By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky fan Jackie Long of Lexington says she is “a ‘Cat fan forever” on her Twitter profile but that doesn’t mean she’s afraid to voice her displeasure when she feels something is not right.
She did that on Twitter this week when she went to buy two UK baseball season tickets again. The Longs were expecting to purchase club seating for the new baseball stadium based on their Fund points but she found that club, loge and box seats were all already sold out — and she was not happy.
She posted this message on Twitter to UK officials: “We have been baseball season ticket holders for several years. We have tickets to football, softball, baseball, women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics. We make additional contributions every year. We are done. We got completely screwed on our football tix with the shuffling in CWS (Commonwealth Stadium). It has taken us years to get to a section we are 1/2 way satisfied with. WE ARE DONE. Clearly the fat cats buy up the seats, and the fans are constantly screwed. We would even buy $$$ football seats but have basically been told ‘not in our lifetime.’ So, I hope you are happy, Mitch (Barnhart). The support we have given over the years is done. UK cares nothing about the fans, just the $. It has taken us a long time to get to this place in our thinking, but we are there.”
Her Twitter rant continued by noting that no football stadium upgrades were made for the average fan and that instead of paying twice as much for the same seats that they would use the money for vacation.
Jackie Long’s rant caught my attention because she is more than a football fan or men’s basketball fan as she noted. Jackie and Tad Long support numerous UK sports and if she was that upset, it made me think she had ample reason to feel that way.
I was even more intrigued to learn her Twitter rant actually prompted someone in the UK athletics office to track down her husband and call him about her tweets.
“And they did not call to see how they could help. Their mission was to shut me up. The dude was rude and defensive with Tad. It has sent me into orbit that they would call my husband to tattle on me,” Jackie Long said. “If they don’t like what I said, they should take it up with me. I can promise you, Tad Long has no control over what I say, although sometimes he would like to.”
Frustrated? Just a bit but I think most fans understand why.
They have cancelled all their season tickets except football — which were already paid for. No more KFund donations, either.
“I’m just really disappointed in the way they have treated us when we have given thousands of dollars to UK Athletics. But if you aren’t giving Joe Craft money, they couldn’t care less. It’s really sad,” Jackie Long said. “This all started because we were pretty high up in the selection list, and all of the premium seats were gone (meaning never really available to the season ticket holders), and most of the good reserved seats were gone. So while we were prepared to pay for club seating, not even a seat comparable to the one we had was available. I. The football selection, we lost our awesome covered seats that we had sat in and watched every play of that Joker train wreck.”
Hopefully baseball coach Nick Mingione, softball coach Rachel Lawson or volleyball coach Craig Skinner can reach out to the Longs because they are the kind of fans you don’t want to lose. Jackie Long said the caller told her husband that the couple missed too many baseball games last season and that was a consideration for their seating priority. That didn’t “sit” well with Jackie Long, either.
“We didn’t make it to a lot of games because of crappy weather, a lot of games start at 4 and we work, and you can’t get there much after the first pitch or they give away your dang seat that you paid for, which was why we wanted to buy club seats,” Jackie Long said. “Out of the weather and we could get there late, that way we could get to more games. I’m so mad.”
Not sure if this has happened to other fans. Not sure if anyone can do anything about it. But I know fans like the Longs love the Wildcats and I’m hoping someone at UK athletics can make the attempt to help solve this dilemma rather than lose two true blue fans.