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Cal Takes UK To The Next Level With Major Scheduling Changes

Posted: May 23, 2012 6:49 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: May 24, 2012 5:32 AM

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Cal takes a lot of heat for wanting to play neutral games and cutting back on home and home series with big name schools like Indiana.

But, Cal is convinced that if UK played a few games in football stadiums two years ago, UK would have won the NCAA Championship.

"When we schedule, I want to create experiences, not just games," Cal said on

"The thing about Kentucky basketball is it's passed down from father to son. I want to schedule events that grandfathers and grandsons will be talking about 25 years from now. That's part of what Kentucky basketball is about; part of what has made this place so unique. Those experiences mean our fans can go to those games in addition to another 20,000 fans that never get to go to the games."

When it comes to cutting back on home and home series, Cal doesn't see that ending with Louisville, but don't look for him to agree to an 8 year contract. Cal wants to keep contracts to two years.

"We are adding North Carolina back to the schedule for the 2013-14 season. The game will be played opposite of our Louisville series (when we play Louisville at home, we'll play North Carolina on the road, and vice versa). Roy Williams and I both agreed this was a good year to take a break. We both look forward to continuing this series in 2013-14 for two more years and beyond."

This is a big one. When you talk about getting national attention, hooking up with Duke might have TV Networks fighting over getting the game.

"I am currently in conversations with Coach K of Duke for a multi-year, neutral-based series that will be played around the country in the best facilities. The games would take place on the same weekend every year and would be THE GAME to watch. Obviously we're playing Duke this season in Atlanta in the second year of the Champions Classic, as well as Maryland in the brand new Barclays Center. We are playing Michigan State in Chicago in 2013-14, and we're working on finalizing an event that we hope to have in Lucas Oil Stadium that same year."

You talk about being the number one program, what Cal is attempting to pull off is something who else has done?

"In 2013-14, we're going to pull off another one of those "Only at Kentucky" moments when we do a first-of-its-kind doubleheader with our women's program at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Matthew Mitchell's team will play Baylor, who won this year's national championship, in the first game, and then we'll follow it up with our game against Baylor's men's team, who we had to get past last year in the Elite Eight to make the Final Four."

"The tickets will be split down the middle for that game, and we hope to break the NCAA attendance record. It's an opportunity for both of our programs to do something that has never been done before - TO CREATE EXPERIENCES for our players and fans."

This is a great idea. It also gives UK more national attention and helps UK recruit in Texas.

"Baylor will return the game to Rupp Arena this season on CBS. We will also be going on the road to a Big East opponent this season."

"Let me be clear: It is important that we play in at least one if not two football stadiums every year to prepare our players for NCAA Tournament venues. Not every program can play a regular-season game in a stadium like we can. The NCAA Tournament plays half its regional games and the entire Final Four in those venues. Who do you think will be in those domes and stadiums? It will be us. I'm convinced we would have won the title two seasons ago if we would have played in a dome during the regular season. Our guys weren't prepared for it."

Somebody is going to find a way to rip this apart because it's Cal.

But, if you are a fan, it sounds like fun.

If you are a reporter, it sounds like fun.

If you are a potential recruit, it sounds great!

"I like the fact that both the Duke game at the Georgia Dome in 2012 and the Baylor game at Cowboys Stadium in 2013 are the Final Four sites for those years."

What True Blue Fan won't buy into the changes Cal is making?