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And the Balloons Flew

For the second year in a row, I woke up to the sound of hot air balloons flying over my home.  Last year, they flew so low I could easily see everybody in the basket.  This year they were higher, although several did fly directly over my home, so I got a first-class look at the Derby Festival Great Balloon Race.

Be that as it may, this is a UK sports blog, and as luck would have it, there are a few things of interest to talk about today.  First and foremost is the news that Rick Majerus, former Utah coach and frequent Kentucky victim in the NCAA tournament,  is the new head coach of the St. Louis Billikens .

The second item of interest is that UK has apparently decided to ease Gillispie's recruiting efforts by possibly buying a private plane for use by the university.  To that end, the UK athletic association has raised the budget of Men's basketball recruiting by $300,000.  Also of note are an additional $200,000 for the Center for Academic and Tutorial Service.  The Courier-Journal has the whole story.

Next is this editorial  over at the Courier-Journal.  The C-J is known for constantly bashing UK's dedication to its basketball program and what the C-J sees as an insufficient emphasis on academics.  Their editorials are almost universally condescending and invariably critical, but for once, they have praised UK for reaching over $1 billion in "Bucks for Brains" donations.  Of course, the editorial writers can never just praise UK, they must throw in a few shots, like ridiculing their endowment for being lower that U of L's, and including a gratuitous poke at Kentucky's love of basketball.

Have no fear, however.  After the news of the increased recruiting and athletic budget, the C-J will have, sometime in the next few days, an editorial blasting the waste of resources and scoffing at UK for being more interested in sports than education.  It is as inevitable as the tide.

The Lexington Herald-Leader also reports on the budget increase , but adds a couple of other interesting factoids.  One is Mitch Barnhart's take on the texting ban (he thinks it should be revisited), and the other is an additional $200,000 for marketing the football program in the aforementioned athletic department budget increase.

Serious Hoops Blog has a post pointing out that fewer players declaring early for the NBA draft are hiring agents this year, possibly learning from Randolph Morris the benefits of avoiding an irrevocable loss of amateur status.  I think that is a very good thing if players are given more options to return to college, rather than less. Morris' much-vilified flirtation with the NBA may have done far more good than harm, in the long run.

Update [2007-4-28 11:44:14 by Truzenzuzex]: Wildcat Thunder has a good post looking at the difference between Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie so far.

Update [2007-4-28 12:12:11 by Truzenzuzex]: Dannyboykin over at Kentucky Wildcat Report has a brand-new post up this morning that is information overload for the recruitniks among us. He also noted our link of yesterday and is apparently a fan of A Sea of Blue.

Accordingly, and for his fine work in only a couple of weeks of existence, you can now find Kentucky Wildcat Report enshrined below under our links section below. Be sure to give him a visit.