Will we see a photo as beautiful as the one shown above, Kroger Field filled with crazy, passionate fans screaming at the top of their lungs, this fall? That remains uncertain.
What we do know, however, is that we are one day closer to seeing college football, along with other major sports such as Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, and college basketball, on our television screens and potentially in person.
The likes of UFC, the PGA Tour, horse racing, NASCAR, and professional soccer have all returned to play in some form or fashion, with the MLB (July 23) and NBA (July 30) being the next two to make their highly anticipated returns.
While questions of spectators being allowed inside and the specific number of fans if so remain, we’re reaching some level of clarity on the future of sports in the very near future, as various training camps are now just a few weeks away.
While we wait on the edge of our seats for an official return to the likes of basketball, football, and baseball, let’s catch up on the latest in the world of UK Athletics and beyond.
No tailgating this fall?
Speaking of determining whether fans will be allowed inside at games and just how many, Cats Illustrated’s Justin Rowland broke a bit of news Thursday afternoon on the topic of game-day environments.
While nothing official has been released on fan numbers inside football venues this fall, Rowland is hearing there will be no tailgating at football games this year.
“Hearing that as of right now it’s looking like no tailgating at football games this fall,” Rowland said on Twitter. “Trying to get more but my understanding is that was the signal from the SEC.”
Regarding in-stadium fan numbers, the Cats Illustrated expert is hearing that as of today, the SEC is leaning toward schools making their own decisions regarding attendance as opposed to a blanket rule across the conference.
“Also told that the SEC is inclined to allow its schools to make decisions on their own throughout the season, re: overall fan attendance, based on trends & covid-19 hot spots,” he said.
Max Duffy named preseason All-American
Sticking on the topic of football, one of Kentucky’s top returning players has added yet another preseason accolade to his impressive resume.
On Thursday, Sporting News announced UK star punter Max Duffy as a first-team preseason All-American. The senior special teams standout was also listed on Walter Camp’s 2020 preseason All-America team earlier this month.
Duffy, a native of Perth, Australia, was a game-changing weapon on special teams for the Wildcats in 2019. Kentucky led the nation in net punting with a 44.55-yard net average and Duffy led the nation in punting at 48.10 yards per punt. He won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp, the AP, Sporting News, ESPN, FWAA, AFCA Coaches’, The Athletic, USA Today, Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. He is UK’s career punt leader with a 46.3-yard average.
Outside of Duffy’s selection, Pick Six Previews released their preseason All-American team, with three total offensive selections for the Kentucky football program.
Unsurprisingly, all three of UK’s selections are represented on the offensive line, with Landon Young and Darian Kinnard earning third-team honors, while Drake Jackson holds down the fort on the fourth team.
Teams with multiple Preseason All-American (Offense) selections:
4 – Alabama
4 – Ohio State
4 – USC
3 – Clemson
3 – Kentucky
2 – Iowa
2 – Louisville
2 – Oklahoma
2 – Oklahoma State
2 – Oregon
2 – Penn State
2 – Tennessee
2 – Washington State
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) June 25, 2020
NCAA extends recruiting dead period
The wait continues for coaches hoping to recruit high-profile prospects in person.
Thursday afternoon, the NCAA’s Division I Council announced it would be extending the current recruiting dead period in all sports through Aug. 31.
Now, no in-person recruiting will be allowed to take place, limiting coaches to phone calls and video conferences.
“The full Council and the Council Coordination Committee will continue to review the recruiting dead periods on a regular basis,” the NCAA’s statement read. “A dead period precludes all in-person recruiting. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur.”
Outside of recruiting, the NCAA also announced they would keeping the summer access model as it stands, which allows for eight weeks of training, conditioning and skill instruction.
“Additionally, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees indicated they are not planning to recommend any changes to the summer access model that was adopted last week, which permits institutions to begin summer countable athletically related activities in basketball beginning July 20 and may include up to eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and skill instruction, with not more than four hours of skill instruction.”
Dominique Hawkins signs with Slovakian professional team
Former Kentucky guard Dominique Hawkins is headed to Slovakia to continue his professional basketball career.
Early this morning, Eurobasket.com broke he news that Hawkins has signed with BKM Lucenec in the SBL.
“BKM Lucenec (SBL) tabbed 26-year old American point guard Dominique Hawkins,” the report reads. “He played most recently at Ehingen in German ProA. In 16 games he averaged 7.1ppg, 1.5rpg and 2.1apg last season. Hawkins also spent pre-season at Valur (Dominos League) in Icelandic league.
“He is a very experienced player. Hawkins has played also professionally in Denmark (Horsens IC), Estonia (Rapla), Latvia and The Basketball Tournament (Bluegrass Boys).
“Among many awards his team made it to the Estonian League Semifinals in 2018. Hawkins received also Eurobasket.com All-Estonian League 1st Team award in 2018.”
The spotlight shifts to Franklin County on KSR
Matt Jones and the KSR crew are continuing their Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass (Virtual) Tour with a day dedicated to Franklin County.
What do you need to know about Franklin? Find out today on Kentucky Sports Radio.