Thursday, May 3, 2012
Indiana-Kentucky series ending
By Andy Katz ESPN.com
The Indiana-Kentucky regular-season series is over for the foreseeable future because neither school could agree on where to play the series.
Indiana wanted the series to continue in a home-and-home setup. Kentucky wanted to move back to neutral-site games and offered to play the series at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Brennan: As weak as it gets
Just when it was getting interesting again, the Indiana-Kentucky series is ending in a squabble over where to play the games. Eamonn Brennan says that's weak -- and that Tom Crean and John Calipari should fix this, and soon. Blog
After months of behind-the-scenes bickering over whether to play the games on campus, as Indiana prefers, or at neutral sites, as Kentucky prefers, Hoosiers athletic director Fred Glass ended the debate.
"In the final analysis, we want our student-athletes, our overall student body and our season-ticket holders to enjoy this series at Assembly Hall," Glass said.
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said Indiana notified him of the decision earlier Thursday. Barnhart described that as a change from previous discussions with Indiana officials.
"I guess they're putting that out there as a final conversation, so we'll go on from there, do what we have to do," Barnhart said. "We've been playing the games since the early 1950s, somewhere in that range. It's been a while. It's disappointing for that not to continue. I hate it for the fans, especially with two top-five teams coming back next year. That's disappointing. It wasn't an unwillingness to play on our part. We wanted to play. We just felt like there were a couple of things that gave us a chance to play that game back in Jefferson County, put it in Louisville and then return it up to Indianapolis or whatever the other neutral site they wanted to. I guess they did not want to do that."
The games rotated between Freedom Hall in Louisville and the Hoosier/RCA Dome in Indianapolis from 1991 through 2005. That's when the games returned to campus sites, where the regular-season games were played exclusively from 1976 through 1986.
Glass kept some hope alive by acknowledging the series could be revived if Kentucky is willing to play games on campus. The most recent contract expired after December's game.
Big Ten Blog
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett write about all things Big Ten in the conference blog.
The decision Thursday comes after the two teams played an epic last-minute game in Bloomington last season and a highly entertaining Sweet 16 game in Atlanta in March.
"I don't think he [Kentucky coach John Calipari] was really thrilled about going back to Bloomington, to be honest with you," Barnhart said.
Indiana is a projected No. 1 team and Kentucky should be in the top 10 with another top-five recruiting class coming off a national title.
"We're not going to play," Calipari told ESPN.com Thursday. "We're not going to do a home-and-home. That's out. They don't want to play two games in the state of Indiana, which I'm fine with. There are a lot of people who want to play us."
Calipari said Kentucky has the date for Lucas Oil Stadium and will still try to schedule an opponent next season.
"We were willing to play them both in the state of Indiana and they said no to that,'' Calipari said. "That means they don't want to play us."
Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a text message that the Hoosiers never wanted to move the game.
"We couldn't have gotten our students up there," said Crean. "Prices would have been too much to get them there. We will have around 8,500 students.
ESPN.com's Chris Low and Edward Aschoff write about all things SEC football in the conference blog.
"The bottom line is that they didn't want to play home-and-home and we did. We looked at it hard but it belongs on campus."
Indiana's main marquee nonconference game will now be a potential matchup against UCLA in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Indiana likely will draw North Carolina at home in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Kentucky still plays the annual rivalry game against Louisville. Kentucky could draw a high-profile team in the SEC-Big East Challenge.
The two teams now have an opening for a high-profile game -- Indiana on the road, since it was going to Lexington, and Kentucky on a neutral site at Lucas Oil.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has expressed interest in playing Indiana on an annual basis, though Crean has said that is unlikely to happen in 2012-13.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.