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More dumb things at UK



So help me, I think that UK’s athletic bigwigs get together once a week and ask each other, “What can we do to mess up Wildcat sports this week?”

How else can the university find itself is so many goofy situations?

For instance:

When UK and U of L played the first game of the football season, they were always assured of the game being on national television. But UK insisted that this year’s game in Lexington would be played the third week of the season, which happens to be loaded with some of the biggest games of the season. At last report, UK had not been able to interest national television.

That’s one major dumb thing UK has done.

The second is that by moving the showdown to both teams’ third game of the season, UK has done U of L a major favor.Why? Because instead of getting U of L in its first game under new coach Steve Kragthorpe, U of L will now have two games to get used to a new coach and his offense and defense.

Allan and Obama

Allan Houston, the former Ballard High, Tennessee, and pro basketball star, now moves in important circles. Allan and his wife Tamara recently hosted a fundraiser for presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill.

According to The New York Times, Obama saw Allan’s basketball court and was eager to take a few shots.

Allan joked that he would not think of wiping off the scuff marks of “the future president.”

Allan and Tamara live in a gated community that has a Greenwich, Conn., address but actually is in Armonk, N.Y.

Tickets cost $1,000 to $2,300.

Dang it, Allan, at those prices, “Uncle Earl” would have bought two.

Don’t knock Gillispie

Yes, Billy Clyde Gillispie was wrong to ask his A.D. to buy out UK’s contract for a basketball game in the Celtics’ arena in Boston.

Yes, the A.D. was wrong to cave in.

But remember this, it’s a fact of life that the major schools play bumper pool with the mid-majors. Buyouts aren’t unusual.

But the new UK coach should be prepared for road games in the SEC. It won’t be coach Billy Gillispie and the University of Kentucky. It will be “Billy (Chicken) Gillispie and his Scaredy Cats.”

At least one of the two coaches involved in the buyout, former Wildcat guard Travis Ford, had the class to discuss and not complain about the shabby treatment from his alma mater. One of these days he may tell us what he really thinks.

In the meantime, Ford’s Massachusetts A.D. will have to try to arrange another game and hope that the people who have bought 7,000 tickets thinking they would see Kentucky agree to keep them for a less than bigname opponent.

Van and Tubby

Van Florence deserves to be the highest-paid person in the UK Athletics Department. The man who heads the Committee of 101 (the volunteer support group that ushers at UK football and basketball games) also has been director of UK’s major gifts. He will continue to work with 101, but has resigned from the other position. He also will continue to direct the UK Basketball Museum and will continue to be director of the Tubby Smith Foundation, which provides financial support for central Kentucky charities.

Ah ha! Tubby Smith. Now you know that I don’t trust the people running UK sports now, so I have to ask if Van is getting the same treatment that basketball secretary Marta McMackin got when she was shown the door?

No one has been more loyal to UK during his 41 years associated with the university than Van. I first met Van when he and his wife cared for Harry Lancaster in his final months, weeks, days – and nights. Harry was the former UK director of athletics and longtime assistant to Adolph Rupp. Van has been the Man Friday for every UK coach during the last 41 years. He even has helped student managers on road trips.

Prince: An Olympian?

What a great honor for Tayshaun Prince to be selected to try out for the U.S. Olympic team in the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. He’s the kind of unselfish player the team needs. He can score when needed, but he also plays defense and rebounds. I’m sure that U.S.A. head coach Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, will be smart enough to give him a shot.

UK and Olympic basketball! What great memories of the Fabulous Five (Cliff Barker, Ralph Beard, Alex Groza, Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones and Kenny Rollins) who represented the U.S.A. in the 1948 Olympics in London. That’s right – all five Wildcat starters were Olympians and they brought home Gold Medals.

Their coach, Adolph Rupp, was assistant coach of the American team. When they lined up outside Alumni Gym for a photo, Rupp said, “I want to thank you @##&*+#$ for making me the ASSISTANT coach.”

Two other Wildcats played in the Olympics, Billy Evans from Berea and Adrian “Odie” Smith from Farmington. One other Wildcat, Sam Bowie, was chosen for the 1980 team, but that was the year that President Jimmy Carter decided that our country would not compete in the Moscow Olympics in protest of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

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