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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Can UK have a 3rd Major Sport?

It strikes me as a little bit odd that the Kentucky softball team has not received as much publicity as you would think is deserved for making it to the College World Series.  Yes, TV stations and blogs and newspapers mentioned the team taking 2 of 3 at UCLA over the weekend.  But I still don’t think it got the attention it deserved.  UCLA is the premiere program of women’s softball.  They have won 11 national titles in a sport that didn’t start giving out national titles until 1982.  Oh, and they’ve finished runner-up another 7 times.  Which means in the 31 years that college softball has had a national championship, UCLA has been in the national title game in 18 of 31 years.  That is an incredible dynasty and Kentucky just bounced them on their home field in the NCAA Tournament.

I’m not saying softball should ever come up to the passion and fanhood of a basketball or football.  But, what if the girls go on to win the national title?  Or what if they become regulars in the College World Series?  Is there any possibility of softball becoming a major sports for the university?  Not a revenue sport, but a sport that develops a serious following amongst the fans?  Think Tennessee women’s basketball or LSU baseball?  Consider that the Tigers average over 11,000 fans per game in a sport where you will see 35-40 home games a year.  Obviously the UK Softball complex doesn’t hold that many people, but could we ever get to a spot where UK softball sells out every home game?

I don’t see why not.  Men’s basketball is always going to be king and football in the south is always going to draw serious interest.  But, the football team success on the field leaves much to desire.  If there was another team on campus who year in and year out were national competitors, would the UK nation stand behind that team, even if it was in a female sport?  I think softball could be the perfect option for UK fans.  The game moves along much faster than baseball and the smaller fields and shorter basepaths can often lead to a more exciting game.  The games only go 7 innings as well, so it is not a huge time consumer.  Plus, it’s an outdoor activity, which I always like better than the indoors.

Is it possible?  If the UK softball team was making regular trips to the CWS in Oklahoma City, could they become a “major” sport at UK?  Or is it men’s basketball and football for eternity?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

40 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Can UK have a 3rd Major Sport?

  1. KevinM
    9:09 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Really enjoyed that replay of the UCLA game this am. These girls are good!

    Very few mistakes, and that battery is gold!

    Saw this stat: UCLA has not been to the WCWS since 2010, so that dynasty is over.

  2. UKfanNKY
    9:10 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    You are exactly right they do not get the attention they deserve I got soooooo damn tired of listening to the idiot announcers on ESPN when they played UCLA. All they talked about was how great ucla was and never gave KY a chance but guess what you fools we (KENTUCKY) made you and ESPN look STUPID!! GOOD LUCK TO THE LADYCATS NOW GO OUT AND KICK BUTT!! GO CATS!!!

    • gobgblu37
      1:47 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

      Amen brother, Holly Rowe kept bring up how long it had been since UCLA had been to CWS but NEVER mention that UK had never been. Finally in the last game when UK was definitely showing they could win it, she finally brings up that UK had never been to the CWS.

  3. Bomb 'o' Matic
    9:12 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    I really enjoy watching softball. The games are fast paced and the talent is actually aesthetically pleasing.

  4. Beth
    9:16 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    “I’m not saying softball should ever come up to the passion and fanhood of a basketball or football.” Did you mean “should” or “will” there? Sounds like you’re the one discounting softball.
    I like softball, and baseball, and volleyball, and women’s basketball. They are all fun to watch for anyone who gives them a chance.

  5. Thearmadillojackal
    9:30 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    The games are more action packed than baseball making them surprisingly fun to watch. To answer the question, I think it is possible that UK softball could gain a major following over the next 10 years if they can sustain this level of success.

  6. No
    9:34 am May 29, 2014 Permalink


    • Luther
      1:21 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

      Nope and it’s not even close…

  7. TheWildcatsNuttsak
    9:35 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for the Great Read! Enjoy the faster pace. Give em H%ll Bat Kittens!!!!!

  8. Greg
    9:36 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    With a daughter that plays softball I’ve become a huge UK softball fan over the last 3-5 years. They do a great job at the games of engaging the fans and the game is exciting. I think you’ll see it become more and more popular. A sellout is only around 1800-1900 and that’s really a pretty great crowd for most programs in the country. It would be great to see more support from the #bbn. We have some very high character ladies that are extremely easy to cheer for and represent the university with class and style! ….and Tennessee ever letting Skeeter out of the state was a big mistake! Go CATS!

  9. just saying
    9:37 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    dont get me wrong! UK WSB pulled a great feat, and needs the praise it deserves, but if your asking “If there was another team on campus who year in and year out were national competitors, would the UK nation stand behind that team, even if it was in a female sport?”, I would go as far as to say Coach Mitchell and the UK Hoops team may find a little disrespect to this question.

    • Bryan the Intern
      9:59 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

      They need to make a Final Four before calling them “national competitors”.

  10. MtnCat
    9:37 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Womens softball is a contender for everybody’s entertainment dollar. So is women’s volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics to a lesser degree. Championship performance will get attention. To the point of becoming a revenue generator? Not without Madison Avenue level advertising and exposure. If there’s a buck to be made somebody will bring it to market. Athletics should /will at some point be semipro sponsored leagues instead of academic sponsored events, Education is becoming just too damn expensive to subsidize at the level sport is headed. There are better market based ways to provide athletic opportunity.
    Go Kittens!

