By LARRY VAUGHT
Even before Kentucky released its non-conference schedule for the 2019-2020 season, I had two friends who had already decided to give up season tickets at Rupp Arena.
Both decided to save money for postseason games and also to spent money for tickets to one or two high level games at Rupp Arena rather than shell out a donation to the Blue-White fund and buy season tickets.
Now that the schedule has been released, they are even happier.
“I have zero regrets for letting them go,” one season ticket holder told me. “I’d rather spend it on SEC (Tournament).”
She may not be alone and even with Rupp Arena taking out about 3,000 upper level seats this summer as part of the arena renovation, there still probably will be home games next season that are not sold out — and I am not talking about exhibition games against Georgetown College and Kentucky State.
The only marquee home game before SEC play is Louisville on Dec. 28.
Before that Rupp Arena season ticket holders got to see UK play UAB, Lamar, Utah Valley, Eastern Kentucky, Evansville, Mount St. Mary’s, Fairleigh Dickinson and Georgia Tech. Four of those teams had losing records last year. Only one made the NCAA Tournament and it lost in the first round.
Obviously UK is playing Evansville because former Cat Walter McCarty is the head coach. Kentucky is playing Georgia Tech because of John Calipari’s friendship with Josh Pastner. The game with Utah Valley was probably scheduled when former Cat Mark Pope was still the coach there.
But whatever the reason for scheduling any of the games, it’s not a schedule UK fans are going to love. Certainly there should be some good SEC home matchups. But if UK is going to play Lamar, why not play Murray. Instead of Mount St. Mary’s, what about Northern. Take Western Kentucky over Georgia Tech.
It also continues to irk me that five times during the high school football season, UK has a basketball event at Rupp Arena. I understand the SEC won’t let other sports play on Saturdays during football season but those UK basketball games/exhibitions on Friday night are not good for high school football .
But that’s nothing to how upset some fans are getting with the home schedule and showing it by not renewing season tickets.