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Popular Lexington basketball, volleyball venue thrown into flux

KBA Sports was evicted from its facility at 273 Ruccio Way in June. Building owners Steve and Terry Hatton have teamed up with youth basketball professionals Tom Bower and Julius King to form the Kentucky Basketball Commission, which will operate out of the same building.
KBA Sports was evicted from its facility at 273 Ruccio Way in June. Building owners Steve and Terry Hatton have teamed up with youth basketball professionals Tom Bower and Julius King to form the Kentucky Basketball Commission, which will operate out of the same building.

Families are scrambling for camps and sports leagues in Lexington after a well-known sports facility closed abruptly on Friday.

KBA Sports, which operated basketball and volleyball camps, tournaments and leagues on five courts, was ordered out of the building at 273 Ruccio Way on Friday morning.

The sports academy and the owners of the building have been embroiled in a legal dispute since 2015 over rent and a potential purchase price for the building.

On Friday, Fayette Circuit Court Judge Pamela Goodwine ordered KBA Sports Inc. to vacate the premises immediately, according to Ted Martin, attorney for KBA Sports Inc.

The sports group began notifying parents and players that plans would have to change. It announced the news on its Facebook page, saying that "we will however continue to operate as normally as we can at other venues."

A weekend tournament was quickly scheduled for different locations; a day camp was moved. But basketball leagues and volleyball clinics and leagues have been put on hold. The future of soccer and archery is also uncertain.

KBA Sports is run by Jared Prickett, former University of Kentucky basketball player and director of basketball operations; Jerry Young, president and office manager; and Stuart Goldsborough, director of finance.

The Kentucky Basketball Academy property is owned by STH Enterprises, which also owns Malibu Jack's.

Steve Hatton, who owns the academy building with his brother Terry, said they plan to take it back over and will have a full slate of basketball and volleyball activities beginning in August.

"We built it in 2001, ran it for 9 years, and leased it to KBA Sports, and everything was fine for a while," Hatton said. "They failed to pay the rent for extended periods of time ... we do have the property back now. We’ll be running a few events this summer but we’ll open up in August with new and improved basketball and volleyball program, bigger and better than it ever was."

The case is ongoing. KBA Sports has countersued, claiming that forcing out KBA "will also mean the end of the strong, positive impact in the community created by Jared, Jerry and Stuart since they took over operations (in 2009)." The countersuit alleges that the sports facility "generates substantial revenue for hotels, restaurants, retailers and other businesses when thousands of coaches, players and families visit the facility to play in leagues, camps and tournaments."

Prickett, Young and Goldsborough brought a state AAU tournament to the facility a few years ago that drew college basketball coaches including John Calipari to scout young talent.

Young said Monday that they have tried to help families that were booked into camps find alternatives.

"This week wasn’t as bad for camps, there were 13-16 families effected and we refunded their money," Young said. "I think it’s going to impact quite a bit if we can’t find an alternative location. We had 50 kids signed up for a league, and probably would have been 100 that played; we had to refund their money today. ... We’ve had our schedule up for months and months. We’re terribly disappointed in judge's decision."

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