Barnhart Speaks Out About The Bledsoe Situation

AD Mitch Barnhart

Kentucky’s Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said his peace on the Bledsoe issue on Friday during the Nashville radio show 3 Hour Lunch on 104.5 The Zone.

Here are some excerpts |

Barnhart blasted the release of Bledsoe’s transcript, analyzed the place that Kentucky basketball represents in the college athletics hierarchy, and flatly stated that Bledsoe’s eligibility was not at issue.

“If I’m the kid … and my transcript is released to someone, I want to know who did it,” Barnhart said. “That’s a privacy issue. I would say that there’s probably some legal implications there. Whoever released that or found a way to leak that out has got some challenges. Because I think that’s very unfair to that young person. That’s something that’s way out of line. And someone had better figure out real quick that that’s not the way to do business.”

“The flag always blows really hard at the top,” he said. “And so it’s blowing hard up there. And if you want to, to be at the top of the flagpole, you’ve got to understand how hard it blows.”

Barnhart also acknowledged that hiring John Calipari had brought even greater attention to the program. “Our program will be under scrutiny anyway because we’re Kentucky, and then you throw [Calipari] in the mix and it’s going to be under greater scrutiny. So you’re mandated to be absolutely on it every day.

“I know that we go through it at UK, work real hard at it. Sandy Bell in our compliance office does a marvelous job. She’s really good at what she does. We went through every review at our level, at the NCAA level on Eric’s academics and they were comfortable with it, we’re comfortable with it. [The NCAA] cleared him.”

Asked specifically whether he believed it was surprising that a student could go from a 1.9 GPA to a 2.5 GPA in the span of a year, Barnhart said he did not.

“Not at all, not at all. I think the other thing you forget is that you can replace courses. … You can get better on one side, drop things that are not helpful to your GPA on the other side. So that’s not unusual at all.”

Ultimately, Barnhart felt Kentucky’s success brought greater attention. “It’s unfortunate in our world,” Barnhart said, “there will be people who will be jealous.”

Time and the NCAA will ultimately finish this story and who has the last laugh really is in no one’s hands outside of the NCAA. Kentucky can do little at this point, to stop an ultimate decision. Barnhart said it and the entire Big Blue Nation understands it, this is Kentucky Basketball. One of, if not the most, storied programs in college sports.

Being at the top is a lonely place where few truly dare to go. Many say they want to be number one, but few can consistently handle the pressure of standing on the mountain alone. Bring in the high-flying super recruiter John Calipari, turn around a program from an NIT bid to an Elite Eight, and somebody out there is going to call foul. They will dig and dig and dig looking for anything that might be plausible.

So here we stand. A program once again under scrutiny. A program who is yet to know its fate. A program who is once again on top of the mountain. Honestly, I’m willing to take the hits, the scrutiny, the micro managing that can occur when you’re under the magnifying glass. Don’t get me wrong for one second, I expect Kentucky to do it the right way. To do the necessary background checks to ensure eligibility and ensure no foul play has occurred. And in those situations that are just too iffy, to walk away and live to play another day.

The program itself is larger than any one Player or Coach. We, both the fan base and the program itself, expect to win, to compete year in and year out and to compete at a top-level. That has been the banner of Kentucky basketball. But, we also expect the off-court part of the program to perform at the same level. No easy task for anyone, especially at Kentucky.


One Response to “Barnhart Speaks Out About The Bledsoe Situation”
  1. Dirk Cotton says:

    Well written. Thanks.

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