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UK Athletics Director discusses plans for fall sports

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:11 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart held a virtual meeting Thursday morning to discuss the school’s plans for fall sports.

Barnhart is not only the mn who leads UK’s athletics department, but he’s the senior-most AD in the Southeastern Conference and he’s the chair of the committee that will run this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, so, to quote an old commercial, “when he talks people listen.”

Barnhart spoke via zoom for about 45 minutes Thursday morning to the Lexington Forum answering questions from the moderator and those logged on.

The most pressing thing on the mind of these business people and fans, will there be SEC football?

“I hope so,” Barnhart said. “We’re trying really hard to try and find a path forward.”

Of course, playing or not playing has been the biggest topic of conversation with the PAC-12 and the Big 10 being the first two major conferences to say they wouldn’t play this fall, but Barnhart says his UK squad is ready to go.

“Do we want to play? Absolutely. Our kids want to play. I was with our football team Tuesday,” Barnhart said. “We sat down on the field, they were on the field and just before they went through their walkthrough, and to a man, I think they want to play. They’ve got questions,” Barnhart continued. “There’s probably gonna be an opportunity for them to opt-out. There is. I’ve told them that. If you don’t want to play, you can opt-out. You can say hey, I want to hold out, and wait until this pandemic passes and play next year and keep my eligibility. We’ve said we’ve got that covered at Kentucky. We will take care of that.”

Barnhart says his main goal throughout this is to “sustain” not only the program, but the 256 full-time employees who work in UK athletics.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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