The in-fighting between John Calipari and Mark Stoops at Kentucky has made national headlines. It’s the perfect story for take artists near the end of college football’s talking season. By this point you’ve read John Calipari’s comments and the response on Twitter from Mark Stoops. The aftermath set the internet on fire, drawing reaction from fans, local and national media, and surely to Mark Stoops’ chagrin, other SEC schools.
Eamonn Brennan, The Athletic
In this lengthy column, Brennan does not take sides in the feud. He asserted that Kentucky is a “capital B Basketball School,” while also pointing out the condescending tone of John Calipari’s comments. Similar to Nick Saban’s misstep that caused a feud with Jimbo Fisher, “you can’t help but look at what Calipari told The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker in his appeal for a new practice facility on Thursday and not fear that he’s lost at least a little bit off the old fastball — rhetorically, if not otherwise.”
“For someone whose words have always been so pinpoint-calibrated, it feels a little like Cal has lost a little of his ability for nuance — of pushing the envelope without angering the people you’d rather not anger. He’s always been provocative, always willing to get under someone’s skin, but usually, he’s punched up and out, at other programs, ‘bitter coaches,’ the people who thought he didn’t belong.”The Athletic
Gary Parrish, CBS Sports
The longtime CBS Sports columnist and Memphis resident has covered Calipari since they lived in the same city. Parrish was surprised to see the reaction, evidence that for the first time John Calipari is not the most powerful person on campus.
Did you ever think you’d see the day?
The Kentucky football coach publicly clapping back at the Kentucky basketball coach, and largely getting Kentucky fans to side with him, was literally unimaginable not too long ago. But Calipari just backed the worst season in modern UK history with a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to the second place team from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and UK fans no longer worship him like before.
It must feel weird.CBS Sports
ESPN’s Dick Vitale
SEC Network’s Peter Burns
Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek
Auburn Football Coach Bryan Harsin
Even though he was almost forced out by Auburn boosters this offseason, Bryan Harsin seized the opportunity to take a shot at Kentucky. He could use some recruiting ammunition. Mark Stoops has flipped two four-star Auburn commits, Kobi Albert and Trevin Wallace, on back-to-back signing days.
Andy Staples Show
On the Andy Staples Show, The Athletic’s college football podcast, Kentucky was the primary topic of conversation between Staples and Ari Wasserman during the hour-long show. The pair of college football prognosticators were quick to praise the fans of the so-called basketball school. Staples had firsthand experience as a member of the Florida football team in the 90s.
“I can’t stress this enough. Kentucky football fans are good football fans and always have been,” said Staples.
There is plenty of passion in the Bluegrass for football, but Wasserman did pose this question.
“Why can’t people just say the truth and it not hurt someone’s feelings?” He added, “I know it’s rude to a certain extent because what Mark Stoops has done with the Kentucky football program has been remarkable, we’ve said it time and time again, but why it is offensive? Everybody knows (Kentucky is a basketball school).”
Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel and Ross Dellenger spent 10 minutes discussing the issue on Yahoo’s College Football Enquirer podcast. A lot of laughs were exchanged during the conversation that was teed-up by this statement from Forde:
“Mark Stoops is starting to understand how Bear Bryant felt when he was coaching alongside Adolph Rupp and nobody paid attention to Bear Bryant and the football program.”