenwood, who came to Kentucky as a three-star prospect, redshirted his freshman year in 2015 and in 2016, didn’t record any receptions. The Washington DC native reportedly wants to be closer to home, and, presumably, find a less crowded depth chart.
With plenty of talented receivers coming in and more on the way in 2018, I can’t say I blame Jabari. Best of luck to him as he takes the next step.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 4:15pm
It didn’t take long before the Twitterverse took UK’s Kroger Field announcement and ran with it…
Both rivals and fans have come together over the last few hours to create photoshops of updated names and logos involving the infamous Kroger “K.”
Nice work, somebody. pic.twitter.com/p2xYj3wDKr
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) May 1, 2017
UK QB Stephen Johnson found the new logo to be pretty funny…
— Stephen Johnson II (@stephen_h_j) May 1, 2017
This fan decided to just rename the university altogether…
Some of you guys wanted the historic Power K back, right? Does this work for you?
What a time to be alive.
Mark Stoops following today’s announcement: “We’re very proud to play on Kroger Field… I’m a Kroger man.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 3:45pm
KSR’s own Freddie Maggard spoke with UK football head coach Mark Stoops following today’s Kroger Field announcement to discuss what he thinks about the transition and the impact it makes on the program.
“We’re very proud to play on Kroger Field,” Stoops said. “We’ll be happy to open that stadium our second game of the year.”
As far as UK’s partnership with Kroger, Stoops says it’s not a surprise to him the deal got done..
“We have a great relationship with Kroger. I might be the only one that goes in Kroger every day, that’s where I stop and get my coffee every day. I’m a Kroger man.”
Check out the entire video here:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 2:15pm
UK AD Mitch Barnhart spoke with the media following today’s Kroger Field press conference, where he was ecstatic about the 12-year partnership between the University of Kentucky, Kroger, and JMI.
Some of the key points?
- Kroger’s passion for improving the state of Kentucky, not just about hospitality or ticket sales.
- Whether or not Rupp Arena’s name will eventually change
- How the partnership with Kroger and UK came to fruition
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 1:15pm
It’s official: Commonwealth Stadium is now Kroger Field. The deal, which is actually between JMI Sports and Kroger, is for 12 years, $1.85 million per year. UK President Eli Capilouto just announced the news at a press conference at the Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building.
The new name will be reflected on interior, external, and directional signage, as well as collateral materials related to the stadium. The playing field will be renamed to C.M. Newton Grounds at Kroger Field to avoid confusion.
Kroger is now the Official Fuel Partner of the University of Kentucky, the Official Grocery Partner of Move-In at UK, and the Official Nutrition and Pharmacy Partner of UK Athletics. Kroger and UK will also work together to improve community fields across the Commonwealth as part of the Kroger Fields Community Program and a community 5K race – the Simple Truth 5K – will finish at the 50-yard line at the newly renamed Kroger Field.
In June 2014, UK signed a multimedia rights agreement with JMI Sports, which included the right to sell naming rights to the stadium. UK is the first SEC school to have a corporate sponsorship for its football stadium, although several SEC school have sold naming rights to their basketball arenas.
Jack Pilgrim’s at the presser and will have more in a little bit.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 1:00pm
Watch below as UK and JMI make the news that Commonwealth Stadium will be renamed “Kroger Field” official:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 10:31am
About an hour ago, UK sent out a notice about a press conference at 1 p.m. to announce a major corporate partnership, and since then, rumors have started to spread on Twitter about what it could be. By now, it’s common knowledge that the press conference will be related to the naming rights of Commonwealth Stadium, and according to Patrick Loney — who first broke news of corporate naming rights a few weeks back — says the stadium will be renamed Kroger Field:
The new stadium name will be called Kroger Field. #BBN
— Patrick Loney (@PatrickLoney) May 1, 2017
Well, alright. Let’s go Krogering.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 9:42am
Well, here’s an interesting little tidbit for an otherwise slow Monday morning. UK has just called a press conference for 1 p.m. this afternoon to announce a “major corporate partnership involving the University of Kentucky, UK Athletics and JMI Sports.” The press conference will take place at the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building, and from what we’re hearing, will be tied to the football program.
Hmm…corporate partner and football. Does this mean the naming rights for Commonwealth Stadium have been sold? If so, please let it be something halfway cool and not lame.
Leave your best guesses in the comments. We’ll have a live stream of the presser at 1 p.m. for you.