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President Capilouto Writes a Scathing Letter to City of Lexington on Rupp Arena

Just like Mr. Clark in “Lean on Me,” UK President Eli Capiluoto doesn’t play. We have seen this fact in numerous incidents over the last couple of years and today it is showcased even more. KSR has obtained a copy of the letter the University of Kentucky wrote to the city of Lexington concerning the Rupp Arena project and it is scathing. You may remember that Brent Rice, the local lawyer picked to head the project for the city, wrote a letter to the University of Kentucky giving it an ultimatum of Friday to come out publicly in support of the Rupp Arena proposal. Well the University came out, and as you can see in the letter below, they responded. But it may not be the response the city wanted to see:

capilouto-response1 capilouto-response2 capilouto-response3

All I can say is wow…don’t mess with Eli Capiluoto. Now one must ask, where is the future of the Rupp Arena project as of today?

Article written by Matt Jones

121 Comments for President Capilouto Writes a Scathing Letter to City of Lexington on Rupp Arena

  1. wesmorgan1
    8:48 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


    There’s really nothing in that letter with which to take issue – Capilouto nailed a few hides to the wall with that one.

    Good for him.

  2. ktmiln2
    8:51 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Old Eli just dropped the mic and walked away.

  3. Brian
    8:52 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Eli +1
    Everyone else that thinks they are important – 0

    Go get ’em!

  4. Usually Agree With Matt, but not on this one
    8:54 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    You tried to blame the failure on Stivers and others in the legislature. Obviously, and rightly for your job, you want to see the Rupp project done. But, you’ve got to admit you were hastened by your bias and missed the facts on this.

    • What?
      9:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Sorry, but Stivers chicken sh!t approach to the debate and inability to articulate like Eli still puts this at least in part on him. He has not once acted like a leader in this process. Ducking and bobbing the entire time.

  5. SECsports
    8:54 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Rupp 2.0 = DOA. WOW!

  6. Big Backbone
    8:55 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I’d have to concur with everything he points out except maybe the reliance on the HL poll. As Matt pointed out, that poll is suspect and altering a few words would change the outcome. That said, it’s interesting to read about the University’s end of the financing plan, how they intended to pay for it, and their responsible approach throughout. My question is “Who is LCC?” That would be a good post for KSR and could lead to several additional questions like, if it’s not LFUCG, then why is Rupp being publicly funded to benefit individuals – and kudos to Cap for essentially saying, get your lease in line or we’ll build our own building.

  7. Joe Smoe
    8:55 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    That is incredible

  8. macon_volfan
    8:57 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    It seems clear to me that Capiluoto is open to moving the team to a new city. Maybe they’ll end up in the suburbs (maybe Georgetown, with Toyota money) like with the Braves moving to Cobb County……

    • catscatscats
      9:25 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Interesting idea, but will never happen. Wherever UK plays basketball in the future will and should remain in Fayette County.

    • Turner the Burner
      9:28 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      The options are Rupp or a building on UK’s land.

    • macon_volfan
      9:43 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I think he should be willing to move the team to the highest bidder. Maybe Corbin? Rumsey in Ohio County? All have lots to gain from a UK move.

      Fresh starts.

    • Uh, what...?
      9:50 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      You think a team representing the University of Kentucky (which is, as I hope you know, based in Lexington) should be moved to Corbin or Ohio County…? That makes absolutely 0 sense and would never happen. This isn’t pro sports, where franchises can just pack up and move whenever they choose.

    • BigBlueBlowUpDoll
      9:59 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Rumsey is in McLean Co, you chode!

    • macon_volfan
      10:03 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


      You are correct. I picked the wrong WKy county. My wife would disapprove of my mistake.


    • Speaker of Truths
      10:10 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I should have read your username more closely. Now I get why you’re a moron, you’re a Vols fan.

    • macon_volfan
      10:24 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


      Let me guess, you’re one of the people on here who just ‘doesn’t get’ the Tomlin posts….right.

    • Speaker of Truths
      10:59 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Well, if you are a Vols fan or not, you’re definitely not funny. And if your suggestion to move UK games to the middle of nowhere was serious, then you’re a moron and not funny. If it was facetious, well then you’re just not funny and have contributed nothing to the conversation here. So, either way, you basically just suck.

