If you have followed the site this summer, you know that the issue of UK football funding for renovation projects has been one that we have looked into extensively. After years of having UK football project requests stymied in the Kentucky Senate, this summer saw a breakthrough, as Senate President David Williams said that if a dedicated revenue project was requested separately, he would approve the request to allow for bonding. This represented a potential major change in the UK football process and created some excitement around a potential $100 million renovation. But today comes news from WHAS that Governor Steve Beshear will appoint David Williams to a vacant judgeship and that Williams will accept it, removing himself from the Senate. It will mark a tremendous change in career path for the Senate President and one time Governor candidate, and once again puts the issue of UK football funding in flux.
As of this moment, the issue of Commonwealth Stadium Renovation funding sits with the University President and Board of Trustees. The folks in UK Athletics once again want funding for Commonwealth Stadium and a new baseball stadium and it is up to the University to put together a request, hopefully separate from other University requests, to send to the Legislature. Williams had committed to such a request, however his departure does not necessarily end hope. He was often seen as the biggest opponent of such funding and one could assume that with him gone (and his previous support before his departure), a much more favorable result could be found in Frankfort. The new Senate Majority leader will likely be Robert Stivers from Clay County, and one assumes a good Manchester native will join Greg Stumbo in the house and the Governor to support such a measure. But FIRST, it must be approved by President Capilouto and the Board of Trustees, potentially the biggest hurdle still remaining. We will know the status of that by the end of the year.
So things may have not changed a great deal, but it is classic UK football bad luck that right after Williams commits to renovation, he leaves. Still the future of Commonwealth Stadium renovation looks brighter than it has ever previously.