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Radio Ron’s Thursday News and Views

If you did not check ESPN often today, you might have missed that Louisville hosted the Kentucky Senior Olympic Games this afternoon. It was a great event once again and as in years past, the star of the Kentucky Senior Olympic Games was once again Radio Ron. The KSTV legend entered 12 events in the 75-79 age category and once again, took 12 gold medals. He became like a combination of Bruce Jenner, Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Jaleel White, taking down all competition while bring home the gold. Radio Ron has already been featured in the Courier Journal this week and his amazing talent (which includes the ability to croon hits from the Standards era) led him to get a tryout with “America’s Got Talent.” We met Radio Ron last year at the KSTV Casting Call and like with this year’s edition, it was great to meet a person who should get noticed on a larger scale. Since that time, he has made regular appearances on the show, calls in often to the radio and is a celebrity along the Big Blue Nation. We congratulate Radio Ron on his triumph today, while also saying “you’re welcome” to all the ladies out there for giving them a screensaver that will do them well after they finish their copy of “50 Shades of Grey.”

To the NEWS!:

— It was the first really slow day of the post National Championship news cycle as most of those around UK land are on vacation and very little is taking place. The biggest news is that the UK basketball schedule is likely to get released at some point next week. Kentucky has taken a bit of heat nationally for having a somewhat reduced non-conference schedule, but my guess is that when all is said and done, the schedule will be as difficult as anyone’s in the nation. The Cats are already scheduled to play a road game at Louisville, Maryland in Brooklyn, Duke in Atlanta and Georgetown in Washington DC (where interestingly, it was announced today that the East Regional will be held next year for the NCAA Tournament). There has been some speculation that a neutral site game is still to be added, but a source tells KSR that there have been a few hiccups in that game that could cause it to be postponed to next year. Mitch Barnhart told KSTV that there would be at least one more marquee home game added to the schedule, and when it is released next week, the release of that game will be the biggest news. If that marquee home game is a BCS school (which I am told it likely will be), then the Cats will play at least five BCS opponents in the non-conference, an amount that I would guess will be matched by very few schools in the Top 25.

— Much time was spent on radio and on the blog today talking about the interview with David Williams on the issue of football stadium renovations. If you scroll below, you can read most of the relevant information. What has been interesting to me however is the ambivalence of so many to Kentucky football at this time. While those that care about the program are deeply interested in this issue (I have had more feedback about this interview than almost any I have ever done), many more seem to care not at all about the future of the biggest money generator in the Athletics Department. I often get criticized for not focusing enough on football, but the reality is that when football is the subject, the site numbers go down, the phone calls dry up and the talk becomes only with the diehards. The much larger audience is engaged with basketball and even couch surfing, but football only draws the passion of a select few. In all the talk about who needs to do what to get renovations or excitement in the program, this truth needs to be accepted as well. Our fans care, but not nearly at the level of most of our opposition…a select few are passionate, but that passion pales in comparison to that seen in the basketball Big Blue Nation.

John Calipari is being floated as a possible Olympic coach in 2016 after the retirement of Coach K. Calipari has already received international experience with his work on the Dominican Republic team (which will continue this summer) and has a great relationship with many of the players that are likely to make up the core of the 2016 squad (Lebron, Rose, Wall, Cousins, Davis, etc). If he were to even be in the running for that job, it would showcase just how full circle his career has come in the last decade, from the controversial coach to the flag bearer for a country. If asked, I am sure he would jump at the chance and if he somehow gets the Dominican team qualified to this year’s Olympics, he will be one of the sure-fire top candidates.

— It is worth noting one last time that the NCAA changes on the charge call could be huge in college basketball next season. The college game was severely hampered last year by the tendency of referees to reward nearly every defensive player who attempted to slide in and take a charge at the last minute. The NCAA noted this tendency in its rules alteration and said that there should be more latitude given to offensive players to get to the basket, especially after leaving their feet. If the referees take the suggestions seriously, and my guess is that they will, a team like Kentucky, that uses penetration much more than other teams, will surely benefit. Kentucky was hindered often last season by overzealous, charge happy referees. This year they may get the benefit of a different style.

We will be back at it tomorrow on the radio and will begin looking at the 2013 recruiting class targets for UK. It is shaping up to be a HUGE haul for the Cats. Until then…

Article written by Matt Jones

38 Comments for Radio Ron’s Thursday News and Views

  1. jpgott2
    11:47 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    I have to disagree with your football comment. There are a ton of fans that want UK football to be great, and are interested (look at the attendance figures during the solid yet not great Brooks years! We were Top-25 on a yearly basis, while our team has rarely been anywhere close to Top-25). UK fans have supported a product that they just want to be COMPETITIVE in the SEC, when they know the odds are stacked against them. When the momentum of the team not only stalls, but starts to fall fast in the opposite direction, many UK fans become discouraged that things are just going to go back to where they have always been (they are).

