Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Kyra Elzy met with media today and was asked about the recent scheduling conflicts with the men’s basketball team (Dr. John Huang Photo).
(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – If you’re a fan of both the Kentucky men’s and women’s basketball programs, you’ve had quite a dilemma on your hands recently. It turns out that of the four regular season games played by both teams so far, three of them have overlapped within their own scheduling time slots. That means that if you wanted to attend all the games in person—or even watch them live on television—the scheduling conflict forced you to choose between the men or the women.
Freak coincidence? Perhaps so—but be forewarned that the two programs will be dueling it out again for viewership on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The men take on North Florida at 4:00 pm at Rupp Arena while the women will battle with Dayton down in the Bahamas at—you guessed it—4:30 pm. Then on Sunday, December 4, the men will be in London taking on Michigan while UNC Greensboro comes calling on the women in Memorial Coliseum. Unbelievably, both games tip off at 1:00 pm. You can’t make this stuff up.
I understand that television rules the roost in terms of scheduling, but this is NUTS. UK should know better. In this day and age, it’s hard enough generating attendance for both programs without pitting them against each other. Playing on the same day, at the same time? C’mon, Man. If “we really are UK,” then the UK administration shouldn’t pigeonhole fans into supporting one program or the other for the sake of the almighty dollar.
Remember the controversy that sprang up this past year regarding Coach John Calipari’s remarks that Kentucky was a basketball school? Well, unlike Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops—who fired back at Calipari with some surprisingly pointed quips—Kentucky women’s basketball coach Kyra Elzy decided on a more diplomatic approach.
In fact, Elzy feigned ignorance about the whole deal when asked about it directly at her meeting with media earlier this afternoon.
“Blair Green came and asked me the same thing,” Elzy explained. “I hadn’t looked at the schedule that closely. She’s like, ‘Coach, why are we playing at the same time the men are playing—so we can come watch each other?’ I was like, ‘That’s a great question.’”
I can certainly understand why Elzy wouldn’t want to trade cross words with the emperor. First, that’s not her style. But marketing your program is a huge part of her job description. It’s a hard enough job without consistently going up against the biggest show in town. If she were upset—which she certainly had a right to be—she certainly didn’t show it.
“We love men’s basketball,” she made sure to say. “Coach Cal, what he means to me and their program, so there’s a lot of support for each other. And I can’t wait for us to not play on the same day so that we actually can come see each other.”
Elzy has a point—especially the one about the programs supporting each other. In his time here on campus, Calipari has gone out of his way to help out his fellow coaching colleagues on campus. Why not turn these concurrent competing timeslots into some sort of exclusive doubleheader event? If you can’t beat them, join them
“That’s a good idea,” Elzy quipped when prompted with that recommendation. “Maybe I should get together with Coach Cal about playing a doubleheader. That’s a good idea. I’m going to take that one.”
Let’s start with some baby steps. How about simply beginning with a little coordination within the athletic department? Occasionally, you can’t help having a scheduling conflict or two. But five overlapping games in the first seven games played hints of either laughable negligence or devious conspiracy.
Do better UK! The coaches, players, and fans of the women’s basketball team deserve better.
Dr. John Huang is a UK columnist for Nolan Group Media and editor-in-chief of JustTheCats.com. He also covers the NFL and MLB for Sports View America. You can follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs. If you enjoy his writing, be sure to check out his new book, KENTUCKY PASSION. https://www.amazon.com/Kentucky-Passion-Wildcat-Wisdom-Inspiration/dp/1684351669