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Should Richie Farmer’s Jersey Be Removed from Rupp’s Rafters?


Mark Story asked a question that, surprisingly, I haven’t heard from more Kentucky fans in my immediate circle– and I work in Frankfort; Richie Farmer is a hot topic. The question of course is, should Richie Farmer’s jersey be taken down from the rafters of Rupp Arena?

John wrote Thursday about the fall of Clay County’s own folk hero and Unforgettable, discussing how a simple man just did what came naturally–took advantage of his position for his own gain.

But should a man who misused taxpayer dollars from the state that loved him, and is soon to be in federal prison, be hanging in Rupp’s hallowed rafters?

Mitch Barnhart doesn’t have a definitive answer, “not really an issue I’ve ever come across before. … We’ll take a look at other hall of fames, how they’ve addressed these things. I don’t want to have anyone ‘knee-jerk’ into any kind of decision that says, ‘We’ve got to do this tomorrow.’ I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.”

Ken Trivette, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches said, “If anyone asks me, I would be against (removing Farmer). What got him inducted is what he did as a basketball player. That has not changed because he’s made mistakes later in his adult life.”

We all understand that Richie Farmer, along with the 3 guys he graduated with, are in a special class all their own–even more so than the other retired jerseys that hang in Rupp Arena.  C.M. Newtown said it best when he surprised the Unforgettables with the retired jerseys, “No one can match what you’ve done,” Newton told the four. “You truly put your heart into wearing the Kentucky jersey.”

We’re all flawed; having a jersey retired for contributions to a University’s athletic program isn’t the same as being canonized a saint, nor does it create the expectation one must become one (Rick Pitino cough..15 seconds..cough.) Yet, the Richie Farmer situation is a unique one for UK; he played at a publicly funded university, then proceeded to steal public funds. Yet he will still always be an Unforgettable.
Mark Story thinks we should leave the jersey up in Rupp, but that it should be open to discussion. What say you?


Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR

75 Comments for Should Richie Farmer’s Jersey Be Removed from Rupp’s Rafters?

  1. cotton nash
    2:37 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I say leave Farmer’s jersey up,..and I say Mark Story is an idiot and always has been!!!!!

  2. Matthew P
    2:37 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I understand their significance to the program at the time but I honestly don’t think that any of the 4 deserve to be hanging in the rafters. If we put peoples jerseys up for playing hard or whatever, we’d not have enough ceiling space.

  3. KG
    2:38 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    In my honest opinion Yes

  4. Hawkfather47
    2:40 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    His jersey should stay up there. Now if he was a murderer, rapist or child molester, that’s a different story.

  5. Taking down
    2:43 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down he didn’t deserve to be there to begin with.

  6. Tim from Hendo
    2:44 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Leave it up. Sure others up there have done worst, just weren’t caught.

  7. Alivebackthen
    2:46 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    #2–I agree. Pitino had it done to cement his “Kentucky investment.” Today, most of “his” players are more devoted to him than they are UK. Farmer’s jersey shouldn’t be there to begin with. Everyone was caught up in the emotions of “We’re back!” Usually, a jersey in the rafters goes up after time has burnished or tarnished people’s accomplishments within the grand scope of UK basketball.

  8. sprtphan
    2:47 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    No way u take it down. He made some bad decisions in office for sure. Has nothing to do with what he did for UK. His first mistake was not joining the loser democrats who have run this state in the ground for the last 50 years. Had he done that he would still be “in like Flynn”.

  9. Chaz
    2:52 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Leave it up. He misused public funds and stole property. What’s so different between Farmer and countless other public officials? He was caught.
    Has nothing to do with his time at UK.

  10. Tom
    2:52 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    The jersey should stay up. We honored him for his performance on the court, not the fact that he was later sentenced in one.

  11. true story
    2:53 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    What he did in his adult life doesn’t change what he did at the University of Kentucky. Leave it up.

