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Replacing UAB: Kentucky Has No Idea What To Do Next

The University of Kentucky was slated to play UAB in non-conference play in 2016... and they still haven't figured out what to do about losing that matchup.

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So, in early October of last season, the Kentucky Wildcats began their planning for the 2016 non-conference schedule, which began in earnest with scheduling the UAB Blazers.

Two months later, university President Ray Watts crapped all over that plan by cancelling the entire football program for the 2015 season and beyond, leaving Kentucky holding their junk in their hands at the altar. Mixed metaphor? Whatever, shut up.

No sweat, right? Just find another team to fill in the gap, give UAB the $500,000 cancellation fee that was agreed upon (since it wasn't mutually agreed to) and move on.

Except not so fast, my friend. As of right now, Kentucky still has not replaced UAB on their 2016 non-conference schedule."

It's been a complicated search process for Marc Hill, UK's executive associate athletic director for Internal Operations.

"I thought I was real close ... and then somebody else stepped in and grabbed it," Hill recently told the Herald-Leader about the search.

"We'll get to the point — and I'll use the school I thought I was real close to having a game with, Army — and all the sudden Ohio State stepped in and paid them more. I wasn't going to pay them what Ohio State was paying them, so then you have to say: Who's next?"

Now he thinks the first week of February, before National Signing Day, is a more likely timeline to have a new opponent in place.

That article was written quite some time ago, and still, at this very moment, there is absolutely nothing on Kentucky's non-conference schedule beyond 2015, save for their five-year series with Louisville that begins this season. I get that Kentucky tends to be rather slow on the draw with these things, but good lord.


*sigh* anyways.

Oh, one more fun part about that quote above. Hill mentions that Kentucky was really close to snagging Army as a fill-in for that date, until Ohio State came in and gave the Black Knights more money.

Except that they didn't, because Army and Ohio State aren't on each other's schedules anywhere at all for the next decade. Nor was he just flubbing a name to cover tracks, because the only team on Army's future schedule that could legitimately outbid even a lower-rung SEC team for anything is Oklahoma, whom Army doesn't play until 2018.

Or perhaps Vanderbilt (who Army played back in 2011) or Stanford (who just completed a two-year series) might have that kind of cash, but I'm not banking on it. At least not in terms of that being what Hill was referring to.

So Hill isn't just being obtuse - that story is a flat-out lie; maybe I shouldn't be surprised at that, coming from the mouth of a guy whose career prior to "guy who schedules Kentucky's football games" includes a dozen years as director of the athletics department's strength and conditioning program, and two years as the primary administrator of the baseball program.

Hold on, we need to spend a lot more time digging through this closet.

Let me say that again, for emphasis. The man primarily in charge of day-to-day operations for Kentucky's entire football program has a whopping two years of administrative experience with the Kentucky baseball team, preceded by almost two decades... as a strength coach and strength program coordinator. Forgive me if I feel like he is a bit under-qualified to do the following:

As the primary administrator for the football program, Hill manages day-to-day operations, coordinates budgetary responsibilities, assists the coaching and support staffs, and functions as the liaison between the program and the rest of the UK athletics department.

In addition, Hill oversees the internal operations of the UK athletics department, including business and accounting, human resources, event and facility operations, capital projects, sports turf, sport equipment operations and strength and conditioning departments. With these internal operations responsibilities comes the oversight of the UK Soccer/Softball Stadium Projects at $15 million, the UK Golf House construction project at 2 million, the $125 Million Football Stadium Renovation and the Football Training Center construction at $45 million.

Okay, let me get this straight. Hill oversees the entire strength program, HR (hiring and firing), and $187 million in athletics construction projects, among other tasks. Seriously, that is a whole lot of responsibility for a man who as of five years ago had zero administrative experience.

No wonder they struggle to succeed at football.

Also, did you notice that he is both the overseer of the day-to-day operations of the football program, the liaison between the football program and the athletic department, and the overseer of a half-dozen facets of the athletics department that each encompass all sports including football? That starts to look like a guy who is basically liaison to himself.

And it gets even better, as a matter of fact.  Army - the independent team that has to schedule 12 out-of-conference games every fall - has only announced nine scheduled games for the 2016 season. This means that it is not simply that Ohio State did not undercut Kentucky for a chance to schedule the Black Knights as a replacement game.

Nobody did.

Army still has three completely open dates for Kentucky to step in and claim for themselves.

Army even has September 24th wide open, which would allow Kentucky to retain their mid-October bye week that they cherish while allowing Army to have a bye around the same time.

That article from before goes on to say that "scheduling is a complicated dance in general, but it's been made more complicated by the emergence of the Power Five conferences." It also is made more complicated whenever you can't get out of your own damn way. Though it doesn't take much effort to find a logical candidate or three.