After a banner year for UK Athletics, Mitch Barnhart’s stock continues to rise. UK’s athletic director was just named the chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2020-21 season.
“Being asked to serve in this role by my wonderful colleagues on this committee is one of the highest honors I’ve ever received,” Barnhart said. “The 10 of us carry a huge responsibility, not just with the selection, seeding and bracketing of teams each year, which draws the greatest amount of attention, but also as a group charged with working with other constituents to manage the health of the sport of college basketball. It’s an incredible challenge and one we will continue to take very seriously.”
Barnhart will serve as vice chair this season, working with committee chair Kevin White – who is the Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke University. This season will be his fourth on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, which is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing teams for the NCAA Tournament. Each term lasts five years.
Barnhart, who was named Athletic Director of the Year by Sports Business Journal in May, is UK’s third athletic director to serve as chair of the men’s basketball committee, joining Bernie Shively and C.M. Newton. He’s now the longest-tenured athletics director in the SEC.
Let’s quickly run through what was a banner year for UK Athletics. The rifle team won the 2018 national championship; the volleyball and men’s soccer team won their conference championships; the men’s basketball team finished in the Elite Eight; and, oh yeah, the football team capped off its most successful season in four decades with a win in the Citrus Bowl. Plus, the baseball team just opened a beautiful new stadium and the department’s streak of semesters with a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 is now 14. UK finished No. 14 in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, their third highest finish ever.
Congrats, Mitch! I know you’re a by-the-rules kind of guy and have to be out of the room when Kentucky is discussed, but any way we can make sure Duke and Louisville are perpetually screwed in the bracket from now on? Thanks.