UCONN and Tennessee have women’s basketball. LSU has (had) baseball. Penn State has volleyball. Many schools across the country have not only valued football and men’s basketball, but have taken on a 3rd sport as a fan favorite. One that the supporters of that school have latched onto and support just as passionately as they do the revenue sports. In some cases, these sports actually bring money into the school. Now, in all those cases listed above, the sports team HAD to be a national title contender every year, because fans love championships, and in the minor sports, it is a must.
But, I wonder if Kentucky fans could ever back a sport as much as they do football and men’s basketball. Below are a couple options, and you tell me if any of these are possible:
Why: This is a basketball state, right? These girls have elevated Kentucky into the upper tier of the SEC, including a win or two over Tennessee. They play an up-tempo style of basketball that is rarely seen in the womens game. They have a coach who is personable and appears to be here for the long term. They have experienced a deep run into the NCAA Tournament and have an in-state rival pushing towards the elite just as hard. What they don’t have is a Final Four or any LONG-TERM success. But the pieces may be in place for this to become the 3rd major sport, and rising attendance figures back that up.
Why: Dubs and Woots. Have we figured out what this means yet? Doesn’t really matter because whatever the case, the softball team vaulted itself into the front of the UK fanbase’s attention by nearly making the World Series this season. It turns out that softball has a couple things baseball doesn’t: attractive women and a quicker paced game. The games take 90 minutes or 2 hours. The team plays in a very tough conference. Maybe this past season will start getting more attention headed their way, and continued success will make them a major sport in Lexington.