    • bmack
      11:00 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Good grief. He was obviously being sarcastic. These replies to MVF’s comment are scary.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:00 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      But on the bright side, being horribly unfunny is something you share with Tomlin, so that’s nice for you. Why don’t you go celebrate that and let the adults talk?

    • Eight Letters
      12:40 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Downtown Middlesboro….has it all.

  9. Michael Scott
    8:58 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    “Boom! Roasted”

  10. Coach Cal
    9:02 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I’ll stay at UK for the next 20 years if you put an arena right next to Commonwealth Stadium.

  11. Cynthiana Smith
    9:02 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    This gives you a major show topic for the day. Is this the final “nail in the coffin” for this project?

    • RUPPS_rhetoric
      9:14 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Barring a $350 million “Coal Money” check, yep… IT’S DEAD

    • Luther
      2:20 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Yep, it’s dead…

  12. TeamNoSheep
    9:03 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    That last sentence says it all: UK is happy to be a tenant, but don’t count on it being a bank. UK and the Commonwealth see very little to gain from the project, as it does not significantly increase their revenue. The city and LCC see a lot to gain, primarily in the form of short term job growth and long term property value/tax increases. Without a local option sales tax (which is unlikely to pass the General Assembly, though it would probably pass in Lexington), the project is not financially sound.

  13. fairplay
    9:03 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Thank you Mayor Gray.

  14. B-Lord
    9:05 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    The city of Lexington IS the University of Kentucky, which is, of course, best know for it’s basketball tradition. Without it, very few outside the state, would even know what or where Lexington is. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    • RUPPS_rhetoric
      9:15 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      That might have been true 30-40 years ago… Not so much now.

    • Bomb 'o' Matic
      9:20 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Have to agree with RUPPS. Lexington has quite a bit going on. Your assertion would be more correct for a town such as, say, Gainesville.

    • whyuneedmyemailbro
      9:36 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      ummm, Lexington is what it is today BECAUSE of UK. Whether its been a 30-40 year transition or not, the city wouldn’t be what it is without the university. They also stand to lose more in this than UK. The last thing the city wants is a big empty eye sore right in the middle of downtown Lexington.

    • Steve
      9:40 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      RUPPS and Bomb ‘o’ Matic: if that is true, then why is Brent Rice trying so hard to twist the arm of the university. They need UK a lot more than UK needs them, that’s easy to see.

    • Bomb 'o' Matic
      9:50 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Steve – The point that I am making is that compared to many college towns Lexington has a lot more going on (pop. over 300k + metropolitan area of nearly 500k). I do not refute your point that Lexington needs UK, or that Lexington is what it is because of the university; however, Lexington is around the 70th biggest city in the US. UK has < 30k or so, while it is a big school it isn't huge. It will not collapse into itself because of an arena deal. And people are twisting arms, etc. because people want $. Just look at how many millions have been shelled out for JACK.

    • Dirk Diggler
      11:38 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Let’s be totally honest. Rupp don’t *need* to be renovated. People *want* to renovate it.

      There’s a huge difference.

  15. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    9:06 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Obviously, the glaring mistake with this whole project was to throw Rupp Arena in with all the other convention crap they tried to cram through. Rupp would have been fine on its own. But the business leaders in Lexington trying to use the University to get investments they don’t want to make themselves is the problem. Mayor Gray is part of that problem, as he is one of the biggest cronies in Lexington business.

    • GoBlue!
      10:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      The problem is, the current convention center is wrapped halfway around Rupp. Since a major part of the Rupp proposal is to make it a free-standing building, there was no way to separate the projects (except for changing the redesign, but it was a good design).

  16. South of the river
    9:07 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Wonder if there is enough space between the Gluck Center and the senior citizen center on Nicholasville Road for an arena…

  17. Axe Cop
    9:08 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t really see how the renovation happens after this. I was on campus in the late 90s and early 00s and there was talk of renovations or a new arena then. Guess we’ll wait another 15 years?

    • Turner the Burner
      9:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Rupp has cosmetic renovations to it in the early 2000’s.

  18. Steve
    9:10 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    The legislature shouldn’t spend a dime on a renovated Rupp when there are so many other areas of need throughout the state. Rupp is just fine for what it is being used for. They should be way more concerned with dealing with the crap storm that is about to happen when all the underfunded retirement liability hits the state and local governments’ and universities’ books.

