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Joker: “We Really Have An Unlimited Budget in Recruiting”



One of the main scapegoats fans use for Kentucky’s lack of recruiting success is budget. Especially in the aftermath of Big Blue Madness’s Broadway-scale production that is rumored to have cost almost as much as football’s entire recruiting budget, football fans often feel that football gets the short end of the stick with it comes to financing. However, when asked by Larry Vaught at this week’s SEC Teleconference, Joker Phillips denied that football had trouble securing funds for the recruiting budget:


“Each year what they go on (to set the budget) is what we have spent the past year,” Phillips said. “We have never even looked at it. We have never asked for something and not been able to get it.”


“We really have an unlimited budget in recruiting. We spent over $500,000 on airlines and official visits last year. That’s a lot of money. That is plenty for us,” Phillips said.


Okay. So if recruiting budget isn’t the problem, what is? If you don’t need money, what do you need? If money is a non-issue and we’re having a hard time recruiting players in our own backyard who want to player for higher-caliber SEC teams, shouldn’t Kentucky be recruiting on a more national level and reaching out to players a little further away? Obviously Mitch Barnhart wants the football team to succeed and is willing to do what it takes to compete in the SEC. Private plane to visit recruits? Better practice facilities? Ask, Joker, and maybe you shall receive.



Article written by Kristen Geil

24 Comments for Joker: “We Really Have An Unlimited Budget in Recruiting”

  1. catcrawler
    1:13 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    LSU’s Mettenberger is terrible, I hope they didn’t spend money recruiting him.

  2. RIP Mel Turpin
    1:14 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Recruiting is a skill. It requires knowledge and ability. The key is to help a teenager what they want. Does Joker have the skill? Do the people he has hired around him? Is Kentucky just swimming upstream against too many obstacles. No. No. No. Change is inevitable. Embrace it.

  3. DoubleA
    1:18 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Bit of an ignorant post to some extent. Recruiting while important, is not the only thing. Their is much more of ceiling in terms of whats needed to be spent on recruiting and that is what Joker is eluding to. I think most fans out there would agree it has more to do with facilities then anything else. We drop off significantly in that regard when compared with our SEC counterparts. When recruits come here for basketball, they are amazed by the facilities in which they will find themselves training and the storied arena in which they play.

    So take the bold question out of your post and answer that one for yourself.

  4. Ha
    1:18 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Did I read this correctly? “Obviously Mitch Barnhart wants the football team to succeed and is willing to do what it takes to compete in the SEC.” You can’t be serious.

  5. bluristhurr
    1:20 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    #2 Amen, and the answers are NO. After Joker saying this he has no excuses except his players are always hurt.

  6. jymbo
    1:38 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Joker just put another nail in his coffin. just goes to show how dumb he is when it comes to coaching decisions.

  7. Joker Phillips
    1:40 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe money is not the issue when going on visits. The problem is we are supposed to be competing against Tenn, Georgia, etc,, for recruits and when and if they come to Lexington is when we fail to impress with our sub par facilities. It’s one of the big reasons we beat out Middle Tenn and Youngstown St but rarely (really never) beat out the big schools. Think of it from a 17 or 18 year old kids perspective….facilities and cool modern stuff matter to them.

  8. Junior
    1:42 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    The coach could be the issue. Unless you actually give the money to the player, they aren’t coming to play for a coach named Joker.

  9. Joe
    1:45 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    “Today I announce my resignation from the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky. I am taking my talents to Louisville to be an assistant coach with the Shawnee High School team. Thank you very much for your support.”

  10. bobby p
    1:51 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    I could get kids to come there if we practiced on an asphalt parking lot and our weight room was sticks w buckets filled w mud on the end, its more about the coach, look at Tenn great facilities but no coach, it’s all about getting a name the kids believe in and is a proven winner, I will win anywhere I go regardless of facilities

  11. catcrawler
    1:52 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    ok, Mettenberger is capable of making good passes.

  12. nassau65
    1:55 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Here Joker, take this shovel and dig a little deeper hole fer yerself, pal.

  13. Jared lorenzen's belly
    2:01 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    How bout we use that money to pay Georgia to go home and not even play this game tonight. It’ll be a better outcome!