  12. Mike
    2:59 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down. You can’t have a black eye hanging in the rafters.

  13. BigRedEd
    3:06 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Well, I guess Richie won’t be playin’ tonight. Maybe in the prison gym.

  14. Down
    3:10 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take the hillbillies jersey down!!
    Cheating stealer of the people of kentucky

    That’s what he did

    He knew exactly what he was doing

    He is only ‘sorry’ he got caught

  15. Get Real
    3:11 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I bet everyone here suggesting we take it down is under 30 and has no idea what all of the Unforgetables meant to the program, University and State, including Richie. Or they’re just finger-pointing idiots…I agree with cotton nash–what a stupid idea and article.

  16. Biff Switters
    3:12 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    He’s not in the rafters for what he did in 2000’s. he’s in rafters for what he did from 1989-1992

  17. bobolopolis
    3:15 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Prison is where you pay your debt to society.

  18. DownCline
    3:19 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    It’s not that Richie messed up, there’s more than enough stones, and frankly, boulders that can be thrown back at me. I also remember how low the program was and those guys gave hope to a lot of people who had none in this state, so I have no problem with the Unforgettables being up there.

    The ONLY reason I will entertain the argument is because he used that name in the rafters to get his position in Govt, he certainly wasn’t qualified nor does he have the intelligence. When he was elected I literally heard several people say they ‘are voting for Richie’ because of his basketball status. If you use that position for that type of gain, there are consequences.

  19. barn
    3:19 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    leave it up. he just did what the rest of the politicians do and probably on a much smaller scale than most

  20. hersheyisabear
    3:32 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    The douche stole from the people of Kentucky. Take it down.

  21. Blue To The Bone..
    3:32 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    If Richie’s comes down so should Benedict Pitino’s…I think what he did is much worse than Richie’s and he killed another life…

  22. Katdaddy
    3:40 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down, Tubby isn’t up there and all he has done for UK is win a championship and go to the NCAa tournament ten straight years.

  23. spookykim
    3:51 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down. He’s an embarrassment to the whole BBN. And I agree with #2 & several others that say they should have never been up there to begin with, so this is a good excuse to take it down. Part of having your jersey retired is to honor what you’ve done on the court & OFF!

  24. RUKiddingme
    3:52 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    2 and 7… I’m going to assume you aren’t old enough to know what the guys who stayed after Sutton did for the program. there is NOTHING more Kentucky than that team. Things change and theres no use living in the past, but they played when Kentucky Basketball was still Kentucky Basketball.

  25. cat for life
    3:54 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    leave it up it’s for what he did on the court. not what he did in office
    nowhere as bad as 15 second rick if they take anyones down take louisville ricks down.

  26. blitzedanddazed
    3:54 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take down Farmer’s at the same time you take down Ricky Three Stacks.
    Both are a disgrace to the University of Ky and the State of Ky.

  27. James Stone
    3:57 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Hell no! Leave the jersey hanging high! This team and every member did the state proud! They are TRUE KENTUCKY!

  28. Teachable Mo'
    4:05 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    The reasons people want it up there seem to be all over the place. A lot of the posters here seem to want it up there to rub it in Democrat faces. Bizarre.

    The crime Farmer has been convicted of is of an abuse of public trust. If Farmer doesn’t regret that why should there be a continuation of public honor?

  29. Do whut?
    4:12 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    #24 it was still “Kentucky basketball” in that you still had a couple of Kentucky kids to keep the end of the bench warm but please don’t act like these kids would have started or even seen much of the floor had the non-Kentucky kids not bailed. In fact, that is kind of what made them unforgettable. Well that and Jamal Mashburn. I wish every single member of BBN desperately holding on to some imagined reality of 1948 would simply let it go. Until Kentucky kids (Dominique Hawkins says hi) start playing upper echelon ball the program will continue to take the best kids available regardless of home address. Obviously Cal would live to fill up a #1 recruiting class with nothing but Lexington kids every year. How easy would that be? Until then let’s not throw a couple of patronizing bones to kids from the “holler” just so we can say we’re truly “Kentucky basketball”.

