UK AD: Knight Made False Statement About Team

Monday Brandon Fisher of WKYT-TV in Lexington, Kentucky, reported that last Saturday while speaking to a group in Wabash, Indiana, ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Knight said that the five starters on the Kentucky 2010 NCAA tournament team did not attend a single class that semester.

Knight:

“Kentucky year before last started five players in the NCAA tournament that had not been to class that semester. That’s that one and none philosophy.”

University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart released a statement Monday night that reported Knight’s comment about the 2010 UK hoops team to be “blatantly erroneous“:

“The University of Kentucky, our student-athletes and their families take great offense to the blatantly erroneous comments made by Bob Knight that ‘Kentucky, year before last, started five players in the NCAA Tournament games that had not been to class that semester,’ ”UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “Academic performance has always been a priority at UK and it’s unfortunate that, although every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing, these myths exist. Our men’s basketball team’s APR score reflects our attention to academic progress and our student-athletes take great pride in representing the University of Kentucky on and off the floor.”

Patrick Patterson, who played on the 2010 Kentucky team Knight referenced, responded to ESPN analyst’s false claim on Twitter:

Ha I’m not even gonna comment on such #bullsh– (excuse my French) think me graduating & teammates GPA’s speak for themselves.. don’t u?

Tuesday ESPN college basketball analyst and former Duke basketball star Jay Williams appeared on KentuckySportsRadio.com to address Knight’s comments about Kentucky. After being read exactly what Knight said about the UK NCAA tournament team in question by show host Matt Jones, Williams said, in part:

He (Knight) does owe Kentucky an apology for that (statement) because those are accusations which are wrong.

Williams was later asked by Jones, “Do you believe ESPN as an entity, with Bobby Knight as an employee, should make a statement or address this in some way?

Williams’ response to Jones’ question:

“I think ESPN should come to the table and do something about the comment because obviously it’s very demeaning to the players that play at Kentucky.”

More from Williams on Knight:

“I think those comments were wrong  I think he does owe the fans at Kentucky an apology, but Bobby Knight is Bobby Knight and I’m sure he’s not going to give that apology.”

So will ESPN hold Knight accountable for what was clearly a blatantly - and possibly deliberately - false public proclamation?

From the last communication I had with ESPN officials this morning, it appears the network is trying to reach Knight before commenting as a company.

That said, I do believe ESPN will release a statement - with or without a Knight - soon.

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