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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Here is What The Calipari Scheduling Has Got Us (And Not)

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Did the University of Kentucky athletic department think that announcing Georgia Tech as a home game this year would excite the fans?  If they did, they grossly miscalculated how frustrated the fans are with the direction the schedule has moved during the Calipari tenure.  Before Calipari, there were yearly home and home series with Indiana, North Carolina, and Louisville.  There were also consistent home games with a rotating group of home games against Power conference opponents.  Maryland in 1999 is still considered one of the best non-conference games in UK history.  The Indiana and UNC series have been eliminated and instead the movement towards neutral site games and pre-organized “classic” games have led to UK fans having to travel to see any good non-conference games and season ticket holders with a high bill for a bunch of rum-dum teams.  And make no mistake, Georgia Tech is a rum-dum.

As best I could, here is what I think we’ve gained and lost in scheduling in the Calipari era:

Here’s What We Gained
Champions Classic Games: 3 x Kansas, 3 x Duke, 3 x Michigan State (all neutral)
CBS Classic Games: 2 x UCLA, 2 x North Carolina, 2 x Ohio State (all neutral)
Barclay’s Center Classic (2012, Maryland)
Neutral against Providence (2013, Brooklyn)
Hoophall Miami Invitational (2015, South Florida)
Atlantis Showcase (2016, Arizona State)
Neutral against Hofstra (2016, Brooklyn)
Neutral against Monmouth (2017, New York)
Neutral against Seton Hall (2018, New York)
Home Game against Utah (2018)
Home Game against Georgia Tech (2019)

Here’s What We Lost
*Maui Classic (played last in 2010, Cal didn’t schedule)
*Pre-Season Tournament (last played in 2012)
*Indiana Series (removed after 2013)
*North Carolina Series (removed in 2015)

Now, of course there is a strategy for Kentucky.  And that strategy is bigger arena games against big name opponents that get on television.  But the average fan, one who can’t travel to Indianapolis much less Brooklyn and New York, is being robbed of opportunities to see the Cats play in Rupp Arena more and more.  In seasons when Louisville is not going to Rupp Arena, such as 2020, you MIGHT get one opponent worth watching in the non-conference and, considering season ticket prices, that might not even be true.

This is strictly a strategy decision by UK.  But what are we doing here?  Do the fans not matter any longer?  I’ve already lamented the football schedule is woefully weak as well but decent people can disagree about that decision.  There should be no disagreement that we have slowly but surely move from a schedule that fans could enjoy to one that absolutely spits in the face of the average fan, only benefits the wealthy fan, and actually hasn’t improved the strength of the schedule from those in the pre-2010’s.  When you remove a home game to schedule neutral games against Hofstra, Monmouth, Arizona State, and Seton Hall, you do so without the fans in mind.  And that should concern everybody.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

31 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Here is What The Calipari Scheduling Has Got Us (And Not)

  1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    10:07 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    Sorry, but the IU series is no loss as long as they refuse to take measures that will keep their fans from trampling our players. See ya Loosiers.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      10:19 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      You’re right about the neutral site games though. I think they have their place, but a home and home with at least 1 power school is in order.

      Remember though, a lot of this started under Slickie Rickie. I remember a fan calling into his show and saying we needed a home and home with Kansas (and this was in response to UK going to places like the Meadowlands to play a Duke or a Syracuse for recruiting exposure) and Pitino saying “Why?” His point was what does that do for UK recruiting exposure? So, this is not new, but granted, it seems that it’s even more the case now than it was in the Pitino years.

      Now, it’s one thing to play power teams at neutral sites. It’s quite another to expect fans to make the trek to NYC and pay big bucks to see them play garbage teams. Monmouth? Hofstra? Gag!!!

  2. mashman 93
    10:17 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    I am frustrated a bit too but I would bet the other blue blood programs schedule a lot like Kentucky does now.

  3. J-Dub421
    10:26 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    The BBN is spread out everywhere. Our fanbase is more than just some rich old people in the lower arena at Rupp.

