Kentucky student newspaper rejects anti-Tubby ad

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- An anti-Tubby Smith ad won't run in the University of Kentucky student newspaper.

The Kentucky Kernel rejected the full-page ad sought by University of Kentucky adjunct professor Richard Cheeks that called for Smith's dismissal as the school's basketball coach.

Cheeks, a Jessamine County engineer and lawyer with two degrees from the University of Kentucky, said Thursday a group of between 500 and 1,000 fans have come to believe Smith is bad for the basketball program.

"We see the program in decline. ... We don't want it to decline the way the Louisville program did in the latter years when Denny Crum was there," Cheeks said. "So we decided that we were going to begin to get our message out."

Cheeks and a group called Concerned Fans For UK Basketball sought to buy a $1,700 ad in the Kentucky Kernel. The paper rejected the ad, prompting Cheeks to call other media outlets.

Smith could not be reached for comment.

Scott Stricklin, a spokesman for Kentucky's basketball program, said Smith wants the program to be successful and he knows that passionate fans will sometimes react badly to a subpar season.

"Being that he's one of the nation's winningest coaches, he pretty much knows what it takes to win championships because he's done it here," Stricklin said.

The college newspaper's adviser and general manager, Chris Poore, said the advertising staff made the decision to reject the ad without influence from the university administration. The newspaper is independent and the newsroom is independent from advertising, Poore said.

"Newspapers and television stations make those decisions every day, about which ads to accept or not accept, especially when an ad is going after somebody or something," Poore said.

The Wildcats went 22-13 last season, losing 87-83 to Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the third time in the last 12 seasons Kentucky failed to reach the round of 16.

Smith has a 241-71 record in nine seasons at Kentucky, including winning the 1998 national championship.