    • whyuneedmyemaibro
      9:20 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Fine, maybe they shouldn’t. But the legislature should understand that UK isn’t required to use Rupp, and that the city benefits much more from the UK/Rupp lease than the university itself, and therefore they also have more to lose. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

    • CPACAT
      9:26 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      You go Steve…You tell ’em about GASB 68!! (Governmental Accounting Nerd Fight:)

    • JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
      9:55 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Meanwhile they’ll just pump hundreds of millions into Louisville for bullshit.

    • Mike
      10:43 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Were you ok with the money they put into the yum center?

    • Dee W.
      12:22 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

      “Were you ok with the money they put into the yum center?”

      Why would you bring that up? How has that turned out? That’s exhibit A as to why this funding didn’t go through.

  19. Boochie
    9:11 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    ELI is BOSTON STRONG YO!!!! WICKED STRONG!!!!!!! Miggy Jones is KSR presidente’

  20. playersfan
    9:14 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    It never made sense to spend $350 million, reduce seating capacity, and have UK commit to 40 years of less seating capacity than they have today. This was a City of Lexington project all along, based on cosmetics for downtown Lexington, and no benefits to UK.

  21. Bluejay
    9:18 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    The Three Dogs say “Eli’s coming, hide your heart girl…”

  22. On Campus Arena
    9:20 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Say good bye to LLC. Build an arena modeled after Bud Walton around CWS and you will have an unbelievable game experience. It would be the loudest and greatest home court advantage in the US. Cal’s Castle!

    • JB
      9:57 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      No, Bud Walton is a bland arena that has a good atmosphere. UK would need to build something that is on par with the NBA arenas. We are UK. A bland basketball arena isn’t going to cut it. We need high tech video boards, awesome concourses, luxury suites, a plaza area outside the arena, and all the fan amenities of the nicest arenas in the country.

  23. catscatscats
    9:22 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Sounds like UK is giving up on a renovated Rupp. The language he uses in the last paragraph makes it sound as though they will explore other options than Rupp when the lease is over. Will UK build their own Stadium? This raises more questions than answers… the plot thickens…

  24. Dennis Smith
    9:26 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I have new found respect for the President. My only criticism is that he took 3 pages to make his case. I could have done it in 140 characters. UK does not need a new arena and, more importantly, has not been able to find a financial plan to build one despite so many exhausting searches. Just because a select few think that any request in the name of UK basketball is a must have, Capilouto has made it clear that the educational needs of the people will come first. God bless you Eli you have some new fans. Oscar and Matt, I love you guys, but you’re both on the wrong side of reason here so do a face palm and forget the Arena for now.

  25. Facts
    9:27 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Seems like he was also taking a shot at you and Oscar too Matt. You both have been publically taking shots at UK for not publicly supporting it and saying UK has no lease agreement for the future. It says right in the letter that UK had agreed to a new lease for 10.7 million for 30 years, that is their financial support for the project. They just cant come out and speak publically in support of spending state money on a project because they are a public university and they have academic needs for that money and cant look like they are putting sports ahead of academics. Also they cant publically support it when the legislatures are against it and they have to stay on the legislatures good side since they dictate how much money UK gets. And also they cant publically support it when they public is all for it. So basically he said UK wasn’t going to get involved in the politics of it because it will be a bad look for them but their “support” is there in the 10+ million for 30 years.

  26. LexingtonRick
    9:28 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Ohio State University raised money, paid for, and built their own arena several years ago. Why doesn’t UK do the same thing? Build it on campus, too.

    • Wiki
      9:41 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Well for one thing, UK is 1/2 the size of Ohio State. It’s not as easily done.

    • Why could OSU do that?
      9:55 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      OSU could afford to do that bc of Les Wexner, the multi billionaire who basically owns the city of Columbus and is an OSU alum. If some eccentric, insanely rich UK alum wants to do the same, great, but I don’t know who it would be.

  27. HairoftheDog
    9:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Que Eli’s music! Nazareth!

    Heart breaker, soul shaker
    I’ve been told about you
    Steamroller, midnight stroller
    What they’ve been saying must be true

    Red hot mama
    Velvet charmer
    Time’s come to pay your dues

    Now you’re messin’ with a
    A son of a b***
    Now you’re messin’ with a son of a b***
    Now you’re messin’ with a
    A son of a b****
    Now you’re messin’ with a son of a b***

    • Layoffthealcohol
      9:39 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


  28. YourBoyBlue
    9:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    We have a president that I respect to the utmost. All UK alumni, boosters, faculty, and students should be extremely proud that this man is leading our institution.

