Kentucky insider says John Calipari's comments splintered the athletics department: 'He made a mistake and now he’s gotta fix it'
John Calipari’s comments about the football program at Kentucky continue to ricochet around the Bluegrass, and have splintered the athletics department in Lexington.
That’s the insight from Kentucky insider Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, who shared perspectives he’s learned from the last day over Calipari’s comments about a basketball practice facility. The comments escalated when they were retweeted by football coach Mark Stoops, who shared his irritations and frustrations.
“This is a basketball school. Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. But this is a basketball school,” Calipari said.
Stoops quickly responded, “Basketball school? I thought we competed in the SEC?” and added the hashtag “4 straight postseason wins.”
On his radio show on Friday morning, Jones explained how the issue is affecting the athletics department, and the greater Big Blue Nation.
“Stoops is like I, for 10 years, have had to fight against that,” Jones said. “… I’m friends with the staff, I asked them before this, what’s the biggest thing you have to work on: ‘Everywhere we go, they say Kentucky, isn’t that a basketball school?’ Literally, I’m not sure there’s a phrase you could say that would make Mark Stoops madder than that one.”
Jones then tried to figure why Calipari tried to raise the issue in the first place, and he recalled that several UK programs, from baseball to track, football and tennis have received facility upgrades in recent years. Calipari simply wanted to be the next in line. But it went too far.
“This upset a lot of people in football, for real,” Jones said. “Y’all can believe this or not, that’s fine. But there were some really upset people. Not just in the staff, but in the donor world. He made a mistake and now he’s gotta fix it because they were really upset about it. The tweet, in some ways, was just the tip of the iceberg.”