As the old saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
That's the case with UK Athletics Mitch Barnhart. After publicly said there needs to be more transparency in how the NCAA Tournament field is set,
On Friday, Barnhart was named a member of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee - the body that annually selects the 68-team NCAA Tournament field - the NCAA announced.
"This opportunity to serve is a tremendous honor and I am humbled to receive it," Barnhart said. "The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee is tasked with setting the field for one of the greatest events in all of sports and I am eager to contribute to that process. I respect my new fellow committee members a great deal and look forward to working with them, as well as (NCAA vice president of men's basketball championships) Dan Gavitt."
Back in March after UK was given a 4 seed in the tournament to the surprise of many at UK and even in the national media, Barnhart suggested the committee use a process similar for the College Football Playoff, which releases weekly updates a month before announcing its field.
The AD says, "This would eliminate all doubt what coaches must do in scheduling and what teams must do to reach the tournament."
Barnhart now joins the 10-member committee with a five-year appointment, the latest example of Kentucky's athletics director playing an important leadership role in the national landscape of college sports. He is currently a member of the NCAA Division I Management Council and the chairman of the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee in addition to serving on the SEC Network Content Committee.
Membership on the committee continues an impressive string of accomplishments in 2015 and 2016 for Barnhart, currently in his 14th year at UK. He was named NCAA Division I Athletics Director of the Year last June at the annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, making him one of four Division I ADsselected for the honor.