    • catdaddyd
      11:27 am July 25, 2019 Permalink

      How does playing Monmouth in NYC to a half filled arena help recruiting?

  4. CatsfaninFL
    10:39 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    1) you left out Va Tech and Baylor which have been solid teams when we played them (even lost to them)
    2) there are PLENTY of games for the average fan to go see. They can’t fill Rupp anymore. They only fill it over the so called big games you’re advocating for and the “average fan” isn’t paying those prices on the secondary market. Those are the same fans who can fly to Brooklyn, Vegas, etc.
    3) You can blame this on the SEC too. Home and Homes do nothing to prep us for the tourny. BBN would never allow us to be that much of an underdog in a neutral setting. As NCAA chooses these large venues, it behooves our team to play in that environment.
    4) IU does not deserve our game. Period. Us playing them home/home only benefits them and their classless fanbase. Let them languish in obscurity without us.
    5) The ONLY argument I think that can be made to rebut my #3 is that the SEC is so tough now, home and homes against tough competition could help prep us for those games, in turn helping our seeding by doing better in conference.

    • CatsfaninFL
      10:41 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      #3 should be NCAA not SEC … my bad

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:02 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      11:10 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      The SEC has gotten a lot tougher, definitely, but we’re UK, and I think at least one upper tier team as a home and home is in order.

    • CatsfaninFL
      11:22 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Yah I wish we would drop CBS classic and pick up home and home with UNC again. Or any rotating upper tier team.. doesn’t have to be same team every year. 2 years of UNC, 2 years of Gonzaga, 2 years of Villanova… i think that would be huge and you just offset it with Louisville game so you’re guarenteed one marquee home noncon game every year.

  5. CatfaninCinci
    10:52 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    Have the fans EVER truly mattered in business decisions modern day? No. It’s a calculated risk. And trust me, Cat fans who give up their season tickets over this, would quickly be replaced by someone who has been waiting for those tickets to open up. FNs are pretty much powerless here and I don’t see that changing. There’s only one way it would change. Donors start boycotting. And that will never happen.

  6. treeham3
    10:52 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    Here’s my take…
    1) Ticket prices are too high even for non high tier
    games and forget about the higher tiered teams
    most tickets that you can find for anything close to
    Reasonable are up in the rafters.
    2). With rotating freshmen coming in every year (and
    1 month of practice/teaching) it makes more sense
    to start out with an easier schedule for the first few.
    3). Playing in state teams is a couple of in state teams
    Is good for both sides and some of the lower tiered
    Games are against teams that have been NCAA
    Tournament teams each year.
    4). Fans should be supporting their program and players
    No matter who they’re playing. Once you’ve sat down
    Calipari/Stoops and heard their reasons for the
    Choice of which teams to schedule then come on
    Here and bellyache. Until then (or once you’re hired
    As head coach) please present your opinions in a
    More positive manner…it’s getting harder and harder
    To come on here and enjoy the info presented.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:03 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      How much should they cost, in your opinion?

    • Kernel Sanders
      11:30 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t have an answer as far as how much they should cost. But when it costs upwards of $520 (face value for Louisville game for example) to take a family of four and sit in the upper arena rafters for a home college game, then something is wrong. And that doesn’t include parking, food, drink or bless those Western KY fans, a hotel room for a night.

  7. antiquefurnitureandmidgets
    11:02 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever written this but BTI is spot on. And it’s pitiful that anyone would argue the point. The home schedule has been getting watered down for years. There’s no need to defend the program or Calipari on this. The athletics department is wrong on the subject and so is he. Some fans have become so beholden to Cal that they accept zero criticism of the way he does things. More ridiculous is anyone bringing up attendance. Much of the dip in attendance (outside of the same challenges live sports are facing across the country) can be attributed to a lousy home lineup. It’s bizarre to me that fans who have been getting cheated on a home schedule season after season would endeavor to defend the practice. Good grief.