  29. SteveA
    9:31 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I thought the City of Lexington was overstepping their bounds on this all along. It never felt right to me. I think the Mayor had a lot to do with this whole boondoggle. I believe UK wants to remain downtown but the only real option is to separate itself entirely from a lease. I know a renovation project could have worked, but if you want people to finance something they’ve got to feel like they are getting something for their money. Go for a new Rupp and it will sell!

  30. fb>bb
    9:33 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    The whole point is that now UK will end up getting the lease terms they’ve always wanted at Rupp. It just won’t be a new arena.

  31. Walden
    9:35 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I’ve got more respect for Eli now. Anyone in his shoes would be offended, I mean, you go from a 2mil per year lease to a 10 mil per year lease (300,000,000 of the 350,000,000) and still get shit on? Wow, these LCC guys got balls. All the cash UK basketball brings to the city, Lexington should be paying them to play there.

    I feel bad for all the local business guys located around the convention center, the people running that city are flirting with destroying their livelihoods.

  32. Bubbles
    9:36 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Oh man this is so scathing

  33. TeamNoSheep
    9:36 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    It’s worth noting that the Lexington Herald-Leader has NOTHING on this story on their home page. SMH.

  34. Goose
    9:37 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Its clear the support for a ON CAMPUS arena would be there. BBN could fund it in a manner that GREEN BAY did with Lambeau field.

  35. Evelyn
    9:38 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Eli Capilouto is correct that other more important economic, health, retirement causes in the state should take priority. However, aren’t those needs always going to be there now and in the future? When other large projects take place with state funds around the country, the same argument could be made but the projects proceed nonetheless. As it is obvious the current UK administration will not support construction of a new arena on campus, I would ask Capilouto to explain what will happen if playing in Rupp Arena no longer becomes an option? What if the city decides not to renew UK’s lease at Rupp to spite the university? Where would the team play in such a scenario? Capilouto needs to see past his own nose.

  36. UK
    9:39 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Build an arena on campus by “selling bricks.” If you buy a brick, you get your name on a “Big Blue Wall” outside the new arena and it will get funded real quick.

    • Brian
      11:22 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Can’t tell if this is sarcastic or not. Hoping so.

  37. AndyP
    9:40 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Anyone thinking UK will invest in an on-campus arena as long as Capiluto is president has their head in the sand. The project is dead in the water.

    At some point between now and 2018 UK will sign a new lease to play in Rupp and every year that goes by Rupp will become older and more out-dated. I suspect that Cal has been ordered to keep his mouth shut about all this because I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t want a renovated Rupp that is jaw dropping nice and that’s what we just tossed in the waste basket.

    This is all on Capiluto.

    • lost in time
      10:33 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      #1. this is not all Capiluto. do you have any real sense of the economic feasibility or responsibilities that a new arena would require? one man does not make or break a deal this big. Eli has spoken and has done so with the fiscal and educational responsibilities of an entire university in mind. Eli is a president of a University and that is a position of more than just an athletics director. try to see the big picture here.

      #2. Rupp is hardly outdated. Sure, there are some client services that could be upgraded but the bones of the structure are solid and have been well maintained since its construction. Newer is not always better (i.e. Ball homes, Yum center, etc…)

      #3 General note on other comments: what sense of grandeur does anyone have to suggest that a Barclay’s style of venue belongs in Lexington? Not only is that a idea whose pomposity make it less credible but the budget must be considered. who is to pay for this? you? me? hotel taxes?

      #4 on campus arena? In order to have a functioning arena one must have a management team in place who can run a facility AND make money. A modern era venue has to be considered for multi-purposes: trade shows, concerts, corporate meetings, etc… Multi-purpose arenas make their money in sports marketing (no problem here), concessions, parking, and venue rental among other things. They also require a fair amount of maintenance whose budgeting often surpasses the GDP of a small nation. Then there must be a team who manages the scheduling–what a nightmare of trying to meet university goals and dovetail touring groups at the same time.

