LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Sometimes all it takes is a sign from above. In this case, it was a sign from a fan sitting above court level inside Rupp Arena.
That fan, who doesn’t want to be named at this time, brought a sign into Rupp Arena as he does for every game he attends. Usually, it consists of the names of several players. But last night he scribbled something on the other side, and it caught the attention of everyone.
“Please go to Texas” is what the man wrote, playing off a rumor that Kentucky coach, John Calipari has been contacted about his interest in the Texas job, which is now available after Chris Beard was fired.
Now, if Kentucky was having a stellar season, the kind that became customary around here between 2010 and around 2020, then none of this would register a blip on any radars. But because Kentucky is struggling, including last night’s loss to South Carolina, the sharks can smell the blood, and it’s the coach’s blood.
“This team does not play hard. They do not play together. I blame Cal,” said Alan Cutler during his daily radio show on ESPN Radio 1300/92.5.
“There’s a huge lack of physical and mental toughness, and that’s hard to change,” said long-time Lexington sports columnist, Larry Vaught. “I think the talent level isn’t quite what we thought it would be, and the pieces don’t fit together,” Vaught continued.
The man behind the sign shared his version of what happened once Rupp Arena officials intervened.
“They asked him to take the sign down, he did so, and then they came back and said we were going to have to actually take the sign. He then said, ‘instead of taking my sign, can I just leave,’” said Dylan Ballard, a writer for the A Sea of Blue UK fan site.
Both Cutler and Vaught, who have spent decades covering Kentucky sports, said they both feel as if Calipari will be back next season. But they also think it’s possible this situation here has run its course.
“The game passes people by at a certain point. Right now it looks like it honestly has. People in life make comebacks, maybe he can, (but) whatever he’s doing it’s not working!” Cutler shouted to his audience.