  2. jpgott2
    11:48 pm May 16, 2012 Permalink

    meant to say our ATTENDANCE was To-25 of a yearly basis….

  3. BlueHaze
    12:07 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Our fans care far more than you may realize about Kentucky football. The problems is, the University does not.. so I like many others that care, are tuning out football…. Just like the University has done.

  4. catben
    12:27 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    It seems like the biggest fear that the UKAA should have is that apathy has taken overtaken the anger when it comes to the UK football fan. If season tickets take as big of a hit as it seems they are going to, EVERY sport at UK could be affected. If football keeps losing paying fans, then UK basketball will have to pick up the slack, this is bad for all!!

  5. Computer Blue
    12:31 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I’m a football fan but it was very hard to enjoy most of the football games last year. And sadly I see no reason to get excited this year.

  6. JBR
    12:33 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah Matt…I think that you are right and wrong at the same time on the football thing. That segment of the fan base that is all basketball…you are correct, UK football is not basically non-existent to them. Then there are people like me…I am huge football guy…and I am a die hard UK fan. With that said, I have given up on our program. For the first time in decades, I did not renew my season tix this year…and it really saddens me. BUT, it is not the issue above that has brought me to that conclusion, but Joker, and the fact that this experiment is continuing. Look, Joker just is not D1 head coaching material, period. There is nothing that happens with our program on and off the field that ANYONE should think otherwise. The bonding stuff…tough to do anything about, but the coach…hey, Mitch realized in 2 years that BCG was not the answer…so why prolong this misery that is Joker?

    I am a football guy…and I am a UK guy. I love my UK basketball as well, but I am deeply saddened that I cannot have a D1 football team to get excited about each year. It just makes no financial sense in these times to spend money on the product that we get.

  7. UKBlue
    12:36 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    The bonding issue has brought out one important issue: it shows just how stupid people apparently are when it comes to money, common sense, reality, and the truth !!

    Even if we remain horrible at it, we have to some way some how protect the largest revenue generating sport being football; we may not like it, it might be painful, but in order to protect the long term financial future of UK athletics, we have no other choice. Yes even if we improve Commonwealth we may still suck, but we are defiantly going to suck if we don’t do something, so we are better off doing something then doing nothing.

    To all the idiots that think UK should leave the SEC so we can win in football; shut up, here is your sign that says you’re stupid & wear it proudly. Leaving the most powerful conference with the (right now) second largest TV contract in college sports would be the absolute dumbest idea in the world. To all people that don’t understand: this bonding issue has absolutely nothing to do with tuition or of it going up.

  8. UK2K14
    12:47 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    With all due respect Matt, you do a great job with the site and especially with UK basketball; but I think the lack of interest when you guys talk about football is not always with the football team itself but with the quality of reporting that is aimed at football. I am a huge football guy, and a huge fan of UK basketball. But Kentucky basketball is the only reason I am as big of a basketball fan as I am.

  9. frankoa
    12:54 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Right on 6! My brother and I spent many a late Saturday night driving back to Owenboro so disappointed….the 180 miles seemed like 300.And then we had to get and go to church with all the negative feelings.JBR no one could have express
    ed it better!

  10. Mkgistebow
    12:54 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    You’r comments about the charging rule change are biased and ignorant. The rule really hasn’t changed (thank god), the NCAA basically reminded the officials of the criteria for a charge call. If an offensive player, no matter what team he’s on or how big/athletic he is, comes barreling down the lane and a young man slides into his path and establishes position before the offensive player arrives then reward the defender every time. The charge is the toughest & most selfless play in basketball and is a defensive players’ biggest tool. I am sick of people complaining about the rule and would rather they not comment on it if they don’t like it.

  11. kywildcat
    1:10 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Matt let me ask you a personal question, how did it feel to get owned by david williams?

  12. DTG
    2:00 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I have to disagree with your view of BBN. It’s all about the product that’s put on the field/court. If we were to have a good football team, we’d have phenominal support. Unfortunately we don’t and therefore the support is drastically down. You certainly would not be writing this back when we were ranked and Woodson was taking on Tebow with GameDay in town or after the LSU victory. Johnny come lately. Is basketball king? Yes. But BBN is also fully vested in football when deserved.

  13. ummmmm ok
    3:11 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    10. I agree that the charge is selfless and is a defensive tool. However if you watched alot of college bball last season then you have to know that refs were rewarding defenders that were still sliding in after the offensive player left his feet as long as they were outside the arc. So I think it is a good thing that the NCAA is making the officials aware of how the rule is supposed to be enforced.

  14. It Is My Humble Opinion
    4:14 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    The Hoosier Loosers don’t have their prized victory last year if not for the “overzealous, charge happy referees”.

