John Clay's notes: College tradition takes backseat to business

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistNovember 20, 2012 

John Clay

Some (cranky) random notes:

■ Can we all agree that it is no longer college football, but corporate football?

After all, the corporate raiders are still on the loose, the ACC's John Swofford poaching Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East last year, the Big Ten's Jim Delany poaching Maryland from the ACC and Rutgers from the Big East this week.

The real problem here are incompetent athletic directors and university presidents who have leveraged their athletic departments to the hilt, thus forced to take the best deal/bailout that comes along, in this case the Big Ten Network.

Is anyone in Maryland excited about going to Lincoln, Neb.? Is anyone in Minneapolis pumped about following the Gophers to New Brunswick, N.J.?

■ Why should athletic directors ask their school's fans to pay respect to the program's traditions when the schools have no respect for tradition themselves?

As part of a college community, UK would schedule its October home football games at night so fans could visit Keeneland in the afternoon. Not anymore. TV sets the time.

Because of the cold weather, UK would schedule its November football games in the afternoon. Not anymore. TV sets the time.

■ Did you know Maryland made the move to the Big Ten without conducting a study or forming a committee? The Terps just grabbed for the green.

■ The way colleges continue to make decisions about their athletic programs based on television dollars, it can only be a matter of time before no one actually bothers to attend the games.

■ After firing head football coach Derek Dooley on Sunday, Tennessee Athletics Director Dave Hart met with the media to talk about the decision and discuss the job search.

Contrast that to UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, who has not spoken to the media since releasing the open letter announcing Joker Phillips' firing on Nov. 4.

■ Tennessee cut athletics personnel yet has $5 million to buy out the remaining years on Dooley's contract. Kentucky doesn't have the money for the upgrades its football fan base is clamoring for, yet has $2.5 million to buy out Phillips' contract.

■ With that said, the most important skill for UK's new head football coach might not have as much to do with blocking and tackling as with fund-raising.

■ You also have to wonder how much Rich Brooks' comments on Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum's radio show this summer are affecting the search. Brooks said, "Until Kentucky can spend and invest more of the money that football makes in football they shouldn't expect to be able to win the league."

■ After Sean Woods comments Monday about not getting a good "vibe" from the UK players, don't expect another UK-Morehead State basketball game anytime soon.

■ By beating Tennessee 41-18 last week, Vanderbilt clinched its first winning SEC football season since 1982. The '82 Commodores went 4-2 in league play.

Kentucky hasn't had a winning SEC football season since 1977.

■ It's probably not a coincidence that the day after Vanderbilt beat UK 40-0, Phillips was fired, and the day after Vandy beat Tennessee 41-18, Dooley was fired.

■ Phil Fulmer isn't looking all that bad to Tennessee fans right now, is he?

■ It can't be easy, but kudos to Phillips for choosing to finish out the season with his team.

■ Tennessee lost by 17 to Oklahoma State. Texas A&M lost by 21 to Saint Louis. Auburn lost by 20 to Murray State. Mississippi State lost by 46 to North Carolina. It's going to be a long year for SEC basketball.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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