UK Men's Basketball

‘A huge responsibility.’ UK’s Barnhart to chair NCAA basketball Selection Committee.

Barnhart wants UK to climb to athletics summit

Mitch Barnhart proud, not content with Kentucky's place in athletics nationally.
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Mitch Barnhart proud, not content with Kentucky's place in athletics nationally.

If two years from now Kentucky Coach John Calipari chooses to repeat his seemingly annual complaining about seeding, bracketing or other decisions surrounding the NCAA Tournament, he won’t have far to go to meet with the chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

He will only have to walk up one flight of stairs at the Joe Craft Center.

UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart will be the chair in 2021, the NCAA announced Friday.

“Being asked to serve in this role by my wonderful colleagues on this committee is one of the highest honors I’ve ever received,” Barnhart said in a news release. “The 10 of us carry a huge responsibility, not just with the selection, seeding and bracketing of teams each year, which draws the greatest amount of attention, but also as a group charged with working with other constituents to manage the health of the sport of college basketball.

“It’s an incredible challenge, and one we will continue to take very seriously.”

Barnhart will become the third UK athletics director to serve as chair of the Men’s Basketball Committee (also known as the Selection Committee). Bernie Shively was on the committee from 1959 to 1966. C.M. Newton was chair in 1998 and 1999.

Barnhart, who was named Athletic Director of the Year this spring by Sports Business Journal, will be the vice chair of the committee for the 2019-20 season. The chair this upcoming season will be Duke Director of Athletics Kevin White, who is also the father of Florida Coach Mike White.

Barnhart, who will turn 60 on Aug. 27, became Kentucky’s Director of Athletics in 2002. He had been athletics director at Oregon State from 1998 to 2002. He has led UK’s athletics department to unprecedented success with its six best finishes in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings coming in the last seven years.

Besides Barnhart and White, other members of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee are Craig Thompson (commissioner of the Mountain West Conference), Jim Phillips (vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern), Tom Burnett (commissioner of the Southland Conference), Bernadette McGlade (commissioner of the Atlantic 10), Mike O’Brien (vice present and director of athletics at Toledo) and Chris Reynolds (vice present for intercollegiate athletics at Bradley).

Two seats on the committee will change on Sept. 1. Going off the committee are current chair Bernard Muir (athletics director at Stanford) and Janet Cone (athletics director at UNC Asheville). Coming on the committee are Charles McClelland (commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference) and Jamie Pollard (athletics director at Iowa State).

Committee members serve five-year terms. Barnhart joined in 2016-17, and his final season will be the year he chairs the committee, 2021.