  30. An Honest Question
    4:12 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Will Richie get to take the Mini-Fridge he never returned to the state of Kentucky to the Federal Pen with him?

  31. RUKiddingme
    4:24 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    29 – agree to disagree. I’m assuming you’ve never seen anyone from Kentucky play well above their physical limitations when they wear that jersey? I’m not advocating that mr basketball get an auto scholarship, nor am I complaining about the lack of Kentucky kids on the team. But to say that teams with with – at least sprinkled with – Kentucky kids that gave it everything they had when they put that jersey on didn’t exist and build this program is categorically false. If I’m not mistaken, we went to the NIT last year with a bunch of kids who “played for the name on the front of the jersey”. While I appreciate the job Cal has done, Kentucky Basketball has fundamentally changed. Whether that for Better or worse is debatable…that it is not what it once was is not.

  32. RUKiddingme
    4:25 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry..back of the jersey

  33. AEngr
    4:26 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I enjoyed the return of exciting Wildcat basketball in the early 90’s as much as anyone but those four jerserys should not have been put up there in the first place. Ricky p’s time in Lexington was all about Ricky p. Putting the “Unforgettables” up there was Ricky’s way of getting his name up there……..take them both down.

  34. wildcat
    4:31 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    as daniel bryan says NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

  35. tlhoag65
    4:38 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    it should come done.

  36. wildcat whisperer
    4:44 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Leave it up, but use its presence as a “teachable moment”. My parents would say that you can learn from bad examples as well as good ones. (Meaning of course, that a youngster can learn what NOT to do). His tale should be told; poor Richie had it all, and he let a little bit of power get the best of him.

    I think sometimes we get into a big hurry to try and sanitize history, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

  37. joe shepherd
    4:58 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink


  38. kywoman
    5:01 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink


  39. kywoman
    5:02 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    By No..I mean leave it up. No to taking it down.

  40. cynman
    5:05 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Let he who be without sin cut the first strand from Richie’s banner. The rest of us should remember that Richie was recognized for his basketball actions, not his sainthood….

  41. jdogblue
    5:05 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    NO, emphatically NO. It’s a dumb question to even ask. Mark Story and the author of this piece should outline all their sins before this question is even asked.

  42. LeitchfieldAlex
    5:09 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Richie’s jersey should always hang in the rafters. He had and earned what it stands for on the court. What happens to players after their sporting careers are over is just that it’s over with the school. I don’t like what happen but he earned the hanging of the jersey. Like Pitino disgracing himself he still belongs in the HOF for what he has done in basketball. Not an issue at all! Go Kats!!!

  43. MtnCat
    5:26 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Leave the banner in the rafters where it belongs.

    Cannot rewrite history, or everyone will have a nit to pick.

    Politicians aren’t up there, players are!

  44. Dutch
    5:36 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    His jersey is there for what he did in the floor for UK , not what he did in his personal life!

  45. OJ
    5:46 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Hell if u’all don’t want #32 sent it to me via Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. I kind of like the number and it sure beats what I’m wearing.

  46. Wildcatsteeler
    6:12 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Priceless reading all the rationales for leaving it up. If he was black or a Democrat I’m certain the answers would be very different. Jones barely stomps on a bums leg and every post is about how he’s a thug and I have zero doubt the N-word would have followed but it wouldn’t get posted.
    What he’s done is unforgettable and unforgivable. Never mind that his jersey shouldn’t be up there to begin with. But he’s a good ole southern “Christian” Republican so it doesn’t surprise me in the least.
    They’ve been ripping off the ignorant tax payers that vote for them for decades now. And 99% of the tools that vote for them would do the same thing if they had the chance.
    Just like Mitch in 2014, take it down!