  38. stuckatwork
    9:41 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Aaron Harrison has some competition for the biggest balls in Lexington. Go get ’em Cap.

  39. The Pope
    9:44 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


  40. Patrick Whelan
    9:48 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Why on God’s green earth is Rick Pitino’s attorney buddy, Brent Rice, allowed to be the guy heading up (or slowing down) the Rupp Arena-LCC redevelopement? WTF?

  41. Ira D. Combs
    9:49 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Don’t know who is going to be setting in with Ryan on this 24 hour marathon coming up but I hope for Ryan’s sake they are all well versed in the Rupp Arena / Civic Center controversy because I believe it just became the topic of conversation for the next 24 hours .

    BTW it appears after reading this letter UK actually felt the same way Matt and I did on this $300.00 partnership that BBN was expecting to pony up for as part of the fundraising ……………. I guess all great minds do think alike .

    Enjoy the next 24 hours Ryan I’m in town and may drop by with a special mountain treat but you’ll have to backslide on your Body Shapes Medical commitment .

  42. eric
    10:00 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Two things about reading this letter…..1. When I started reading this letter, I thought maybe this will fuel the desire for a spectacular on-campus arena, rivaling Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center. Maybe Eli’s frustration with LCC will embolden him to pursue an on-campus arena. But as I read further, I realized that, 2. he doesn’t give one sh*t about UK basketball and could care less where they play and the condition of the venue they play in, and that the likelihood of Eli giving the go ahead for an on-campus arena is very slim.

    While the team’s future looks bright, the future of where they play does not.

    • Speaker of Truths
      10:09 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, having been a student for the first two years of his presidency, I can say with about 99.9% certainty (based on his emails he would send to students during the tournament re: celebrations and class schedules) that you are absolutely right, Capilouto doesn’t care about bball. I would even say he doesn’t care anything about the athletic department in general. I preferred Lee Todd myself, but, oh well.

    • Good grief
      10:40 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Speaker of Truths is an idiot.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:02 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Why does preferring Lee Todd to Capilouto make me an idiot? Or if you’re referring to my comment that Eli doesn’t care about basketball, then you should also be calling Eric an idiot. Unless you’re just carrying some kind of grudge against me, like a little middle school girl, and lashing out because of that.

    • Still Aggravated
      12:10 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

      Speaker, I’m with ya on preferring Lee to Eli. It’s cool that he places such a huge value on academics and likes us to support the athletic teams, but some of the emails he sends out are absurd, especially regarding not allowing students to have an excused absence after traveling to the FF/NC games. I went to the Superdome, ended up having to delay a test with a big penalty on Tuesday, and was met with Eli going on the stage with the team to accept the trophy. Mr. Capilouto, I’m sorry I don’t make 500k a year and can’t afford to fly down and back for a basketball game.

  43. robuk
    10:02 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Coal money? Don’t make me laugh. After potus is through with coal there’ll be no coal money! Rupp is still the meca of college bball!

  44. serdi
    10:05 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Should have never moved downtown to begin with.
    Best basketball venue in the country for a player (shooting backround etc) and from a fan standpoint was Memorial Coliseum in its 1977 configuration. The damage could be reclaimed, put back to its 1977 configuration, raise the roof, add to the balcony at the college view end, knock out the Avenue of Champions end and add about 7,000 seats. With raising the roof, a 1000 or so seats could be added on the sides. You could get the place in the neighborhood of 20,000. All of this could be done for less than building a new place by CWS and, for less money.
    Bring back the tradition.

    • JB
      10:06 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      That is the most irrationally insane idea ever.

    • serdi
      10:41 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      JB, you never watched a UK game in Memorial Coliseum in its pre-1978 configuration. If you had, you would not make such a comment It could be done and it would be great.

  45. jman3715
    10:05 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Build it on campus! It could be built for much less with no LCC and be controlled by UK and used by UK all year long including leasing it out. If we can do it with CWS it can be done with a new Rupp with even more revenue potential.

  46. Kyle
    10:11 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Turn the football stadium into a dome and hold all the games there! That would be awesome! Then we can start from scratch with a new football arena, basketball court, soccer fields, track and all. All in the same place!

    • JoeMoney333
      10:13 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      How many times do we need to say this is a TERRIBLE idea.

