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Can We Please Put This to Bed?

When things are bad in a program, it is understandable that those who want to see it better latch on to any possible explanation for the program’s problems. There is no doubt that UK football right now is a trainwreck and substantial changes need to, and likely will, be made very soon. But thanks to some misleading tweets from a UK website today, one factor that isn’t a part of UK’s problem is getting national attention. Today made a post comparing Big Blue Madness and UK football recruiting spending. Upon news that Kentucky spent between $250,000-$300,000 on the light show for BBM (money well spent in my view), Deadspin essentially said, “why spend so much for that and only spend $336,000 for Football recruiting?” Complainers have latched onto that and are now raising cane. But if we are going to raise cane, lets at least do it about the correct things. If you will remember, back in June we found out that these were the budgets for football recruiting in the SEC:

Tennessee: $1.4M
Alabama: $980K
Auburn: $950K
Arkansas: $666K
Georgia: $623K
Florida: $602K
Mississippi: $495K
Missouri: $363K
Kentucky: $336K
LSU: $302K
Mississippi State: $306K
South Carolina: $248K
Texas A&M: $240K

Looking at that list, it becomes clear to see high discrepancies between teams and what they spend on recruiting. However as we can see, there seems to be no correlation between wins and spending. Tennessee spends the most by $500,000 and is in a program free fall, while LSU is one of the three best programs in America for recruiting and spends less than Kentucky. Why is this the case? Simple, what one school deems as a “football recruiting cost”, another school might deem as an “Administrative cost.” So for instance, the use of a private plane at Tennessee might go under “football recruiting”, while the use of such a plane at Texas A&M is “administrative.” Plus, if a booster donates the use of such a plane (which happens all the time), that might not even be put in the budget…a fact that probably explains a lot of the lower numbers.

Point being, that without more information and an entity taking the time to compare actual cost, these numbers really don’t mean anything. UK coaches are able to fly and see whatever player they need to see at any time. There are MAJOR INVESTMENTS that are needed for recruiting, but they are structural and must be done through state bonding or large private donations. The yearly budgetary cost of recruiting is a drop in the bucket and has nothing to do with whatsoever problems UK football has.

So enjoy the light show at Big Blue Madness and try to figure out why things aren’t good for football. But don’t compare one to the other, as they actually have virtually nothing in common.

Article written by Matt Jones

41 Comments for Can We Please Put This to Bed?

  1. Cat In The ATL
    7:42 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Actually, LSU doesn’t spend as much because they have so much in state talent. Same with TAMU, South Carolina, and State.

  2. CatFan4444
    7:44 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    We do need to put football first and let basketball take care of itself. First up, hire a big time coach instead of some hire and hope it works out guy.

  3. Matt Jones
    7:47 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    #1 also not true…Alabama has a ton of instate talent and spends three times as much. It is about accounting, and if you choose not to believe that, so be it

  4. thenamerobdigity
    7:49 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Where would these teams be with better or worse budgets? Also, does the recruiting budget consist of the same thing for all teams? For anyone that watched the Arkansas game, you would see that many players simply gave up and didn’t play hard, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Time to move on and at least try something different. Try spending more, try a new coach, try to run games. That performance against Arkansas was embarassing and I wish Joker would give me my money back for taking the trip down to Fayetteville like Chip Kelly did, a man that takes responsibility for his teams performance. It wasn’t the whole team that rolled over and quit, but there were a lot of them out there. Pathedic.

  5. Yab
    7:54 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Get Petrino in here and we can stop worrying about this stuff. That guy just wins.

  6. Dean
    7:54 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    It’s BB time in the Bluegrass ..Football is dead to me..

  7. agree
    7:55 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    bleed blue kentucky is really annoying.

  8. manlySmell
    7:55 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    There are, of course, no relation to spending and winning because winning is s variable. There is a relation to in-state recruiting base and spending. Tennessee, like UK, needs to spend in order to recruit. They have little instate talent. Auburn and Bama are reuiting the same kids.. they need to spend. Kentucky has the worst recruiting hotbed and doesn’t spend squat to make up for it. The Mississippi Schools could both spend more but they both suck so who cares.

  9. Hello Washington
    7:56 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Deadspin ??? I think that’s a left leaning commie site..

  10. CatGrad7072
    7:56 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Then again, it could be coaching.

  11. Yab
    7:56 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    6) Then why are you posting on here?

  12. stevie
    7:59 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Louisiana is basically the same population as Kentucky. Alabama isn’t much larger but there are two powers in that state: Alabama and Auburn.

    West Virginia; Oklahoma; Nebraska; and numerous other programs have to deal with the same popolation issues as UK.

    Our football problems begin at the top (Barnhart and Joker). But, they include all of us who do not demand better. I am ashamed of UK football–I really am. I won’t defend us against outside forces because I don’t have a leg to stand on. I can’t defend against a willingness to lose.

  13. Kumarcat
    8:06 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Hi I’m Mitch Barnhart and I approve this message

  14. Yab
    8:09 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not sure why you chose to put a picture of the banner being raised with this article? The days of letting the start of basketball make us forget about football are over. We’re tired of being embarrassed and we’re going to do something about it.

