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Mitch Barnhart knows UK will have to “figure” out attendance limits — but it won’t be near 100 percent

Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Sometimes we just need to hear the obvious — and that’s exactly what University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart told us Thursday during a Zoom meeting with the Lexington Rotary Club.

The assumption has been even if there is Southeastern Conference football, seating capacity for fans will be dramatically limited this season.

“In terms of capacity, I think a lot of that’s going to come out of Frankfort,” Barnhart said. “We’re watching the Kentucky Derby very closely to see how the Derby is managed. That comes up on Sept. 5.

“Others states, you’ve heard 50 percent (fan attendance), you’ve heard different numbers, and social distancing.”

Whatever the number turns out to be, it won’t be 60,000 plus at Kroger Field to watch the Cats.

“I don’t know how we’ll ever be at 100 percent capacity or what we’ll call that,” Barnhart said. “We’ll have to figure something up.

“I would love to have fans in the stands. I don’t know where I fall on percentages, but I want as many people in there watching the Cats as we can get in there. So we’ll leave it at that.”

What about capacity for Rupp Arena during basketball season?

“We’ve gotta step through football first before we figure out basketball. One step at a time,” Barnhart said.

And he’s right. Worry about basketball after we see what happens with football — and even the Kentucky Derby.

Barnhart also again explained how travel will be different for UK teams this year. He wants teams to focus on playing with a six-hour trip of Lexington via bus or plane.

“We’re limited in what we can do and there are some resource capabilities that we’ll have to acknowledge. We’ll have to change how we do a little bit of our work,” Barnhart said. “We’re not the only ones. Schools all across the country are making the same adjustments.”

And the guess here is that the adjustments are just starting.


  1. You would think playing louisville 1 hour away would make more sense than playing a team 10 hours away. One non conference game makes a lot more sense.

  2. Good, I like to hear Louisville whine, and they will. If this 10 game SEC schedule stands, it means the trophy stays in Lexington for another year. Louisville is aching for revenge, Get in line Louisville, UK has a tough 10 game SEC schedule to worry about.

    1. I would say about 40,000 spread out over CWS (Kroger Field) would work.

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