Kyle Tucker continues to do fine Kyle Tucker work over at The Athletic and his latest contribution is worthy of a shout-out here on our pages because he went in-depth with Mitch Barnhart about several big topics. The biggest, of course, is the university’s decision to not sell alcohol at games and Barnhart’s explanation of that decision. Tucker pressed him on the issue in their hour-long conversation that you should absolutely read right here.
“It’s not a matter of trust. It’s a matter of numbers,” Barnhart said, when asked to explain why it appears the wealthy can be trusted to drink but the common fan can’t. “We’re talking about 60,000 people in a stadium and 20,000 in basketball. Proximity to our field with our young people. It’s about our ability to secure our facilities in a way that makes it safe for everybody, whatever that venue is, and making sure that everybody has an experience they want. I’m not sure serving alcohol makes everybody’s experience better. It isn’t a matter of trust, but it is a matter of our ability to give a good game-day experience to the majority.”
When asked if he botched the explanation — like myself and so many others believe he did — Barnhart said, “How I articulated that, if it came across not like everyone wanted, I apologize for that. But my goal in the whole thing was to say, “Hey, look, this is hard — these are hard decisions — and at the end of the day, there are responsibilities we have that we need to think about.”
The rest of the 5,000+ word Q&A with UK’s AD includes talk of Coach Cal’s lifetime contract, Barnhart’s new gig with the NCAA Tournament selection committee, Kyle Macy’s comments, facility upgrades and even the hiring of Billy Gillispie. There is a ton of good stuff for UK fans to digest, so take a couple minutes to read it all right here. (You will have to pay though.)
Back to the alcohol issue, Barnhart also said he will be monitoring the other schools in the SEC to see where it goes. And if you think the common fan is forgotten, those new chair-back seats throughout Kroger Field weren’t cheap and the upgrade reached the very top of the stadium.
“If popularity for me is as simple as making sure everybody’s got a beer in the stands, then I’ll sacrifice my popularity to make sure that I think we’re doing what’s right.”
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) August 12, 2019