    2:28 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    “If you don’t need money, what do you need?” Well, to start with how about a football program with a history of success?? Money can’t buy that. A football program with a history of sending kids to the NFL??? Joker can spend like the President on recruiting but it will not make KY any more attractive to prospective players because the good ones are going to go to schools with a proven record of success. THAT’S NOT US!!!!!

    Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

  15. Tired of Being 1 of 12 games
    2:29 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks for that quote, we can show it to the new coach so he will not be afraid to come.

  16. facts
    2:43 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    “It’s an unlimited budget….and I was more than happy with my decision to spend it all on La’Rod King.”

  17. Rixter
    2:56 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    It’s obvious we can’t recruit against Alabama, Florida, LSU, Georgia (who can?)….so why do we continue to try?? We should take advantage of our status as the northernmost school in the SEC, and venture into Big Ten country to recruit. There are plenty of great players coming out of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and a few in Indiana. We could get some of those guys…..

  18. Reality
    2:56 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    The last paragraph in this post is just absurd. Yes, we have trouble recruiting in our own backyard, so why should it be any easier to go afar? If a 4/5 star recruit from SEC territory doesn’t want to come to UK, how is UK going to get top level recruits from out west or the northeast? So you’re saying that NONE of the previous coaches, Claiborne/Curry/Mumme/Morriss/Brooks and now Phillips have ASKED for upgraded facilities or increased recruiting $$?? I’m not sure what point Joker is trying to make, but I’ll say it. You can give UK $1 million per year for recruiting, but if it doesn’t go hand in hand with MUCH better facilities, history, tradition, etc. then its not going to matter. As a side note, I would be ashamed and embarassed if UK lowers itself to hiring the lying cheater Bobby Petrino. Besides, even you deluded souls that want him here have to know he would take the first offer elsewhere that was even the slightest upgrade to UK. Or quit in midseason a la his turning his back on the Atlanta Falcons.

  19. ohhai
    3:55 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    I will take a coach who wins and leaves uk over one that gets beat by 50 every week and forfeits games any day of the week and twice on saturday

  20. Ohio Talent
    4:31 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    @ 17…

    First point, the kids that grow up in Ohio and the Midwest want to play in the Big Ten not the SEC. I know that may be hard to believe but if anyone here lives in Cincinnati, they should know from working with folks on the Ohio side of the river that they hate the SEC. Don’t think that doesn’t reverberate down the ranks to the teenagers.

    Second point, does that really help us? Its been documented at length that one of the biggest reasons the Big Ten is struggling over the last 10 years both nationally and head to head against the SEC is the recruits from the Midwest aren’t coming close to the athleticism and speed of athletes from the Southeast. SEC teams need speed…recruiting big in Ohio in no way guarantees that.

  21. tyson
    4:40 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    It makes me sick to see NUMBER 16 IN THE COUNTRY, Louisville, on tv having as much success as they are while we are so terrible. Louisville has every disadvantage we do, but their future looks bright while ours–not so much.

  22. think again
    5:19 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    #21 UofL may have every disadvantage UK has….except for one big one. They don’t play in the SEC. Why does UofL’s future look bright? They are pretty much on the outside looking in on the BCS. Big East is going down fast. Yes, they are #16, but they get ZERO national attention due to the horrible league they play in. As a UK fan, would I trade places with them? probably, but their future is very uncertain. Put UofL in the SEC and they would be about the #6 team in either division.

  23. lonnieb
    5:49 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    People will probably bash me for saying this…..but I see a TON of young talented players. The problem is they are not put in the right places to be successful.

    Our defense is never in the right places…..we run 3 yard routes on 3rd and 10….its all just scared bull shit. We never run trickery. We try to line in and beat SEC at normal football. We are always the underdog in the SEC and play so scared. Dink…dunk….dink….dunk…..draw 4 yard loss…..3rd and 11 from midfield….draw….punt….why would we ever throw the ball past the chains

  24. TD
    7:48 pm October 20, 2012 Permalink

    IMO , if we can’t hire what some people call a high level coach , ( Petrino, Boise St coach etc.)we may as well keep Joker , we don’t need to make lateral move , we need to go for a home run