VAUGHT: UK should play Massachusetts

KSR's Larry Vaught gives his take on the UMass game contract buyout. Kentucky has paid UMass a $50,000 buyout of a return game to the Boston Garden, which had been slated for the preconference schedule in 2006-2007.

Perhaps no one should be surprised that Billy Gillispie has had Kentucky buy its way out of playing at Massachusetts next season.

Just last week Gillispie joked that he would "like to play all home games" when I asked him about his scheduling philosophy.

"You have to have a great understanding of what that particular team needs and what it takes to compete in conference play once conference play begins. You have to have a thought process that this is where we need to be at this point," Gillispie said.

Then he added, "I want to play as many games here at Rupp as we can with the thought process of getting our team prepared to do really well in conference."

There is nothing wrong with any of that. But personally, it just doesn't seem like the right thing to do to buy your way out of a contract, especially after UMass has already fulfilled its part of the deal by playing at Rupp Arena.

I know Gillispie has a program to rebuild. But is voiding this contract basically saying that he doesn't think his team can win at UMass? While Massachusetts will be a solid team, does not going there really prepare a team to play at Florida, Tennessee or other Southeastern Conference rivals?

I know the coach needs to win games to get his team into the NCAA Tournament. I know Gillispie was not part of the deal to play Massachusetts. I know the coach needs input on the schedule.

But I also know that to this old guy, this just doesn't seem like the classiest move by Kentucky. Maybe it goes on all the time in big-time athletics. However, that doesn't mean even if I understand the reasoning behind the move that I have to like it.

This change won't make or break UK's season. If anything, many fans will applaud having another home game — even if it will be against a team far less talented than UMass. Maybe I am in the minority on this, but to me you sign a contract in good faith and ought to honor that contract even if you do have enough money to buy your way out of it.


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