By LARRY VAUGHT
No general alcohol sales at University of Kentucky sporting events and why UK’s non-conference basketball schedule is what it is got most of the attention from Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart’s time with the media last week.
However, he also dropped a nugget of info about why Kentucky’s football scheduling philosophy won’t change either.
Barnhart was asked about dropping a FCS game UK plays each season and adding another FBS opponent — UK does play Louisville along with eight Southeastern Conference games each season. The UK AD made it clear the Cats have no interest in upgrading the schedule and then said it was more about helping FCS teams than adding a tougher opponent that might be more apt to beat UK.
“I think we’re in a good spot. Our scheduling philosophy has worked out pretty well,” Barnhart said.
Now here comes the interesting comments.
“Last year I said this: The FCS opponents are important. They’re important for the game of college football. If those schools began dropping college football, we lose opportunities for young people in high school to go play college football other places. We’ve got to keep those folks alive. Those folks only can stay alive if they have about a game or two a year on their schedule, they can get some money from an FBS school that allows them to keep their programs rolling. Really important to do that,” Barnhart said.
Not sure I have heard another SEC athletics director talk about how important it was to play FCS opponents to “keep those folks alive” with the money they make by playing a Power-5 opponent with a big-money guarantee.
“The game of college football is not in trouble, but it needs some help, and we’ve got to make sure we prop it up in the right way, and propping it up in the right way means scheduling some of these FCS schools and making sure they have a chance to keep their programs viable because that creates opportunity, and that keeps people excited about the game of football,” Barnhart.
Do you buy that as a valid reason for not upgrading the schedule or do you just believe the schedule is what it is to help make sure UK has opponents each year that it should beat?