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Mitch Barnhart Talks About the State of UK BB/FB/Facilities

Yesterday on the radio show, I had a 20 minute conversation with Mitch Barnhart about the state of UK athletics. In the interview, Mitch starts by talking a lot about the championship, the success of Calipari and how appreciative he is of the type of kids that have been at Kentucky during the Calipari era. Barnhart also discusses how emotional it was for him to watch Kentucky win the championship, something he dreamed of seeing when he came to Lexington.

— The topic then goes to Rupp Arena renovation, where I asked Barnhart where the process was at this point. He replied:

“Right now it is in neutral. They are trying to figure out a lot of the pieces of where the funding mechanisms are going to come from. Are they going to have enough support from the state? Are they going to have to be totally private?…We have told them that we are not going to sign a new lease agreement until we find out if it makes sense for Kentucky. And they have not been able to bring us a new lease agreement with any projections or construction at this point. They have some plans…they are interesting…but anything they do to the arena, whether renovated or new is probably two years down the road.”

Then I asked Mitch if it was fair to say that the city and UK are not on the same page right now. He replied:

“I think that is fair. There has been a lot of dialogue, but there really has been no consensus.”

— We also discussed the state of the football program. I said to Barnhart that I had not seen the football fanbase this low. I asked him if he was confident about the direction of the football program. He replied:

“I think confidence is a scary term to use. What I would say is that I am comfortable that Joker is working his rear off to get us back to where we want to be. No one is ever confident until you have to go and play games.”

— There was then a long discussion about the problems facing UK football funding. I think this is a must-listen for any UK football fan as Mitch firmly states that he believes the Ky State Legislature is the roadblock to major football renovation. He says the structural barriers put on the program by the state are found nowhere else in the SEC and that no major renovation can be done until they are changed. If you wonder about money spent on football, this section needs to be heard.

The entire interview is fairly telling and worth your time this afternoon.

Article written by Matt Jones

32 Comments for Mitch Barnhart Talks About the State of UK BB/FB/Facilities

  1. Ich Heisse Neil
    1:07 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Why does Joker have to work his butt off to get us BACK to where we want to be? Wasnt he the coach in waiting while we were where we wanted to be?

  2. Blue Balls
    1:12 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    How dare you utter the F word one day after Nerlens commits?

  3. GoCats2
    1:19 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe when we renovate Rupp we can give it a Flat Top AND a Unibrow.

  4. Kevin C.
    1:20 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    There you have it folks….Barnhart has no confidence in Joker.

    I’m sure this is Joker’s final probationary year; he either gets it turned around in a big way, or he’s done.

  5. SeaKat
    1:31 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Football is doomed

  6. GraphicArtsHigh SchoolStudent
    1:32 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Off topic question: can someone tell me if Doran Lanb was the first player to through up the 3 goggles? If not, who was? thanks

  7. MonsterMash24
    1:33 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    I wish everyone knew of the problems like anti-UK fans who like to shovel dirt on the program everytime they can and make fun of the facilities when there is nothing UK can do…they say the administration doesnt care when it’s not true…Its the state’s fault and in particular David Williams who is proud to turn Uk down every cahance he can get…plus the donors aren’t donating the football program, it’s all for basketball.. As for the renovation Rupp talk…i think UK is waiting for a New Rupp to be built because the city has no idea what they are doing.

  8. the Big Dog
    1:41 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Football is going on life support. That needs to be Mitch’s top priority. Every day there is a new headline and we sink deeper into the abyss.

  9. Southern Illinois Cat Fan
    1:43 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    #6 It started with Rudy Fernandez and a couple of guys that played for the Trailblazers. They were making fun of him saying he couldn’t see at all and he came down the court, hit a three, and threw it up at his teammates. That, my friends, is the true origination of three goggles. The only reason I know this is I saw it on Sportscenter a couple of years ago and they were talking about it and telling the story with the current Trailblazers. There’s your fun fact for the day!

  10. Locker Room
    1:50 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t I read on that they were doing a new locker room down at Rupp and it would be ready by this coming season?

  11. lldjr
    1:54 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Last year should have been Joker’s last year…thanks Mitch.

  12. Adam
    2:01 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    9-WE did it first..check the dates of your story. I read the same thing but Lamb had it his FROSH year

  13. Stanley Roberts
    2:02 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Discount ticket prices and drastically improve the tailgating = $1M a year and a four-win season. Build new facilities to keep up with thy neighbor = $20M project, raised ticket prices and four wins.

    Mitch has to be scared because a BBN revolt against the football program is not far off if we don’t have a great coach in place after Joker gets fired.

  14. bluesince66
    2:02 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    I love college football so much. It sure would be nice to have a real team to cheer for. Guess that we’re the SEC will just have to do for awhile.

  15. Tony
    2:07 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Listening to Mitch talk about the football program sure doesn’t help build my confidence for the upcoming season and/or seasons to come….

