Days after Louisville basketball head coach Chris Mack suggested his program should face rivals Kentucky at a neutral site due to unavoidable complications and restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky’s John Calipari made it clear he wants things to remain as scheduled.
In a statement shared by Myron Medcalf of ESPN, Calipari said:
“Chris and I have talked and he expressed his concerns. While I understand the difficulty and the complications created by the pandemic, we are prepared to come to Louisville to play this season under the previously agreed upon terms, and we fully expect Louisville to honor the agreement with a return game to Rupp Arena next season.”
“We are contracted to play Notre Dame and a Big 12 opponent for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in Rupp Arena this season and we are honoring those contracts even if it is with little or no fans. It is no one’s fault we are in a pandemic. We cannot predict the future with this virus, whether that’s this December or next December. My hope is they are not trying to end this series because it is important for this state that we play.”
That second part came as a response to Mack hinting during a recent appearance on “The Full Court Press” podcast with John Fanta and Kim Adams that it wouldn’t be fair for Louisville to host Kentucky in an empty arena this season if Kentucky can, theoretically, welcome students and other fans for a game between the schools during the 2021-22 campaign.