  15. Me
    8:11 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe, just maybe, mitch knew that joker was a dolt that was just happy with a $1mil per year job that he wouldn’t be smart enough to ask for a bump in recruiting budget. And mitch knows good and well if joker ever did come along and ask for a bump in recrut/budget – he would be able to play a shell game on joker and tell him there was no money. joker has NO idea about money and how much money a full stadium pulls in – if he did, he would have demanded more money for football activities.

  16. Kumarcat
    8:12 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    #14 it’s because Matt now answers to Mitch. I love Matt’s work, I visit the site very day and listen to his show every day. He is talented and makes it fun to talk UK basketball, so I’m not knocking him. He’ll, if I was in his position and given his level of access, I’d do the same thing. However, with respect to that, take any comments made about Barnhardt and the Athletic department at UK from Matt as lip service.

  17. manlySmell
    8:13 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    #12 look at the recruits that come out of every state in the south. They all have boat loads of talent. Kentucky has Aaron Boyd.

  18. JB
    8:23 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Ok… the accounting for UK basketball recruiting and UK football recruiting should be the same… right? If UK pays $336k to recruit 25 football players each year, what do they pay to recruit 4-5 basketball players?

    The $300k for lights at BBM is just one (of many) sign posts along the way that show where the priorities for this athletic department truly are. The $300k for lights (in and of itself) isn’t a big deal. The $300k for lights (when combined with how UK has historically and currently under funds the football program) is a huge deal.

    BTW… how much did UK spend on Fan Day?

  19. Jeff
    8:25 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Who is raising cane? A bunch of losers on Twitter? I agree with you Matt, money well spent on Big Blue Madness. I love Kentucky Football but haven’t been a season ticket holder since the 2009 Tennessee game when the staff decided to kneel down after Cobb led us straight down the field for what should have been the winning TD.

    I will say that I hope the University and the legislature agree on considerable renovations to Commonwealth in the upcoming session. Couple that with a coaching hire that rouses the fan base(fingers crossed Mitch!) and we may need to bump that recruiting budget if we really want to “compete (7-8 wins a year)” consistently in the SEC.

    I’m back on board as a season ticket holder come January with an agreement on Commonwealth and a new coach.

  20. Big Blue66
    8:27 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    you probably spend about the same to see / recruit any kid, difference is LSU Alabama and some others are recruiting 4 and 5 star kids when we spend the same on recruiting a 0 thru 3 star. Now I know at this point, spending money to see a 4 or 5 star that you arent going to get is probably wasteful if you want to maintain the same budget. UK needs to outspend our opponents 3 to 1 in order to gain, we have to see the 4 star kid and the no star kid and hope we land some of the 4 stars

  21. Dear Matt
    8:28 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with Deadspin. There is nothing wrong with spending a few hundred thousand bucks on the light show, but that is for only ONE day. ALL OF THE CATS’ RECRUITING every football player and we only spent 336K?!?!?
    LSU: $302K
    Mississippi State: $306K
    South Carolina: $248K
    Texas A&M: $240K
    If you look at these teams, they are in PRIME RECRUITING AREAS and DON’T NEED to spend any money. We are in a DEAD ZONE and next to TENNESSEE who is in a dead zone (not as bad as our zone) but look how much Tennessee spends over us. WAY MORE and they get WAY BETTER recruits. Enough said on my behalf… need to think a little bit.

    Look at the list and tell me where the dead zone teams are. There are three in the SEC with Vandy, UK, and Tennessee. Tennessee spends the most and usually wins twice the SEC games as UK and Vandy put together.

  22. Everyone has one
    8:29 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    But guys are injured…
    But we don’t have as much in state talent…
    But we don’t have a recruiting room…
    But we have a bonding issue…
    But he’s only had 3 years and you need 5…
    But the fans don’t care…

    But, but, but. The fact remains, we are at a critical juncture. By keeping Joker, we threw in the towel on $3.5 million (10K less tickets x $50/ticket x 7 games), alienated the fans, and everything played out EXACTLY how we expected.

    Spend $3-4M on a HC and another $1M on a top flight coordinator with another $1M on the rest of the assistants. That will create a winner. Once you have a winner, funding a stadium will happen. UK deserves it, no question, but when you aren’t competitive, you aren’t negotiating from a position of strength.

  23. JB
    8:34 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think Matt answers to Mitch.

    I do think he believes Mitch (for some reason) when Mitch says that UK spends plenty on the day to day operations of UK football (even though it is by far the lowest in the SEC as a percentage of the athletic budget).

  24. Lip set
    8:48 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    3). Matt..if that is truly you responding, I find your comment a bit demeaning to the people that follow u and have given u the credence that u do have. Your response basically stated that you were right and if someone don’t like it, so be it. U certainly have a right to an opinion but should refrain from acting like god. I think you are gettIng a bit full of yourself and if you don’t like that….so be it

  25. Davefromdagapl
    9:00 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    So explain to me again exactly how spending a couple grand more on recruiting is going to help? Does it simply equate to more visits? More phone calls? I mean I can’t imagine that there has been a case in which our coaching staff wanted to take a recruiting trip to see/communicate with a particular recruit and got denied because of funds. I’ll be the first to admitt I don’t know the nuts and bolts of this thing, but I just don’t see the point of discussion here.

