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Mitch Barnhart clears the air on John Calipari, Kentucky basketball


“If you look at our history, since I took over as Athletic Director for all sports programs, including basketball in multiple disciplines, we have spent almost $500 million on capital construction. $200 million. It’s not in my DNA to refuse to help build capital.

Coach has always provided help with fundraising packages and Cal has offered to help and he has done it many times to help us raise money and we have K Fund I am working with them. When he says he got $30 million, you think he can make it to $30 million. I don’t have the pledge. Those are the things we want to do together and hit the spot.

But these processes under construction, mind you, are 18-24 month processes. Even if it started last summer, it would probably be 18 to 24 months later in the fall or summer before the design, funding, trustee approval, and state approval would allow the shovel to go into the ground. will be it goes. And in the process, we must pay attention to the university’s masterplan on spacing, Title IX, and gender equity. Equal space and equality of opportunity for our women’s programs. This is very important. That facility in that sense is probably her $75 million to her $80 million facility and you haven’t even reached half the house and need to figure out the rest.

Even with the pledge in hand, we can’t throw buildings together and shovel into the ground tomorrow. I think this is very well illustrated by the history of what we’ve been building to support all our programs. The renovation of the Memorial Coliseum, the most historic facility on the University of Kentucky campus. It was built in his early 1950s. We expect him to get that approval in February. It has been a long process to get to this place of funding and approval to complete a memorial that serves all sports. programs, including the men’s basketball program. It affects everyone in some way, shape and form.

We had a discussion about the facility. We would like to build a new facility. There is no question about it. understood. But at the end of the day, I explained to everyone that there was an important process that they had to go through to get it done.

Second, I think he thinks he can raise $30 million. I know he has a lot of friends in the community and he definitely has the ability to help us out. I think about what he was saying and make sure he said “I think I can do it”. And that’s part of it. That’s probably about 40% of the project.

What I want to say to everyone is understand the process, and what I explained to everyone in this conversation was, ‘Yeah, we can start from there, but before we can start, we need this much money to design We need a master plan We need an equal part for gender equality And in the end you can get started but it takes time It wasn’t “no”, it was “this is the process”. ”

At the end of the day, we always welcome coach fundraising help, and we recognize that we need to get the rest of the help from the K Fund staff and all the work we do. Our donor base does a great job each year and gives us the ability to continue to grow our program. ”

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