  16. fb>bb
    2:08 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Maybe we need to start an #occupykylegislature campaign to get the state to allow UK to to spend money on football. Contact yours here:

  17. Southern Illinois Cat Fan
    2:12 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    12. The story on espn was done after the entire country was wondering about Lamb doing it for UK and where it came from. I’m a UK fan too, hence my moniker, but I don’t think you are correct. This was only lambs second year, Trailblazers did it about four years ago. Doesn’t matter to me either way, I like it. Not trying to get in a pissing match, but that’s what the story I saw on espn showed.

  18. Southern Illinois Cat Fan
    2:15 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    12. Here’s the link just so you know…. Check it out and read for yourself.

  19. Heavens2Betsy
    2:40 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    UK ought to do what sports teams have always done…move. Why don’t we move UK to, say, Cincinnati? That’ll teach ’em!

  20. AdolphRapp
    2:54 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    im so tired of hearing Patrick whitmers voice over the crowd when i listen to a uk broadcast. Take down the white whale and put something up like they had at the final four. half the problem with rupp is u cant see well enough . Its sad bcuz Uk has so much yet they are so slow in bringing anything up to date. Please for the sake of peace please install a new speaker and video system at rupp. Im embaressed to show that thing year after year. Go Cats!!!!

  21. Cameron
    3:08 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    One problem with what Mitch says… U of L just renovated their football stadium. How did they do it?

  22. Duh
    3:37 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Whats his roadblock to hiring a real coach?

  23. SteveM
    3:41 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    #8 I hope UK football is on life support…..that means it will soon be dead. Barnhart is an embarrassment and I for one will not support football until they hire a competent coach and schedule someone other than Akron and Charleston Southern for their home games.

  24. Mark
    3:47 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Ive said it before, I’ll say it agian: I love Joker, great guy, but UNTIL we get a big name coach UK football is not going to chnage. Period.

  25. Ghostofbearbryant
    3:47 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Why does Barnhart take the stance that football is a victim of circumstances rather than be the leader (as he’s PAID to be) and start talking about changing circumstances?

  26. STEVE!
    4:34 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    21, 25 – Amen, brothers! All we hear from Mitch are excuses and more excuses why nothing has been done in his 10 years. His job as the CEO of UK Sports is to raise funds for facilities, not beg the Legislature. Jurich doesn’t seem to have any problem getting money for football stadium upgrades and basketball arenas. Cal raised the money for the Rupp Arena locker room upgrades. Maybe UK should make him AD, too.

  27. Ohfortheloveof
    4:56 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    #26 – Louisville has more corporate money than Lexington. Easier to get big dollars. And, I think our bowl string was pretty good under Mitch; better than any time before. I still do not get WHY PEOPLE THINK WE’LL EVER BE GOOD IN FOOTBALL! What is this based on exactly?

  28. playersfan
    5:20 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    It does not make sense to spend $320 million on a renovation that only increases seating by 2-3 thousand, when you could sell 35,000 seats! Who wants the drunks in the boxes, everytime I see in a box, basketball, hockey, football, the people are not watching the game, just drinking and talking, with the exception of the owners box.

  29. the Big Dog
    5:33 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    27- They sell beer and booze. That’s why the Tards lead the country in basketball revenue as well. We could do it too if the SEC would let us.

  30. Common Sense
    5:56 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    If you don’t like Mitch Barnhart, you are an idiot. He has done more for UK athletics since 2002 than any other AD in that same time period. UK is currently 21st in the Director’s Cup, which is second in the SEC, and the highest rank in well over a decade. He has increased donations to the university by 500,000 from 09-10. And for the FIRST time in UK history, ALL scholarships in our 22 varsity sports are completely funded. Now tell me why he is a bad AD?

  31. Big Daddy
    8:02 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    Mitch is a great guy doing a great job. I’ll say what I did yesterday, like my father told me years ago, “UK will never have a football team so quit worrying about it. I’ve been following them for 40 years and it’s never going to happen.”

  32. Fan Out of the Boat
    11:00 pm April 12, 2012 Permalink

    I have been attending UK football since the days of Stoll Field. I was a kid and attended my first game there. This year, I will NOT be attending UK football games. I am NOT renewing my season tickets. Enough is enough. I will not spend one more dollar to support a program that is not willing to hire a coach capable to taking Kentucky to the next level. As for those who say UK will never have a successful program, save it. I’ve heard it all before–and we have yet to hire a REAL football coach. So we really don’t know. We can only guess. As for me, I will spend my Saturdays this Fall doing things far more enjoyable than watching an inept coach pretend to be an SEC-caliber coach while the team continues to struggle to beat mediocre opponents and more often than not get blown out by legitimate teams. Even Vandy’s program is on the way up. But not Kentucky. That speaks volumes. Good luck, Joker. Keep some cardboard boxes handy for packing.