Kentucky AD Statement Has Glaring Non-Denial

Today Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart released a statement responding to my report last night that he would soon be interviewing for the Kansas Athletic Director position.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(Get the UK fan reax to Barnhart’s statement)

Barnhart’s complete statement from the UK official site:

“Being a Kansas native with family in the area, having gone to Ottawa University in Kansas and my wife, Connie being a Kansas alum, I have many ties to the state. We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas. I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

“We have made progress in many areas over the last eight years, but we need to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the facilities to compete at the highest level.

“We have initiated the process of building a new track and are now focused on how we can upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and our football facilities. Our 22 sports receive unbelievable support from the Big Blue Nation and our fans deserve championship level success across the board.”

The two lines that matter:

I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.

Does that look like a denial to you? (Somebody tell Mitch he’s not the football coach at Alabama.)

Also notable was a comment today from the Kansas Athletic Director search panel Chair Ray Evans.

Jennifer Smith of the LEXINGTON (KY) HERALD-LEADER reported:

The search is moving at a faster pace than anticipated … when asked when he expected the committee to make its recommendations, Evans responded: “I would say we’ll get a whole bunch done here in the next four weeks.”

Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s timeline for the hire has apparently changed considerably. From the KU official release about the timeline for the AD hire:

Gray-Little said her goal is to have a new athletics director named by end of the spring 2011 semester.

The spring semester at KU concludes at the end of May. Evans said the process may now wrap five months before Gray-Little’s target date for the hire - in four weeks.

That’s early December.

Just as I reported yesterday.

Also, the KANSAS CITY STAR has this from Evans:

“We haven’t put any finalists in front of the chancellor yet. In the not-too-distant future, we’ll make recommendations, and the chancellor will have a variety of different discussions. The chancellor will make the selection.”

Though the committee “hasn’t put any finalists in front of the chancellor yet“, who said they haven’t been identified?

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