  15. Dave in Kabul
    4:25 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    O f course, people are ambivalent towards UK Football. It has been terrible since Bryant left for Texas and no one in power seems to be interested in changing the dynamic. Football at UK is only there to justify membership in the SEC. The SEC needs a cupcake or two. UK serves that purpose. UK Football is the sacrificial lamb.

  16. Mitchdoesntcare
    6:02 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Matt evertime I almost start to give you credit you do something or say something as stupid as you just did, people who die hard are concerened about football but the average fan knows that joker is horrible there is absolutely no excitement around the program and that joker

  17. Put in Richie
    6:19 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    6 – UK was 5-2 at home last season and was in the UL game until the final series of the game. Season ticket holders got to see 5 wins, 2 of which were SEC wins that included the streak ending win over UT. We also played Georgia very competitively on the road late in the season and they figure to be a team that is Top 5 pre-season. I think Joker would agree with the fans that things haven’t gone as expected, but I wouldn’t quit on this team now.

    UL lost to Marshall and FIU last season and barely beat an awful UK team. I’m sorry, but beating a few Big East teams that were as bad as Ole Miss last year doesn’t impress me. If we beat UL at Papa John’s this fall, I bet some fans will start to sing a different tune.

  18. Banned
    7:03 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Matt, get off your F’n high horse. We are NOT ambivalent to UK football. I care more about the football program than you could ever imagine. My family had season tickets from the time I was born, till I went to UK myself. I have even had tickets in my adult life. Guess what, there have been WAY more crap seasons than successful seasons over that nearly 40 years. Matt, i’m sure I have been to more games and bowl games than you – so i’ve actually got more invested in UK football than you, blogger boy. Just because I know that any money spent on upgrading Commonwealth will NOT provide a better product on the field – doesn’t mean i’m “ambivalent.”

    Coaching and players are what’s going to turn around this program, not a stadium. What coach over the past 35+ years have we had that was really worth a damn? Claiborne, Curry, Morris, Brooks, Joker? Maybe Hal, but he couldn’t keep his coaches in check.

    Matt, I was a UK fan before the name “Matt Jones” came into play – and I’ll be a UK fan long after we have forgotten the name “Matt Jones.”

  19. Once Again
    7:12 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Once again, I decided to read this entry once again. And, once again, I was distracted by the overuse of the phrase “once again.”

  20. Adam
    7:29 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Isn’t it extremely early to be releasing the basketball schedule? I thought it usually didn’t come out until August?

  21. Real Cats Fan
    7:48 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    #10, are you a Duke fan or a Hoosier fan? It was quite obvious that the ref’s were rewarding players way to frequently for acting rather than actually playing defense. I was getting sick of watching defenders flopping to the floor like they had been hit by a round from a 9 mm. Yes, if the offensive player is out of control and the defender establishes position before his opponent leaves his feet, then by all means reward him with a charging call. But if the guy has already left his feet and is on his way to a posterizing dunk, do not reward the defender who fell asleep on the play and is trying to save face with a last second flop, potentially injuring himself or his opponent. As the players get more aggressive and athletic, I think it is important for the officials to get this play under control before a player gets hurt and is lost for the season, hence the reason for the arc. They also need to get a handle on all of the hard fouls that have no intention of stealing the ball, just “stopping” the opponent.

  22. Echo 1
    7:52 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    #3 sums up my feelings exactly. When the university becomes dedicated to football, perhaps the fanbase will too.
    As far as Radio Ron….. It is a crime the man is not on the radio show more often. Give the man a gig. He is great.

  23. Real Cats Fan
    7:53 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    BTW, regarding Radio Ron, has anyone checked this dude’s birth certificate? No way he looks like he is over 75!

  24. Al's IndiCats
    8:18 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    When I first met my wife some 37 years ago she couldn’t care less about any sport muchless UK football. Last year we watched several games and she was calling Joker’s offensive plays before they even snapped the ball, he WAS that predictable. If she can call a play before it happens, what does the opposing coaches do? I know Jokers a UK guy and he loves the University above all others. If we can’t win against teams that we’re supposed to beat, and get routed by all the others what other discourse does the fan have? You wouldn’t spend your entertainment money on a movie or show that you already know that’s terrible. I sincerely hope he has a GREAT year this season, but unlike the game against UT, he HAS to become less predictable.

  25. Azubuike's Bicep
    8:18 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I never considered myself a huge Kentucky Football fan until this past year. I found myself making sure that I was always somewhere to watch the game, similar to basketball season. Not to mention that for some reason, I could name almost every starter on last years team, both offense and defense. But it really hit me after our loss to Vandy. For some reason, that loss bothered me so bad that I was in a terrible mood for the rest of the day.

