Calipari reinforces his scheduling dogma to Indiana, refuses to play the Hoosiers
Even after John Calipari and Tom Crean couldn't come to an understanding, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass made one more big push to continue the series earlier this month, according to the Times-Herald in Indiana.
|UK won't play Indiana at Indiana -- period. (US Presswire)|
Once it was known that Calipari wouldn't be willing to do another two years of home-and-home, and would rather play the UK-IU game at a neutral site, like Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Glass acquiesced. He no doubt sat with Crean, the two thought of other avenues, clearly wanting to give Indiana fans a game against the biggest program in college basketball.
Clearly, playing Kentucky means more to Indiana than playing Indiana means to Kentucky. In general, I think it's a pretty good look on Glass and Crean that they didn't give up so easily, and in fact, they bent their beliefs in favor of Cal and Kentucky. The fact that this coffin wasn't fully shut even after we thought it was signals a real belief in the gravity of the game for the IU staff. And so, a week after the series publicly severed tied, Glass sent a letter [UPDATE: Inside the Hall has published the letter in its entirety.] to Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart proposing the teams play at Lucas Oil for the next two seasons, then at Rupp, then at Assembly Hall.
Outside of the final game being played at Indiana, that's pretty much everything Calipari was asking for. But it wasn't all Calipari was asking for, so what do you think happened?
Kentucky stiff-armed that proposal, too, according to the Herald-Times.
The Wildcats wouldn't agree to anything beyond two years, sticking with the neo-scheduling philosophy blared out by Calipari in a blog post last week, and so the suggestion was pretty much DOA. This quote from the Times-Herald:
“I think Coach Calipari is an excellent coach,” Glass said. “… It’s their sovereign right to schedule as they see fit. But we proposed a serious compromise that seemed workable to everyone. We can’t accept a one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum that freezes out our students and our season-ticket holders.”Absolutely not. And I'll say it again: Neither school needs this game.
All this isn't shocking. If it weren't for federal records requests, we may not have known about this until years down the road, when someone let it slip out. But we know it now. We know Indiana was willing to pay off Kentucky opponents in the future (that according to the Times-Herald article as well) and rejigger its own slate to make this work.
But it's not going to. Not in the short-term, and not at long as Calipari is at Kentucky will he be willing to play a game in Assembly Hall again.
UPDATE NO. 2: Barnhart publicly responded Wednesday evening, writing, "We currently do not have any agreements with more than two years remaining and would like to maintain the current flexibility of our future scheduling. If we entered into a four-year deal with Indiana, including the last two years at campus sites, not only would that alter our flexibility but it would also mean that we would have to end our home-and-home series with Louisville in order to keep our non-conference road schedule balanced. We are not interested in doing that."
In the letter Barnhart -- who is by proxy speaking for Calipari, as well as UK as a whole -- also openly challenges Indiana to schedule Kentucky for Dec. 15 or 22 for this year, both open dates with availability at Lucas Oil.
We've reached a point of bickering, and just when most were ready to move on. Will this rekindle a desire for these schools to play? Indiana's budged some -- Kentucky never will.
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