Many Kentucky men’s basketball fans took the team’s loss to No. 4 Kansas in stride Tuesday night, but they were less forgiving of ESPN’s new scoreboard graphic.
Yes, according to the network’s new ubiquitous “scorebug,” Tuesday night’s game was a battle between “KENT” and “KAN,” abbreviations for two schools who possibly never abbreviate themselves that way. “KAN” is at least somewhat forgivable, seeing as the standard Associated Press abbreviation for the state is “Kan.”
But “KENT?” No. Under no circumstances. Please.
How much did UK fans hate it? They took to Twitter to announce their displeasure all during the game and after. They even included ESPN and Dick Vitale in their protestations, but, so far, no response.
“K-E-N-T Kent Kent Kent,” Ally Tucker, Tates Creek High School’s girls’ soccer coach and Kentucky Sports Radio contributor, tweeted derisively at halftime, mimicking UK’s C-A-T-S cheer.
Cats’ Pause founder Oscar Combs took exception on Twitter as well. “I love @espn. Can’t even get TV screen right. First basket is scored by Kansas, but awarded to other team. Then ESPN’s has its score listing 2 schools as KAN and KENT. You can and must do better. @DickieV.”
Why not take the Jayhawks’ abbreviation to four letters, too? Why not “KANS?” Mind you, UK fans probably wouldn’t like “KEN” as an abbreviation either.
Kentucky fans tend to shorthand the university and the basketball program as simply UK. When talking about basketball, “UK” is really the only thing anyone needs to say to reference it. If they talk about the football team — and this November they actually are — they have to say “UK football” just to clarify that they aren’t talking about basketball.
So, seeing “KENT” on the screen, which many know to be a mid-major college in Ohio or Superman’s secret surname, was not welcome.
Notably, a version of the new scorebug made its debut last week and it was used for two Kentucky games on the SEC Network, which is a part of the ESPN family. Kentucky was abbreviated as UK for games against Utah Valley and Vermont.