ATHENS, Ga. — Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart again expressed puzzlement with the NCAA decision to reject the school's appeal and make freshman Enes Kanter permanently ineligible.
"It has been difficult to understand," he told Herald-Leader staff writer Chip Cosby at UK's football bowl game in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday.
The ruling was arbitrary and unfair, he said.
"I guess that means on any given day a decision can go whatever direction they want it to go," he said, "and that can't be used moving forward or going backwards. ... There seems to be a moving target for what's permissible and not permissible. It's just a really interesting time to figure out the direction of the organization of the NCAA."
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In his initial statement, Barnhart mentioned the expense involved in the case. When asked how much the effort cost, he said, "That wasn't the concern. We've had some people, our donors, offer to make contributions to offset some of the legal costs we've got, and we've got some of those. But that wasn't my first concern. It was to try to put a guy who wanted to play college basketball on the floor.
"We certainly thought we had a legitimate case or we wouldn't have kept going. But there are times when you begin to think we're beating our head against the wall because it isn't going to change, and it didn't. The NCAA dug their heels in, and said we're not changing our thought process."
In his initial statement about the Kanter ruling, UK Coach John Calipari shifted the focus to helping prepare the freshman for this year's NBA Draft.
After UK lost at Georgia on Saturday, Calipari said that statement should not be interpreted as a sign that the possibility of a lawsuit to block the NCAA ruling had lessened.
"It's not mine," Calipari said of the ultimate decision to seek an injunction blocking the NCAA ruling. "I have no idea."
That decision will be made by Kanter and his family, the UK coach said.
When a reporter suggested that Calipari would be fully aware of the family's thinking, the UK coach said, "No. I don't have full awareness. I haven't had full awareness throughout this."
As he did Friday, Calipari noted that he has not gotten advance knowledge of developments in the Kanter case.
When asked how he felt about being out of the loop, Calipari said, "I'm fine with that. I wasn't in the middle of all of it."
Until further notice, Kanter will serve as a student assistant coach the rest of the season. He sat on the UK bench in a white sweat suit.
Calipari said that role will enable the UK coach to work with Kanter.
In the final minute of the game, Georgia fans chanted "over-rated, over-rated" at UK.
"We didn't pay no mind," Doron Lamb said. "Every school hates us, really."
Calipari seemed to agree with the Georgia fans.
"We're a capable team," he said. "I don't think we're a top-10 team. But we're OK. That was a physical game and we weren't ready for it."
Trouble began immediately for the Cats as Georgia scored the game's first seven points. In that time, Terrence Jones traveled starting a drive and looked unsure of himself.
Calipari substituted Lamb for Jones with 17:40 left in the half.
"I have to think of bringing him off the bench if that's what we're going to get with him starting," the UK coach said.
Jones acknowledged that he had no defense for the slow start.
"No way I can start like that or anybody can start like that," the freshman said. "We don't play that (many players). Especially as much impact as I bring to the team. No way I can start like that."
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On one second-half play, Georgia appeared to knock Lamb off his path to the basket. The UK freshman recoiled awkwardly.
When asked if he thought Lamb was fouled, Calipari said, "I'll watch the tape. If I think they didn't make calls, I'll send tape to the league office.
"Lots of times, you watch tape and say, 'Oh, it wasn't that bad.' ... Until I watch the tape, I have no idea."