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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: What would it take to be elite in 2 sports?


2 keys to being a 2-sport school: Money and Long tenured Coaches

With another mediocre football season coming to a close, the fall back opinion has been declared by many: Kentucky can never be a contender in both basketball and football.  I am here to tell you that it is very much a possibility

In my opinion, the 2 main ways to make Kentucky a serious competitor in both major sports is to raise the athletic budget and to keep a consistency at the head coaching position.  There are a total of 11 schools who have made a Final Four and BCS Bowl in the last 10 years, and 5 of the 11 (Kansas, Maryland, Illinois, WVU and Georgia Tech) have a smaller athletic budget than Kentucky.  But only 1 of those 5 schools have made multiple BCS Bowls (WVU).  Now, it is certainly not as easy as telling Barnhart to just find 10-15 million extra dollars, but he absolutely needs to continue to find ways to increase revenues and then insert that money almost exclusively into football. 

It would be much easier for Kentucky to be national contenders in 2 sports if this became a football school.  We all know that is not going to happen.  But, when Kansas, Maryland, and Illinois (all basketball schools) can make BCS bowls and Final Fours, while also having a smaller athletic budget, why can’t Kentucky?  Don’t give me the SEC argument either.  Because in the SEC, you don’t even have to win the league to make a BCS Bowl, like you do in the ACC.   

The point about keeping a consistent head coach is something Barnhart can immediately help and have a direct hand in controlling.  Whether or not you think Joker is the right answer for Kentucky, we can all admit that the patience Barnhart showed with Rich Brooks paid off HUGE for the Kentucky football program.  But, if Barnhart has a quick trigger on Joker, it does nothing but give the program more instability.  If Joker does not get the job done in 3-4 years, then a termination might be in order.  But even Florida gave Ron Zook 3 seasons.  Barring a 2 or 3 win year next season, Barnhart would be wise to keep Joker on as coach.   

Just look at these 11 schools and how many coaches their 2 major programs have had over the last 10 years.  In only 1 instance, University of Florida football, has a sport had more than 2 coaches.  Both of Kentucky’s major sports have had 3 coaches in the last 10 years.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

Ohio State University
Athletic Budget: $118 million
Football: 1 coach
Basketball: 2 coaches

University of Texas
Athletic Budget: $110 million
Football: 1 coach
Basketball: 1 coach

University of Florida
Athletic Budget: $89 million
Football: 3 coaches
Basketball: 1 coach

University of Wisconsin
Athletic Budget: $88.2 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 1 coach

Louisiana State University
Athletic Budget: $75.8 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 2 coaches

University of Oklahoma
Athletic Budget: $73.5 million
Football: 1 coach
Basketball: 2 coaches

University of Illinois
Athletic Budget: $70 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 2 coaches

University of Maryland
Athletic Budget: $61 million
Football: 1 coach
Basketball: 1 coach

West Virginia University
Athletic Budget: $58 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 2 coaches

Georgia Tech
Athletic Budget: $56 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 1 coach

University of Kansas
Athletic Budget: $55 million
Football: 2 coaches
Basketball: 2 coaches

University of Kentucky
Athletic Budget: $72.7 million
Football: 3 coaches
Basketball: 3 coaches

(Somebody is claiming some university named Louisville also should be on this list.  I can not confirm this.)

(As a quick sidenote, understand that I am NOT saying that doing these 2 things will automatically make UK serious competitors in both sports.  UK football does have some disadvantages, such as its recruiting pool, that they will always have to deal with.  But, the point is, these 2 things can be accomplished.  And nothing but good things can come from completing these 2 goals.)

Article written by Bryan the Intern