In his first public comments since The New York Times reported that NCAA investigators are looking Eric Bledsoe's academic background and his recruitment, Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart suggested UK's lofty basketball status brings this kind of scrutiny.
"The flag always blows really hard at the top," he said Friday on the Nashville radio show 3 Hour Lunch on 104.5 The Zone. "And so it's blowing hard up there. And if you want to be at the top of the flagpole, you've got to understand how hard it blows."
Barnhart also noted that hiring John Calipari 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," he said. "So you're mandated to be absolutely on it every day. ... Two years ago people were not paying a whole lot of attention to Kentucky, and all of a sudden we're relevant again."
Barnhart did the interview while at the Southeastern Conference Spring Meeting in Destin, Fla.
Barnhart said he thought UK had done a good job evaluating Bledsoe's academic record before bringing him to campus.
"Sandy Bell in our compliance office does a marvelous job," he said. "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.
"He fought hard for us for a year, we wish him all the best. He did everything down the stretch academically we needed him to do."
Barnhart declined to say if he believed The New York Times' story had been fair.
"I'm not going to get into fairness," he said. "People have to live with what they do, and we're comfortable with where we are with Eric Bledsoe and wish him all the best as a pro."
Barnhart adamantly objected to the leaking of Bledsoe's academic transcript and hinted at possible legal action.
"If I'm the kid ... and my transcript is released to someone, I want to know who did it," he 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."
When asked how he'd react if someone leaked his son's transcript, Barnhart said, "Hot. I'd be hot. I'd be hot."