Disrespectful absence

If University of Kentucky officials are interested in appearing less insular and more like team players, they could hardly have handled the recent Kentucky Kernel case more ham-handedly.

After a student reporter had the gall to ask a rumored walk-on ballplayer if he, indeed, was going to try and make the team, UK's assistant AD for media relations Dewayne Peevy barred the reporter from the next tightly controlled media briefing as "punishment" for violating the department's prohibition against reporters speaking to players without permission of UK handlers.

(Never mind basic free-speech issues, or that the reporter didn't know whether the two walk-ons in question were UK players at the time of the inquiry.)

When an attempt was made to turn the incident into a learning experience by scheduling a campus panel discussion Monday hosted by former Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal sports columnist Billy Reed, Peevy at first agreed to participate then changed his mind and pulled out Friday.

Surely, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, who insists on a "gold standard" for UK facilities, could require the department to muster something in the bronze range when it comes to public relations and basic questions of fairness to students who don't fall in the one-and-done category.