I admire Mitch Barnhart, think he's been a good Athletics Director for the University of Kentucky. He's made some good calls..bringing in Coach Calipari, standing behind Coach Brooks when it was not popular, elevating Coach Phillips, and he's entitled to a major boo-boo...Billy G.
But this is not the time to expand Commonwealth Stadium, and not just because of the economy. A great stadium does not produce a great football team; it goes the other way. Do what we need to elevate our team's stature in the SEC and then the time may be ripe for a stadium expansion.
The idea he has for a new downtown arena replacing Rupp is even worse. Rupp may well need some tweaking and modernizing...probably does. But a new arena? Meadow Muffins! (especially when the real idea is, let's face it, to add sky boxes---and not for all those true Cat fans who have a hard time affording regular tickets.)
Mayor Newberry's administration did the right thing in calling off this idea. And I don't care a fig for the oft-stated UK rationale that the athletic department foots most of the bill, or the Good Old Boy Donors will. UK needs other things far more: increased faculty salaries, repairs and maintenance, labs, student aid, etc.
(And as a Lexington citizen, and UK sports supporter, I neither want added taxes for any part of a new arena, nor the disruption any such construction must inevitably cause. Lexington needs other things far more: improved sewers, better traffic flow, a planned tree program, etc.)
So, Mr. Barnhart, No Thanks. Not now. Not even if the economy improves (which, barring a new war or similar disaster, it will...in time) Not even when we win the Final Four, which we will...in time.
Timing is often everything...or a big part of everything...and the time is just not now for expanding Commonwealth Stadium or a new downtown arena.