  47. Justice??
    6:13 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky born players. Staying after Sutton to help rebuild under Pitino.
    Giving ever thing you have each and every game. Sounds like a description of Reggie Hanson.
    If his jersey doesnt belong,then none of the others do either.

  48. hilarious
    6:16 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Typical ignorant redneck republicans… praising the man that stole from the people of KY to line his own pockets. Makes you wonder if some people support him because they would do the same thing if they were in his position. And these are the same people that attempt to take the moral high ground compared to the “godless liberals”

  49. John Bivens
    6:22 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    He’s going to prison. Why the need to lynch him and then draw and quarter?

  50. jymbo
    6:36 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it Down. Anytime in life you commit a felony, you lose all rights and the privilage of having an honor like this.

  51. Alivebackthen
    6:50 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    @RUKiddingme: Since I’m married to a former player who played long before Richie was a thought, I do know something about the history of UK basketball. And that involves remembering the past so we know what to do in the future. The benefit of longevity is perspective and there have been many players more deserving of hanging in the rafters than the Unforgettables. Take out the Kentucky Kid factor, examine the talent objectively, then say they should be up there based on what they did OVER so many other players much more talented who have never served time…

  52. wildthang
    7:25 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    down…CUT it down.

  53. Pope john
    7:40 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take richies down and pitinos.

  54. Tony
    8:19 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    #4. Perfect if he were a murderer or rapist YES…..then take down NITinos he raped
    Karen and the murdered her unborn child with a $3,000.00 abortion payment !!!

  55. Do whut?
    8:29 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    #31 Fair enough. Sorry if I put words in your mouth. I was hearing “put Riiiiichie in, put Riiichie in!” in my head. (And of course not only put him in but put him at point instead of Woods. Do whut??!!) Either way we can both enjoy seeing if Dominique Hawkins plays a little harder because of the jersey.

  56. yevkazim
    8:35 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down. It is correct that everyone makes mistakes, and that his jersey is there for what he did on the court. However, his jersey in the rafter signifies the state of Kentucky honoring for what he has done. The fact the Richie’s crime was against that state, is direct evidence that he chooses not to honor the state that honors him. If he won’t show my state respect, then I don’t think my university should continue to respect him.

  57. Matthew P
    9:21 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I’m well aware of what “The Unforgetables” meant to the program. I’m also well aware that you could take almost any 4 players, combine them with Mashburn and make a cinderella run at a Elite 8. Again, take nothing away from those 4 but they were average players at best and that’s being kind. Woods had some talent but Pelfrey was about like Jon Hood and today we make him out to be a “scrub”. Feldhaus played hard but didn’t really do much. Farmer was a good ol boy Eastern KY high school legend that they offered only because they had their arm twisted. He may have hit a few threes here and there but wasn’t much of a college player.

  58. prisonguard
    9:34 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Replace it with his prison jersey, then put it back when he does his time.

  59. RealUKFan
    9:44 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    His jersey was put there for the wrong reason as well as the others in that group, but keep in mind they were put there for what was done while they were playing. Not for what happened after. We don’t put players up there because they developed into top professionals after they leave and we don’t take them down for things that happen after they have left. Leave it where it is.

  60. JHam
    9:45 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I am a student at Clay County High School, and I respect, yes respect Richie Farmer. He is the only thing Clay County has, College Basketball-Wise and he brought joy to the hearts of thousands of people living in Clay County and throughout the mountains. I walk past the 32 jersey everyday hanging in the rafters if the CCHS gym and I stop and look at it trying to think of what it would have been like to see him play and win Mr.Basketball during his tenure here. Heck I have 3rd period with his son. I say leave it up so we Clay Countians have something to remember that time in the late 80’s when CLAY COUNTY was atop the basketball world. Ive heard stories when people would call the KSR radio pre game show and ask,” Is Richie playing tonight?” It is all we have, don’t take it away.