    So from that experience, I am pretty confident when I say that all we need as fans, is quality. It’s the whole Field of Dreams reference. If they build our program, or atleast make a whole hearted effort to put quality out there, then the fans will come. It’s not that people don’t care. I believe that people WANT to care. It’s just hard to do that when it seems almost inevitable that it’s going to end up bad.

  26. O'boro Cat fan
    8:22 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Again, I speak to this issue — The economics of UK Athletics, specifically football, are such that regardless of passion of the fan base, goes against the University of Kentucky’s academia!! Yet,the cash flow to pay a bond indebtedness is present if the University commits to the bond holders said revenues. This can be done, but it should not be done to the determent of the Kentucky state tax payers should the revenue stream fall short (i.e. YUM! Center, even BBN will pay for this arena like it or not!). On a side note; Does anyone know what is the state of Kentucky’s credit rating?

  27. jake the snake
    8:30 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I will never be ambivalent about UK football. Pessimistic, maybe, but not ambivalent. Looking forward to football is what gets me through the summer.

  28. O'boro Cat fan
    8:39 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    The following is what I found in reference to the State of Kentucky’s credit rating —
    Meanwhile, 24/7 Wall Street may have overstated matters when it described Kentucky’s S&P rating of “AA-” as “extremely weak,” which it said supported “our assessment that it is the worst-run state in the country.”

    It is true that Kentucky’s credit rating is among the lowest of the 50 states.

    However, that doesn’t mean that “AA-” is an “extremely weak” rating. S&P defines an “AA” rating as indicating “(v)ery strong capacity to meet financial commitments.” The minus sign indicates that Kentucky’s rank is at the lower level of the “AA” rating.

    California was rated “A-.”

    So one wonders: When a dramatically wealthier state such as California bears a credit rating two levels below Kentucky, how is it not the one saddled with a No. 50 rating as the worst-managed state?
    End of message

  29. Real UK Fan
    8:44 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I am not, in general, a fan of football. Not just college football but all football. Just not a sport that appeals to me. However, if UK is going to play the sport it should be supported and I definitely want them to win. However, when the administration of a BCS football program stoops to the point of hiring a head coach with no D1 head coaching experience, what kind of signal does that send. On top of that the UK admins don’t seem to be working with the legislature to get the laws changed so progress on the facilities can be made. Since the administration has no interest in the football program how can they expect the fan base to have any other attitude?

  30. UK Freshmen
    8:49 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    If the change in the basketball schedule is not a big deal, then why did Cal make it one??

  31. bluebiscuit
    9:25 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Radio Ron deserves his very own post. Way to go Radio Ron!

  32. Greg
    9:41 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Radio Ron is in his 70’s?

  33. duh
    9:49 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    30 bc Cal makes everything a big deal. It’s what he does. duh!

  34. zcats
    9:50 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Internet traffic and phone calls to a radio show are a measure of what is hot at the moment not the long term interest or potential support for the football program. If you remember a few years ago interest for UK basketball was waning as well due to a string of Tubby Smith and Gillispie led uninspiring seasons. When football is competitive, like during the best years of the Curci, Mumme, and Brooks regimes, the fan base becomes rabid. Joker’s two seasons have demonstrated a steady decline in the level of play and expectations. Barnhart has yet to outline what he wants to do with football while standing solidly behind Joker for mostly moralistic reasons and deriding those who complain about the performance of the program. Fans are also turned off by the administration’s excuses for the poor state of the program being tied to huge construction projects with complicated funding policies and politics when a more understandable measure of program support, coaching salaries, remains dead last in the conference. These concerns are further underlined by high coaching salaries in other sports which are in several cases paid by football revenues. Football supporters are discouraged by an apparently hapless coach, an indifferent and apparently obstructionist athletic director, and no light at the end of the tunnel. A better measure of interest in football is the fact that UK ranks in the top 25 in football attendance yearly despite not having a winning SEC record in over 30 years. Give UK fans something to get excited about and they will call your show and hit your site.

  35. korn
    9:59 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Slap on some fresh paint and save the money.

  36. Dustin
    10:38 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with many of the comments above. Basketball fans in general come to this site only for basketball. For the most part football coverage is put on the back burner 8 months a year. So that forces Football fans to choose other blogs or sites such as Arron’s or mr. Sec etc. It was easy to be supportive of the brooks teams and the fans showed it as uk football tickets were a hot commodity & there was much more national exposure. Joker has killed that momentum and most fans like myself are waiting for the program to be reignighted whether joker does it this year or a coaching change is made. We crave football trust me. I can’t get enough. Just look at the national ratings increase for college and pro football. Football drives the train!

  37. Chris Carrier
    11:09 am May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Wow – Radio Ron looks great for his age. I would have put him at mid-60’s maybe.

  38. Jungle Bob
    12:24 pm May 17, 2012 Permalink

    Congrats Radio Ron!!!