As expected, Mark Stoops was asked about Mitch Barnhart’s decision to not allow public alcohol sales at Kroger Field this fall. Also as expected, Stoops didn’t address the issue directly, but said he knows the decision was a delicate one for Barnhart and UK President Eli Capilouto to make following the tragic death of Marco Shemwell outside the stadium last fall.
“The only thing I’ll say is I have great confidence in the leadership in Dr. Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart in their decisions. It’s above my pay grade so I don’t put a lot of thought into that because it’s just not my job but I trust them. I believe in their leadership and those are hard decisions. I think there are strong opinions on both sides and they obviously put a lot of thought into it and there’s a lot for them to consider.
“I know — I’ll just say it’s just hard. I know going to that funeral a year ago was very difficult for me and our team as well. Anything that revolved around the game, drinking, and have an accident like that was very heartfelt for me personally and the team. But Mitch and Dr. Capilouto I have a lot of confidence in and I’m sure they thought things through and are doing the very best they can. I know that.”
Stoops added that he hopes fans don’t use the decision as an excuse not to come to games because the team needs their support.
“I can promise you that – I don’t want any reason or any excuse for there not be a fantastic atmosphere right out here in the stadium at Kroger Field here this year. We have a very good football team that’s worked very hard and I’m proud of the work that we’ve done to this point. I’m very excited about the future and greatly appreciate the fan support. We truly have the best fans in the country and there’s nothing better than when we walk out there and see that full stadium and we need it that way every week. That’s my plea to the fans. We need that. It takes all of us all the time. We need that support. We need that place rocking. It makes a difference. It makes a difference with recruiting, it makes a difference with our team and we’re all a part of that.”