Mark Stoops has made it abundantly clear that he’s opposed to a nine-game conference schedule, but at least he’s been honest about his motives. His athletic director, on the other hand, is full of crap.
If UK loses the fight to keep the 8-game schedule, Kentucky could keep the Governor’s Cup alive. However, it would come at a cost, most likely impacting FCS football programs. This year UK will host Stoops’ hometown team, Youngstown State, and pay the Penguins’ athletic department $550,000 for the trip to Lexington.
“It’s important to support FCS football because I want people participating in college football,” Barnhart said. “I think sometimes we forget about thinking about the end game, making sure everybody is still playing. If there’s opportunities that go away and there’s not kids that want to play the game of football, the game of football suffers. We’ve got to make sure we do things that ensure the game of football and people want to play the game. Keeping FCS football alive is very, very important to that end.”
Doing it for the kids can never fail; it can only be failed. The only thing more laughable than his absurd attempt to cloak cowardice with some sort of allegedly higher calling is the pretense that he can use the threat of cancelling the series with Louisville as some sort of leverage with Greg Sankey.
All of that word salad cannot make the FCS game more significant than the rivalry against Louisville. Still, Barnhart will not take the Governor’s Cup off the negotiation table. After all, it’s one of his greatest pieces of leverage to prevent the SEC from expanding its conference schedule. Even though the game is under contract until 2030, Kentucky’s athletic director will not commit to playing Louisville until after a scheduling decision has been finalized by Southeastern Conference officials.
Of course it can’t. Just ask Mitch McConnell, a die hard Louisville fan. Who, by the way isn’t likely to be pleased if Barnhart actually tries to can the series. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.