Kentucky vs Indiana to be played in Rupp

The annual Kentucky vs Indiana men's basketball game will not be held at Freedom Hall in Louisville this season, as originally planned, due to a scheduling conflict. The game traditionally rotates between Louisville and Indianapolis. UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart issued the following statement to Kentucky fans early Friday morning on the conflict.

Letter from Mitch Barnhart

Dear UK Fan,

As you know, since the 1991-92 basketball season, the site of the annual University of Kentucky - Indiana University game has alternated between Louisville and Indianapolis. This has been a great arrangement, with the crowds split down the middle helping create a tremendous college basketball atmosphere.

For the last five seasons, this matchup has been played on a Saturday in December and televised by CBS. UK, Indiana and CBS had planned to play this year's game on Saturday, December 9, at Freedom Hall. However, because of existing contracts with other entities, Freedom Hall is not going to be available to host this year's UK-IU game.

Freedom Hall management first told us of a potential conflict this past February. Unfortunately, by that time, both schools had already filled in other non-conference Saturday games around the December 9 date. In our case, we have a December 2 game at North Carolina and December 16 contest at Louisville. We asked Freedom Hall if Friday, December 8 or Sunday, December 10 were available, but we were told those dates were booked. Working with CBS, we also pursued an earlier start time for Freedom Hall on December 9, hoping to get in and out of the way before any other scheduled events occurred, but were once again told no.

We felt our only viable option was to host this year's UK-IU game at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Tickets for this year's game will be part of UK's season-ticket package.

The management group at Freedom Hall is always a pleasure to work with, but finding a date for UK to play at the State Fairgrounds has become increasingly difficult. Our team has been forced to play on less-than-desirable dates in recent years. UK played Austin Peay on the afternoon of December 31, 2003. Last year, UK played Iona two nights before Christmas. We know these dates have been difficult for our fans and we understand your frustration.

Kentucky has played at Freedom Hall every year since the facility opened in 1958. Although our December 16 road game at the University of Louisville provides us an opportunity to improve upon our 117-31 record in Jefferson County, it is not a UK home game. Given the historical significance of the Wildcats playing in Louisville, and our desire to continue giving Big Blue fans in the Commonwealth's largest city an opportunity to see the Cats play, we asked a non-conference opponent previously scheduled for Rupp Arena if it would be willing to move its game to Freedom Hall. Thus, UK will be playing Chattanooga in Louisville on Tuesday, December 5.

I, along with our friends at Indiana and television partners at CBS, am very disappointed that circumstances will prevent Kentucky and Indiana from playing at Freedom Hall this season. We will work toward a solution to this issue in the future, with a goal of returning this rivalry to Louisville and Indianapolis on a rotating basis as soon as possible.

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