LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There’s a lot of big brotherism going around these parts lately, some from expected places, some from unexpected.
The University of Kentucky filled a couple of non-conference holes in its schedule Monday, welcoming Conference USA opponents Marshall and UAB onto its schedule. Let’s call this what it is: trolling WKU.
The Hilltoppers, according to my ultimate WKU source and de facto university president Jude Redfield, offered to play Kentucky and donate the game guarantee to charity. Instead, it turned around and played two nondescript opponents from WKU’s conference.
The message in Bowling Green should be loud and clear: Stay in your I-65 lane, Hilltoppers.
WKU, by the way, had a Twitter response for UK: “If you’re making the C-USA tour, give us a call back sometime! We’re ready and right down the road.”
A few minutes later, it added, “Oh, and our previous offer for these dates still stands. Play us and we’ll give the full guarantee check to charity to help within our state.”
UK, it seems, returned to an old playbook, refusing to play a rival university in Kentucky for no good reason. It’s the old “big brother” move, one that they ought to find familiar at the University of Louisville, because it was used against them by UK as reason not to play in the regular season for 61 years.
That kind of basketball “snobbery” is what many of my U of L fan friends say is a big reason for not liking the bluebloods.
Turns out, now they may have a problem with their own school.
Bellarmine’s first game as an NCAA Division I team should be against Louisville. No questions asked. No excuses.
Let me stop you before you offer any reason otherwise. Forget it. I’m not interested in hearing them. Even if it’s not the first game, it’s a game that should be played.
It’s also not going to happen. Louisville has no interest in playing Bellarmine, at least not right now. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter why.
Look who’s the big brother now.
UK fans, no doubt, will argue that the school plays EKU and Transylvania and Centre and all that is well and good. Call me when they play WKU or Murray State when they’re an NCAA Tournament team.
U of L deserves credit for playing WKU and even has gone to Diddle Arena. That’s how it’s supposed to be done.
That makes it all the more strange that it wants to big-time Bellarmine. Scott Davenport is Louisville fan No. 1. He’s a U of L alum and a former assistant.
Someone with institutional knowledge and influence at U of L should’ve insisted on this well before now.
One of the first calls Bellarmine women’s coach Chancellor Dugan got was from Louisville coach Jeff Walz. He said he’d play her team, home or away, whenever she wanted.
Even Mick Cronin of UCLA says he’ll give the Knights a game.
Leaving WKU aside for a minute, UK ought to be willing to play them too.
Look, both UK and U of L play plenty of tough opponents. I’m not suggesting they’re afraid to play anybody. I am saying they should be on the side of building bridges to these other institutions in the state, not making it more difficult for them.
I thought we were over the whole “big brother” syndrome in this sport in this state. Clearly, I was wrong.
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