Mitch Barnhart Pens Letter to PAC-12 about Music City Bowl Officiating


UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart publicly defended the Kentucky football team’s actions at the Music City Bowl.  We’ve now learned that he also voiced his grievances in an official letter to the Pac-12 conference.

Addressed to the Pac-12’s vice president of officiating, David Coleman, Barnhart used strong language to defend his football team.  Here are just a few of the excerpts regarding Benny Snell’s ejection that were obtained via open records request by the Herald-Leader:

“We feel great disappointment that what was supposed to be a quality bowl experience for our young people and our university was marred by these incidents.”

“The intent of the no-contact rule — protection of officials — was not adhered to in this case,” Barnhart said in his opening paragraphs. “Video of the incident does not support the call made on the field or the statement made by the officiating crew postgame.”

Barnhart also addressed the missed late hit that forced Stephen Johnson to temporarily exit the game with an injury.  UK’s Orthopedic doctor was quoted, “calling it a safety issue for both the player and those treating him.”

Kentucky’s athletic director should be applauded for going to bat for his players.  Barnhart has done everything in his power to make right all the Music City Bowl wrongs.

Read more of Mitch Barnhart’s Letter to the Pac-12 from the Herald-Leader.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 responses to “Mitch Barnhart Pens Letter to PAC-12 about Music City Bowl Officiating”

  1. runningunnin.454

    He was more civil than I could have been..he left out shoddy, incompetent, classless, and egomaniac.

  2. Cowboy

    Good. I think something “on the record” from the administration, not players or coaches, needed to be voiced. Northwestern should be just as pissed (even though they won the game) and could probably write pretty much a similar letter by just changing the names. That defensive guy from NW getting thrown out was just as bogus. I also think it will do wonders for the morale of the team knowing the administration “has their backs”. Kudos to Mr. Barnhart

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      I disagree about the NW player. He lead with the crown of the helmet and you can’t do that today. You can disagree with the rule, but they got it right on that one. Of course I realize what Dickie Lyons did to that LSU player was a much stiffer, but they weren’t calling this sort of thing then.

  3. Bobbum Man

    Unfortunately nothing will come of it cause refs get to do as they please and just cause you hurt his precious feelings doesn’t mean anything will be done

  4. Smyrna_Cat

    My opinion of Barnhart was already pretty high. It just went a couple of more notches. Kudos.

  5. Peter Criss

    Nice job Mitch. This needed to be done, gives credibility and validity to the debacle that was with the officials for that game. I already thought MB was a class act, this just proves it.

  6. BigBlueToo

    I hope that he sent a copy to the NCAA.

  7. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    Kudos to Mitch!

  8. jakedrj

    Well done Mitch. Could’ve justifiably been even more strongly-worded.

  9. Alleykat16

    This just shows the type of person he is. I dont know if many other AD’s take this kind of action when players are done wrong by officials the way he has. I’ve now seen and heard him talk about how he felt about the hit on Johnson and the ejection of Benny. I think we are very lucky to have him here at UK. And I hope our fans show him that we appreciate what he has been doing for our program

  10. deancdurbin1

    That call was literally so bizarre, it wouldn’t surprise me if the FBI might have a few questions for Chris Coyte to answer.

    In addition, his lack of honesty about what his version and the film were increased my suspicion.

  11. BLUEsky

    My first thought was that the ref probably had money on the other team.

  12. UoKFB PHAN

    So here is a question I’ve had since the day after the game: Do college officials have to be re-certified every year before the season begins? If so, is it done at the conference level or by the NCAA? If there is indeed a re-certification process it will be interested to see if Mr Coyte will part of a PAC 12 next year. It will also be interesting to see if the NCAA or any of the P5 conferences address the issue of officials intentionally touching the players.

  13. UoKFB PHAN

    If anyone else was like me and couldn’t read the LHL article because you haven’t subscribed then here’s a link that should take you to the letter from Mitch. Check out the first paragraph on the second page to find out something else the officiating crew did.

    http://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/kentucky-sports/uk-football/article194244584.ece/binary/Barnhartletter.pdf

  14. CB3UK

    Thank you Mitch, and Coach Stoops, for taking a public stand in a professional manner in what was clearly unacceptable officiating. There’s a time and a place to voice those frustrations, but voice them they definitely needed to and I’m glad they did. Stand up for our players and this team! Thank you!

  15. Paw

    UoKFB PHAN Thanks for the link very interesting letter ! Even though sports Caster’s and Coaches Nation Wide voiced their unbelief at the call on Benny I really would be surprised if anything is done at all or even addressed They are officials and we answer to them period! 🤬