The next time an IU fan says Kentucky is scared to play in Bloomington, just send them this
This story was published on September 17th, 1999, more than a decade before Christian Watford hit his lucky three-pointer at the buzzer.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – If Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton has his way, there will be no Kentucky home for the annual Kentucky-Indiana basketball game.
The game, played each year in early December, currently alternates between Louisville’s Freedom Hall and the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. However, Newton said he’d be just as happy playing in Indianapolis every year, as long as the schools continue splitting tickets and gate receipts.
“We can put 18,000 (Kentucky fans) in a dome and only 10,000 in Louisville,” Newton told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “As long as we’re half the building and creating a Final Four atmosphere, it’s something we ought to investigate.”
Kentucky-Indiana games in Indianapolis have had an average attendance of 38,521 this decade. In Louisville, the games have drawn an average of 19,442.
Although such a move would mean no Wildcats-Hoosier games in Kentucky, Newton said it would be worthwhile.
Kentucky fans would still have access to half the tickets, he said, and a game in the RCA Dome would give the Wildcats an early-season chance to play in an atmosphere similar to what they experience in the NCAA tournament, when all Final Fours and most regional finals are played in domes.
Earlier this week, in a story about efforts to move the series permanently to Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Star-News reported that scheduling conflicts at the RCA Dome would make it impossible to make the change until at least 2003. A motor-sports trade show and a religious convention already have reserved the facility for early December 2000 and 2002, respectively, stadium director Mike Fox said.
The Kentucky-Indiana series has alternated annually between Indianapolis and Louisville since 1991. Before that, the game rotated among Bloomington, Ind., Indianapolis and Lexington.
UK doesn’t want to play IU in Bloomington because their gym only holds 17,400 people, they only let a couple hundred UK fans get tickets, and the university only makes a fraction of what it could make from the game.
Not only did C.M. Newton want the game to be played at a neutral site, he didn’t even care if it was in Indianapolis every year.
Neither Christian Watford, IU fans, Bobby Knight or their stupid fans have anything to do with why the series has been canceled. It’s all about the money.
As someone who has attended multiple IU-UK games at both Freedom Hall and the RCA Dome, I would like to see the games played in Louisville and in Indianapolis. There is nothing like going to an arena packed with 40,000 screaming fans cut right down the middle, with all blue on one side, and all red on the other. It’s truly a shame that Kentucky and Indiana couldn’t work something out, because for a UK fan living in Louisville, hating Indiana might be just as important as hating Tennessee. I hate IU.
So the next time some IU fan tells you UK is scared, just remind them that UK has been trying to play at a neutral site since at least 1999.