How far was John Calipari willing to go to get Indiana back on Kentucky’s schedule? He offered to play the Hoosiers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis — twice! Today on The Dan Dakich Show, Cal said he offered a pretty attractive olive branch to the Hoosiers in hopes of renewing the series, but Indiana turned him down.
“I offered two games in Indianapolis. My governor — at the time, Governor Beshear — was not happy with me. ‘Why don’t we play one game in Kentucky?’ I said, ‘Because I can’t play in Louisville. They tell me I can’t get in that building.’ So we’re going to play two. I called for the football arena. Both of us get 25,000 people at the game; it’ll be nuts. And I was told no, we’re not doing that. I said, ‘Okay.'”
Of course, Indiana insisted on a home-and-home series while Cal prefers neutral sites, the sticking point in negotiations.
“Nothing has changed,” Cal said. “Everything I do with our schedule is about Kentucky. It’s not about another program, it’s not about TV, it’s okay, what’s good [for us]. What I like to do is neutral games because neutral games prepare you for the NCAA Tournament. I haven’t changed.”
“When you say you offered two games, you offered to go back to back years to Indiana?” Dakich exclaimed. “To play in the dome? Two years in Indy?”
“Oh yeah, and the dome is run by an Indiana graduate. I talked to him. He said, ‘Are you kidding me? Let’s do this.'”
That obviously didn’t happen, but Cal said he’s always willing to listen.
“I have no issues,” Cal said. “As a matter of fact, Tom and I are friends. Arch [Miller] is like family. They’ve got an unbelievable coach. The staff is top notch guys, some of which I’ve worked with.”
Prediction: The series returns in the 2018-19 season…with Romeo Langford starting for the Hoosiers.
Cal’s comments on the series at the 19-minute mark: