We’re going to monkey around with the Big Blue Links format a bit this morning.
Monday’s big story was UK’s announcement of a $210 million, 15-year deal with JMI Sports of San Diego. As Jennifer Smith reports, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart went to great lengths to say that although JMI says it has expertise in “stadium financing,” the new deal has nothing to do with the university’s talks with the city about Rupp Arena.
My column from Monday’s press conference says the new deal is all about possibilities, including (finally) a new baseball stadium. There also is the possibility that UK could own or lease its own radio station. And it would not be surprising if the school has JMI at least explore the possibility of financing an on-campus basketball arena.
One of the more interesting aspects of the new deal is the concept of “campus rights,” which has to do with non-athletic revenue possibilities. Linda Blackford explores the matter, including giving examples of other schools who were able to market various parts of campus life.
Kentucky football picked up a commitment from a four-star offensive lineman from Ohio, Ben Roberts reports.
On tap today, Keeneland is holding a 10 a.m. press conference to announce the worst-kept secret in town. The local track will be the host site for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup.
Mark Story is all over Saturday’s upcoming NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway. He writes about Darrell Wallace Jr., who gives NASCAR a chance to look more like America.
Also, the NBA Draft is Thursday, and we will do a live blog that night. Stay tuned.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford held a mock Twitter draft last night that was, at the very least, annoying.
Thanks for following 1st-ever twitter NBA Mock Draft. Hope it was entertaining & didn’t clog up timeline too much! Can’t wait for real deal.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 24, 2014
As for the Reds, Devin Mesoraco cranked a grand slam in the ninth inning as Cincinnati won 6-1 at Chicago. The Reds are finally above the .500 mark at 38-37. The Nationals blanked Milwaukee, so the Reds picked up a game on the Brewers. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer asks if Billy Hamilton is now the best center fielder in baseball. We knew Hamilton had speed and wondered if he could hit, but the rookie has played the field like a talented veteran.
Around the SEC, Vanderbilt is one win away from a national title in baseball. The Commodores beat Virginia 9-8 on Monday night in the College World Series to win the first game of the best-of-three finals format. Starter Walker Buehler, the former Henry Clay star, gave up five runs in three innings, but the ‘Dores bats came through. The two teams meet again Tuesday night.
Former Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, has a new contract and new title at LSU. Kragthorpe is now special assistant and chief of staff for head coach Les Miles.
Steve Spurrier would rather work smart than work all the time. Given Spurrier’s success throughout his coaching career, the Ol’ Ball Coach has hit on the right formula for him.
Elsewhere, concerning the O’Bannon trial in Oakland, the NCAA’s setup has baffled Judge Claudia Wilken, writes ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson.
If you are watching the tube in Louisville today, check out my buddy Rick Bozich’s story on former U of L basketball star Manuel Forrest.