  61. Rixter
    9:46 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    There are 52 players who:
    1. scored more points that Farmer
    2. Never went to Federal prison
    3. Do not have a jersey in the Rupp rafters.

    The Unforgettables stuck it out at UK because they had no place else to go. That’s not loyalty, that’s self-preservation.

    Take it down…and while you have the boom up, take Pitinos down too.

  62. BlueTexan
    9:55 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    #61- Amen…take it down…

  63. JHam
    9:55 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Ahh Nevermid

  64. Lexington 3
    10:05 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    It is ridiculous that such a weak player has a jersey hanging in the first place. It makes the rafters seem like a joke. No John Wall? Or AD? Like I said… the rafters are a joke.

  65. Bunny
    10:11 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Take it down…he’s a lying, thieving, criminal. I’ve seen more class in a roach…

  66. Kyreds
    10:34 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink


  67. Wildcatwill
    3:07 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    He and the rest of the Unforgetables deserve to be in the rafters. Some of you must have short memories or not have been around during that period. No, they were not the most talented players but with pure heart and dedication they resurrected this program from the dark abyss it was in. These players could of easily transferred but stayed and helped to rebuild the program. Let’s not forget Richie did drop 52 on Allen Houston so yeah he had talent. I do agree though that Reggie Hanson should be up there for his efforts during that period. That team that defeated LSU with Oneil and Roberts with Hanson was amazing….

  68. Badams
    5:52 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    Joe Pa came down, he should to. He was in the rafters due bc he was from ky and in the probation era, not due to is talent and success. He shamed the people of KY. Kick rocks Farmer. Look what govt does, corrupts them all.

  69. catty
    9:42 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    absolutely take it down. And I am way over 30. He is an embarrassment to all Kentuckians and to all UK fans.

  70. catty
    9:49 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    really JHam you respect Richie Farmer because you are from Clay County and go to school with his son? Are you telling me that there isn’t anyone in Clay County that hasn’t accomplished anything HONESTLY that you can look up to instead? That’s pretty shameful. Clay County must really suck then. All those poor poor people in Clay County that Richie Farmer is the best ya’ got.

  71. UKBlue1!
    10:48 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    UK should remove his and Pitino’s but don’t announce it. See how long it will take for people to notice.

  72. bluecreeker
    11:00 am September 9, 2013 Permalink


    You and your ilk are an embarrassment to the BBN. Odds are, that you are nothing more than a common UofL fan who posts here to incite.

    The year was 1989:

    Rex Chapman left early
    Eric Manuel transferred
    Shawn Kemp transfered (never got here)
    Leron Ellis transfered next year
    Chris Mills transfered next year

    The only ones who stayed were the Kentucky boys and Shawn Mills.

    Pelphrey, Feldhaus, Farmer went on with the help of Rick Pitino and Jamal Mashburn to RESTORE THE PROGRAM FROM THE DEPTHS OF DISPARE.

    These kids (remember DA, they were kids at the time) elevated themselves due to nothing more than a challenge from Pitino, and the sheer pride that comes from young men who grew up living UK Basketball. They carried themselves like men in the face of insurmountable odd’s, and came 1 game from playing for a NC in 1991……….with nothing more than pride.

    So unless you were there, and unless you really know what was going on back then, shut ur pie hole.

    All kinds of stupid crap goes on in politics……just wait until they uncover all the BS Jerry Abrahamson did in Louisville…..Metro parks, MSD, and the YUM center.

  73. RUKiddingme
    1:51 pm September 9, 2013 Permalink

    @72 – Nailed it

  74. RUKiddingme
    1:54 pm September 9, 2013 Permalink

    @64 – John Wall got a leg up from UK and BBN…UK and BBN got a leg up from that team. Those 4 jerseys represent everything that UK basketball was built on.

  75. Captain Blue
    7:04 pm September 9, 2013 Permalink

    Leave it where it is. It’s there for the things that were accomplished then.
    Not for mistakes made decades later……GO BIG BLUE !!!!!