    • Tom Blevins
      10:38 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Kyle, I’ve thought of that myself. Joe, you may be right that it is a terrible idea, but I would like to know you think it’s a terrible idea. (Too expensive? Some of the seats would be bad for basketball? Other?)

    • No, Plz
      12:14 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

      In my opinion, domes are terrible for basketball with bad seats being the huge thing.

  47. President Eli Capiluoto
    10:12 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    President Eli Capiluoto could have been a mob boss in the past. Hell maybe even now.

  48. arlo
    10:16 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    it’s time to bring Rupp Arena on campus.

  49. Rondo
    10:22 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Uh, it wasnt the citys idea, and Brent Rice doesn’t work for LCC, that is Bill Owens, he chairs the Downtown Entertainment Task Force, it was their idea

  50. Edumacation
    10:32 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    His threats of moving are completely without merit. The General Assembly (GA) will never approve them moving from Rupp Arena…and the GA has to approve any new construction projects that UK undertakes, and this would include a basketball arena on campus. And yes, the GA approves it even if no state funds are being used. Eli can threaten all he wants, but he really has no choice in where UK will be playing basketball. He knows that and is just posturing to get a better lease agreement.

  51. GoBlue!
    10:36 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Lots of interesting things about this letter, but what stands out to me is at the end, Capiluto seems to threaten that UK may not renew its lease, and leave Rupp. But that’s not a credible threat at all, because there’s no place to go. If UK is hesitant to support $10ish million per year to renovate Rupp, there’s no way that it can come up with the money to build a new arena on campus. (And Capiluto’s right that the huge need in academic buildings must take priority). What does that leave. Stay in Rupp, return to Memorial Coliseum, or rent out the YUM Center? I guess there’s always Alltech Arena at the Horse Park. That semi-pro basketball team quit playing there.

  52. John
    10:39 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Enclose Commonwealth Stadium & put the basketball team in there. They will sell out the seats & suites. Just have to move around the football schedule.

  53. Tom Blevins
    10:46 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I wish KSR had reprinted President Capilouto’s letter in a form where I could read it easier. Sorry, but my eyes are not as young as they used to be. Sadly, the same can also be said for the rest of my body.

  54. RealUKFan
    10:58 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Making the project include Rupp Arena because the city new it could not get funding for the convention center was a grasping at straws effort. Does Rupp need to be renovated/replaced? Certainly. Does the convention center need expansion and renovation? Who knows? Maybe and maybe not. As a Kentucky taxpayer who does not live in Lexington I am willing to have my taxes go toward a new arena on campus or a renovation of Rupp. However, I am not willing to contribute to the convention center. I see no real benefit from that for the state as a whole. If the city sees that it is beneficial for them then they should finance it from city taxes and whatever other financing they can find, but not state taxes.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:08 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not sure the convention center needs renovating. I’ve been there and stayed at the hotel many times, and it seems fine to me. What does need help, though, is downtown Lexington. For Kentucky to be able to compete with other states on a national scale, they need more than just Louisville. This renovation project, which included an arts and entertainment district downtown, would have been a huge boost to Lexington’s attractiveness to young people with lots of disposable income. I’m surprised and disappointed that it couldn’t get through state funding.

  55. Blue Biscuit
    11:02 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Wow, Eli just set a couch on fire on State Street with that scorching letter. All right, Eli!

  56. The State of Kentucky Fan
    11:07 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I love uk Basketball, but come on. It’s not important compared to other issues that the Pres’ touched on.

    This state does not have the $$ to update at $300 million +. The states pension is almost out of money. Each year we are last or near last at worst run states. Please come to reality and stop this. Rupp arena is fine. The convention Center is fine.
    I’ve got a great Idea to support people ‘WANTING’ to come downtown. Do something about all the BUMBS!!!!!!!! That’s why I stay away because I don’t like being hit up for money all the time and it makes me feel unsafe with my children. Help them! Do SOMETHING!

  57. bluegrassstu
    11:08 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I say let UK pay for their own arena. Ohio State did it, there is no reason why UK can’t. I especially do not want to pay more in any form of taxation just to provide any University or college with a play ground, so to speak.

    • Enough with the OSU comparisons
      11:19 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      OSU has 57,000 students in Columbus alone, 64,000 if you count all their satellite campuses around the state. They also have a multi billionaire on their board, who basically runs the city of Columbus (a top 20 city in the country by population). UK and Lexington are much smaller, with less money floating around. So I hate to say it, but yes, there are lots of reasons why it was so much easier for OSU to do that than it would be UK.