  8. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    11:09 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    All of you guys make some…SOME…good points about scheduling, but you can’t expect fans to get excited about a D2 (or glorified D2) team coming into Rupp the same as a UNCheat or a Duke, especially with the ticket prices these days.

    Football is different. As I’ve said over and over, we have to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run. I have no interest in going out of conference to play a Clemson or Ohio State unless and until we have sustained success (several years like last year in a row, or at least, say, 3 or 4 years out of 5 with 10 wins or more).

    • Trinity45
      2:09 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Cal has taken the fans for granted a bit. I could careless about IU and would never go back there if I were coach either. But I would not pay for season tickets with the schedule we play in Rupp either. He keeps pushing these neutral site games that cost fans tons of money every year.

  9. CrystalBall
    11:25 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    It is getting more difficult to schedule a Power 5 team on a home and home schedule. They would rather schedule a winnable home game instead of having that away game every other year. CBB scheduling is much more complicated than most fans realize. Especially for the top Power 5 schools.

  10. Rod Crandler
    11:28 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    You assume that other big name schools have an interest in playing at Rupp in November or December..
    Most are doing the same thing UK is. (Indiana you don’t count as a big name school any longer) Losing a game in November doesn’t do anything other than hurt your seeding in March.

  11. CrystalBall
    11:38 am July 24, 2019 Permalink

    UK should never, ever, add Indiana to their schedule.

  12. VirginiaCat
    12:44 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

    The bigger point is that Cal has no particular allegiance to the program or its fans. He is focused on his legacy of getting players to the NBA. That is no secret. He has said on more than one occasion that the name of the front of the jersey is secondary to the name on the back. Cal views the NBA draft as the highlight of the season. To his credit, Cal has been honest about his priorities. The program and its fans have never been high on his pecking order. As a fan, you have to accept that as part of the overall package.

    • runningunnin.454
      12:56 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      You are obsessed with a recruiting pitch to prospective recruits and their parents, and you sound like a one string banjo. Over and over and over ad nauseam.

    • CatfaninCinci
      2:10 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Blah blah, I hate Calipari… Blah blah, At least Billy Gillispie didn’t recruit one and done… Blah blah, I miss Tubby.

      These ‘football only’ fans drive me insane. It used to bother me to a point where I’d root for the football team to struggle because they’re so insufferable. But that would make me no better than they are, plus, I actually like UK football and basketball. They can’t root for both teams.

    • bdill
      2:18 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Can’t wait to run Cal off so we get to a coach the fanbase will never complain about. That will happen, right? Unbelievable. Let’s see, should we complain about our win-loss record heading into Jan or strength of scheduling? The success this coach has brought to our program in modern days is unprecedented, yet we still find ways to b#tch…….

    • 4everUKblue
      3:20 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      I’m not so sure VaCat is not mashbumfan, sounds a lot like him.

    • VirginiaCat
      3:52 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      As usual, a predictable overreaction. I don’t think that I said anything that is not supported by actions and deeds. Additionally, I gave Cal credit for being honest about his priorities. Debate the points, gentleman, and forego the consternation. Breath. Relax. Breath.

    • J-Dub421
      5:00 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Cal has also repeatedly said he wants to go 40-0 and win every game we play and win the title every year, but you never seem to remember those do you, Virginia? Nice selective memory.

    • CrystalBall
      6:19 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

      Virginia. A truefan would know that Cal’s remarks are aimed at future 5 star recruits. Their dream is to make millions by being a first round pick. You will never
      successfully recruit them with the message of winning a National Title.

  13. JTHinton
    1:57 pm July 24, 2019 Permalink

    UNC series was removed in 2012/13. Temporarily revived for games in 13/14 and 14/15, and it died with the founding of the CBS Sports Classic.

  14. rockatao
    8:44 am July 25, 2019 Permalink

    Every game is on television and that’s how 99% of BBN will watch it anyhow, whether it’s at Rupp or somewhere else.