  26. UK Homer
    9:03 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    21) You’re right on. It certainly appears schools with little in-state talent SHOULD spend $ on recruiting. If you can get in-state talent and spend $, then even better.

    24) Yeah, he gets too emotional, but at least he cares. Glad to see interaction.

  27. guest
    9:07 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I think the football recruiting budget should be reduced. If Joker can’t go to anyone’s home and stammer around and let people know he is our coach, we might have a chance.

  28. J
    9:10 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I have to agree that matts comment had a certain ” im better than you, smarter than you” tone to it. I also have followed the site for some time now. Its pretty obvious that as long as basketball keeps winning, bashing uk football and making excuses for mitch and the ukaa is going to be the norm.

  29. Truth
    9:21 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Matt has gotten himself great access to the basketball program (he earned it, no hating here), and he’s not going to put that in jeopardy by rocking the boat with the football program.

  30. Roll Tide
    9:21 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Can anyone remember a college football game that was CALLED?
    I have been a season ticket holder for 37 years. This will be my last season unless the administration hires a quality coach. Barnhart is spending millions on a new women’s softball field, so KY can host the SEC tournament in 2013! Who gives a crap?

  31. Booger
    9:33 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s BI*@H to Mitch——More money into football. Softball? Really? May get 50 people a game! Joker has no chance!!! No support for last 30 years!!! Time for a change–wither it’s Joker or someone else-give whomever a chance!!

  32. J
    9:39 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink


  33. msnthrop
    10:22 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    I would have thought any kind of analysis of recruiting “costs” would include all the various coaches salaries coupled with some kind of value set on facilities and accommodations. Personally I wouldn’t nearly as much value on the stadium as I would on the living quarters and practice/workout space…

  34. buzzkilla
    11:01 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    For the sake of Pete, it’s “cain.” You don’t raise cane, you raise cain…..

  35. uncle ron
    11:20 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    u cannot keep joker unless u give him a contract extension. current contract is for one more year and this would damage recruiting.

    AD had to be talked into hiring cal…we can only hope these same boosters get the petrino deal done….

  36. Yab
    11:23 pm October 14, 2012 Permalink

    This was on Saturday Down South too. Now everyone in the South knows we’re led by fiscally incompetent fools. Their article even showed how much more revenue football generated than basketball at UK.

  37. Isucc in Long Beach
    12:02 am October 15, 2012 Permalink

    Of course the money spent on Big Blue Madness is a no-brainer…we are the premier college basketball program and we must do it up right. I don’t think that has anything to do with football. UK basketball brings in enough money to pay for itself. I don’t know why anyone would complain about spending money for our basketball program.

  38. FireMe
    2:27 am October 15, 2012 Permalink

    You spend more on a light show than recruiting Football players and then piss and moan when the football team sux, do any of you realize how many players are on a FB team compared to a BB team??

  39. That guy
    10:32 am October 15, 2012 Permalink

    Go get a hand job from a hooker Jones.

  40. Sean
    12:18 pm October 15, 2012 Permalink

    UK should be spending as much if not more on recruiting than just about every other team in the SEC. Kentucky doesn’t have the in-state talent nor the historical justification to entice SEC caliber recruits without beating all the avenues to death and then some to find the guys who slip through the cracks of the recruiting services.

  41. KYWCAT
    1:38 pm October 15, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not totally sure why people believe that recruiting out of state cost more money. Maybe way out of state, in non-bordering states. But I’m with the above fans in that I’m sure none of the coaches are limited by recruiting budget. I cannot imagine they are told they cannot visit a player due to cost.
    It drives me crazy when people speak of upgrades to Commonwealth. What upgrades? Have you been to any other stadiums. Commonwealth is a gem compared to most. (probably due to little wear and tear from poor attendance) Do they want more seats we will never fill? More luxury boxes they will never sit in? I don’t get the talk of commonwealth upgrades. The locker rooms are on par. The stadium is the cleanest I have seen. The seating is comfortable. The score boards, monitors etc are top notch and the field is pristine. What are the upgrades you are hoping for. This is how I can tell when a fan is out of touch. Go to SC, UT, LSU, UF if you want to see stadiums that are rundown, and antiquated. Yet guess what they win and the fans all show up to watch the field. Not complain about the seats, monitors etc.
    We need an upgrade on our indoor facility and the Nutter practice facility is nothing to brag about but it could be worse. I believe our coaches don’t have the talent, know how or insight on how to recruit the players. Giving this bunch more money will do nothing.
    And stop the talk about softball etc. If you are a true blue fan and have any business sense, or sense of an AD responsibility you would understand the importance of the olympic sports to the University and UK pride. This is not money funneled from football. I’ll tell you the money that is funneled from football. The money we have lost from the revenue of tickets from those who claim to be UK fans and can’t even support the effort on the field. If you don’t go to the games you have no voice.