  58. catscatscats
    11:30 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I believe that Capilouto is just using this as leverage to get a cheaper lease at Rupp. He doesn’t seem to be the type to want to build a new arena on campus. He has ALWAYS shown a history supporting academics over athletics.

  59. Lori M
    11:33 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    A major mistake in the whole process was the refusal to approve a hotel or sin tax for the proposed funding. My hometown and county voters passed a hotel tax and sin tax in 1990 and renewed it in 1994 and 2014. That was the base funding for a NFL stadium, a MLB ball park and a NBA arena. Just completed were a new convention center and a medical mart. Currently under construction is a downtown 600 room hotel. The model works.

    • CATandMONKEY
      11:46 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      The legislature did not approve any new taxing authority for the city of Lexington. Unfortunately that aspect of the funding was out of the hands of Lexington leadership. Perhaps the mayor and company are to blame for not stucturing/marketing the deal so as to be attractive to the folks in Frankfort.

      People clamoring for an on-campus arena: Please…Stop. It isn’t happening and isn’t currently viable. The reasons have been outlined many times in previous posts.

  60. kendaukcat
    11:41 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I hope that all parties involved punt, take a step back, and then come up with a better solution.

    I love the Rupp Environment downtown and do not want to see the location moved.

    There is no viable alternative on campus, in my opinion. Where is everyone going to park if you drop an arena next to Commonwealth? Same goes for Memorial…if that were to be considered (which it won’t)

    I agree that the inside of Rupp needs to be updated, but the experience outside of Rupp (bars, restaurants, and hotels) can not be duplicated.

    LCC, GA, and UK need to get their heads out of their rectums and get this done downtown.

  61. Ira D. Combs
    11:50 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Barbourville winning the district in baseball is like Vanderbilt winning the SEC in football

  62. Turner the Burner
    11:51 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Doesn’t UK own the Coldstream Farm land? Kinda out there though

  63. Rich Ronan
    12:08 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    OUTSTANDING! Good for you, kid. Put the Arena back on campus where it belongs.

  64. Edumacation
    12:11 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Also, let’s not let it go unnoticed that we are in an election year with Lexington Mayor Gray running for reelection against a UK employee, Anthany Beatty. It’s not completely unlikely that Eli came out in opposition to help Anthany who works for him as a Vice President. Politics is a dirty game my friends and this sure is looking like a dirty fight to me.

  65. C
    1:58 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Hopefully there is no future, I think Rupp’s fine the way it is, if they really want to get something built they need to find a way to get the money without strong-arming people.

  66. Old Timer
    2:00 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    What people are talking about is that the University of Kentucky submitted a sound finance plan to LCC through ING that would of paid for the RUPP renovation. LCC decided they wanted to go in a different direction and decided to seek funding elsewhere. Obviously, LCC wanted other things for the city included in the deal. LCC ignored the presentation presented by the University that would of enabled the RUPP renovation to occur for grander ideas for the city.

  67. Betty Milburn
    5:05 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I totally support what the president had to say. Lexington has financial problems & there is an outstanding debt on Rupp right now. In my opinion the final decision should be made by the people since they are the ones that will end up paying for it. What is wrong with Rupp? I bleed blue so I am not an anti-basketball fan. I love the Wildcats and go see them every chance I get. I would love to have season tickets but I am one of the many that is not fortunate enough to have them. I do follow them out of town. I love Coach Cal & the team, but I think what we have is better than most so why are we trying to burden people with a hugh debt we do not need! Who are we trying to impress???

  68. Johng225
    5:46 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

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  69. rainman
    8:25 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I didn’t read all responses, so this probably has already been suggested! But why not invite Pres. Capiluto to be on the show tomorrow?
    Would be very interesting to see how he and the Mayor would interact!

  70. Robert Smith
    7:39 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

    If Rupp had competition from alternatives, the funding would be better received.

    Everyone knows UK has no place to go. Why would even LCC agree to better lease terms?

    The fans and Cal will not tolerate anything less than Rupp and UK will not invest the money to build an on campus arena.

  71. Donna
    11:03 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

    Politicians are physically incapable of saying the words “yes” and “no”.