  11. Ummm
    9:37 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    What about Women’s Basketball or Baseball?

  12. Gonzo
    9:38 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Third major sport. I know basketball is one, and I guess you are talking about cheerleading as number two? I mean the rifle team has done well. Football is a popular sport but is it “major.” Seems to me more like a social event than a sporting event. I am not trying to rag on stoops and co, but as someone who grew up in Lexington all football meant to me was bad traffic.

    • 1, 2, 3!
      10:01 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

      1. Men’s Basketball
      2. Women’s Basketball
      3. Baseball

  13. jdthom
    9:43 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Add a “Softball” tag/link to the top of your home page on this site.

  14. JHK
    9:45 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Waddya mean a third ? What’s our second ?

    • Catlanta
      9:46 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

      The basketball team’s bench is the second.

  15. LP
    9:50 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    We must hold on to Rachel Lawson for that to happen. From NEVER making the NCAA tournament in softball, in 7 seasons under Lawson we have made 6 straight NCAA’s, 3 super regionals and now a WCWS.

    I think the continued success of team sports will lead to larger crowds all around. Women’s BB ranks 11th nationally in attendance and that’s with having to compete at the same time as Men’s BB. Softball/Baseball don’t have to compete with basketball or football so as the success continues I see the attendance continuing to improve.

  16. UKBlue1!
    10:00 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Congrats! Go Lady Cats.

  17. JackB
    10:07 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Could be the 4th major sport – behind basketball, football, women’s basketball, softball, baseball, every other sport, then soccer.

    Soccer sucks.

  18. J.
    10:15 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    As a UK student, I whole heartedly support this. I have some really good friends on the team, and the girls don’t get near the attention they deserve, especially because of the opportunity for “Hittin’ Kittens” t-shirts.

  19. bbenton
    10:53 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    With the increase in televised games, I can totally see UK Softball taking off (SEC Network)!! I am a UK alumni but currently up in Michigan working for U of M and the softball team is the third most popular team here on campus.. A great coach makes the difference, Lawson has been able to bring in great talent in a conference that has the best athletes in the country.. Can’t wait to watch the CATS tonight take down those ragin cajuns..

  20. katfantoo
    11:17 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    I am actually VERY impressed with the athletic abilities of these young ladies . If anyone has ever tried to hit a fast-pitched softball thrown by a talented pitcher you’ll appreciate the degree of difficulty involved . I don’t know if the team has achieved the consistency required for ” 3rd Major Sport ” in terms of fan-following here . but if they start making the tournament on a more consistent basis then maybe . I believe in that ol’ adage ” If you build it they will come ” , so first lets make a DEEP RUN or even better , WIN IT ! …………then we can start the PROCESS of building something that could be termed a MAJOR SPORT FOLLOWING

  21. Greg
    11:25 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Coach Lawson was a great hire and the “Hittin’ Kittens” are a blast to watch. Don’t pass up a chance to go see them play.

  22. beth
    11:26 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    What’s with all the “kittens” comments? They are college-aged, just like any of our mens’ teams.

  23. Sports of all sorts
    11:26 am May 29, 2014 Permalink

    1. Men’s basketball
    2. Women’s basketball
    3. Baseball
    4. Softball

    Give the baseball and softball team coaches some raises which they deserve and have “earned”.
    All they are doing is producing victories and winners.

    Can’t believe giving a salary increase to coaches of a 2-10 football team. Oh, wait a minute, they are building a program. Hilarious!

  24. Martyman
    12:04 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    What about the UK Cheerleaders?!? Just look at all the National Championships they’ve brought home..
    I’d put them in there like this:
    1). Men’s Basketball
    2). Women’s Basketball
    3). UK Cheerleading prgm.
    4). Women’s Softball
    5). Men’s Baseball

  25. rickshelton
    12:31 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    UK Softball and Volleyball are two of the best kept secrets in Lexington sports. These girls are skilled, cute, and deadly. What’s not to like about that!

  26. YouKnow
    12:33 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    No. UK Cheerleaders are already yearly national contenders and you didn’t even think to mention them. It will be Basketball and football for eternity.

  27. bluegrassstu
    1:26 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    Besides football, what would be the second major sport? Basketball? I can do without basketball, it is okay as a sport. Once march madness gets here, then i get mildly interested.

  28. To further my thought: it is all about marketing these days, and that would be GREAT marketing.

  29. Joey Rupption
    1:57 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    “Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” applies.

  30. Ukcatzfan
    4:51 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    To have 3 major sports , first you have to have 2::::::::
    Mens basketball and ????????
    Womens basketball could be the second one,

    • Truth
      9:40 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

      UKcatzfan bringing the ghey to the thread (good show).

  31. polticaly correct
    5:13 pm May 29, 2014 Permalink

    hell to the no! charge twenty dollars to woman’s softball u wouldn’t get 20 people there , no matter how much UK wants to act like these sports do not matter they lose massive amonts of money. Uk better get football in order or all the other doesn’t matter sports will start getting cut

  32. Rob
    7:27 am May 30, 2014 Permalink

    I follow all UK teams but especially like softball and volleyball. UK has done real well recently in both sports.