I've returned from my annual fishing vacation to Minnesota and I'm glad to be back with you all. One of the many perks of dropping off the grid in late July is the sports news world has slowed to a crawl. I haven't missed too much, but there are some things that I want to go over.
Football Trophy Fiasco
The Kentucky football team unveiled a world-class training facility that is second to none. It has all of the bells and whistles that has been lacking for decades. It's a jewel on campus and a testament to the renewed dedication that the athletic department has devoted to the football program.
Unfortunately, there is controversy surrounding the facility. There is a trophy in the building commemorating the 1951 football championship won by Bear Bryant and his best team at Kentucky. But virtually nobody recognizes Wildcats as the champion of that season. Oklahoma is the recognized champion. Now, there are arguments that Kentucky SHOULD have been the champions that season, but the fact is that the national title was awarded after the regular season and the bowl games did not factor into naming a champion.
Not surprisingly, this move to make a trophy and display it has brought about mockery and criticism of epic proportions. Honestly, I agree with the mockery and criticism It's not like Kentucky football has had a great deal of success historically, but it makes it laughable to have to manufacture examples of success.
That team should be honored, it was arguably the best Wildcats football team in history, but making and displaying a trophy that wasn't given is bogus. Many of us mocked Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals for giving championship rings to players for a season that was ultimately ended due to a self-imposed postseason ban.
Instead of trying to conjure up reasons to celebrate Kentucky Wildcats football, I would rather see Mark Stoops and company succeed with wins on the field and bowl games in real time. Nothing should be taken away from the 1951 team, but let's not hand out honors that may or may not have been earned.
UofL President Circus Comes to an End...For Now
Dr. James Ramsey saw a great deal of success as the president at the University of Louisville. The campus and sports programs grew exponentially under his leadership. But, his tenure was wrought with controversy. The FBI is investigating misuse of funds, the state auditor is continuing an investigation into the Foundation, and of course the highly publicized prostitution scandal involving the basketball team all happened under Ramsey's watch.
The new Board of Trustees accepted Ramsey's resignation yesterday, but of course, the circus didn't end there. Ramsey tried to cut a deal that would allow him be the interim president until the new president is named by the board. But the board was having none of it and what followed was hours of negotiating between the two parties.
It ended with a deal that Ramsey's resignation would be effectively immediately, he would not serve in the interim, and he would receive a golden parachute in excess of $690,000. But here is the kicker: Ramsey will remain the president of the UofL Foundation which provides him with most of his salary and the same Foundation that is under FBI and auditor investigation.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
Orlando Antigua on the Way out at South Florida
I was of the opinion that former UK assistant basketball coach Orlando Antigua would make a good head coach at some point in his career. He got that opportunity at South Florida, but after two short seasons as coach, Antigua's run at USF is coming to an end due to a NCAA investigation into academic fraud.
Antigua's brother, Oliver, has already resigned and the writing seems to be on the wall for coach O. This is a shame as Antigua was Calipari's lead recruiter at Kentucky and was a player favorite.
Where he goes from here is uncertain. There isn't room on Kentucky's bench for him as of now and the assistants just received new raises. But John Calipari is a loyal man and it wouldn't surprise me to see Orlando back on the staff in some capacity if he has trouble landing other jobs.
If Cal does welcome Antigua back into the fold, expect blowback stating that whatever happened to him at South Florida will follow him to Kentucky.
Demarcus Cousins: Burgeoning Olympic Hero
As Team USA rolls through teams during exhibition games, it is clear that our beloved Boogie is going to be a huge factor in Rio. He has been dominating in the paint during these games and there may not be another big man in the world that will be able to match his combination of tenacity, strength, and athleticism.
This is a great opportunity for him to remold his image on a world stage. I think he could easily become a fan favorite of the casual Olympic viewer. He is a fun personality that plays with a ferocity that Americans love to see, especially going up against the rest of the world.
I hope to see Demarcus linked arm-in-arm with his teammates with gold around his neck as the National Anthem blares over the arena.
Is it Football Season Yet?
With a little over a month before kickoff, we are on the verge of getting real action football news as the Wildcats hit the practice field next week. Fan Day is set for August 6th and the fans will be given an opportunity to see the new practice facility for the first time and will be able to watch the 'Cats practice at 11 AM.
As always, follow all of your practice news and reports here at A Sea of Blue.
De'Aaron Fox is the Next Great Kentucky Point Guard
Coachcal.com has been releasing the 2016 player profiles and De'Aaron Fox is the latest. Calipari calls him The General due to his on-court tenacity and off-court leadership. Calipari had this to say about his newest point guard:
De'Aaron Fox has speed, he has scoring ability, he can really pass, and he can guard the ball. But those things that can be said about different players, The intangible that I really loved is that every player wants to play with him. This whole class wants him to be the guard on the team.
Fox will be teamed up with Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe to form the best backcourt in college basketball for a second season in a row. While Briscoe will be the emotional leader, Fox will be the undisputed leader on the court and he relishes the opportunity. Cal's best point guards do not lack in confidence. John Wall, Brandon Knight and Tyler Ulis were the unquestioned leaders on the floor during their time at Kentucky. I think Fox will fit their mold as one of the best during Cal's time at Kentucky.
Yeah, this season is going to be fun:
And I leave you with this picture of Cal mini-golfing in some amazing UK sandals.
Lava Golf with the Palumbo's. pic.twitter.com/LsclPpKyHQ— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 28, 2016