Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the addition of Oklahoma and Texas to an already powerful Southeastern Conference is only part of the varsity athletics landscape. evolution âto which schools must learn to adapt.
âThese are great programs and bring amazing resumes to a really deep league,â Barnhart said. âOur coaches are going ‘Oh boy. It just got harder. But if you win anything, it will be incredibly special.
While the focus has been on the impact of the addition of these teams on football, Texas and Oklahoma are strong in many sports, as are most SEC teams.
âIt’s not lost on these programs (Texas and Oklahoma) that they are entering a deep league,â Barnhart said. âWe need to understand the challenges of travel and planning and what that means for each team (in different sports).
âYou continue to be who you are and not lose the culture of our program. We need to make sure we don’t lose our work ethic and everything will be fine.
Kentucky won the national rifle and volleyball championships last year. The women’s swim team won the SEC title for the first time. Golfer Jensen Castle recently won the US Women’s Amateur. Cats old and current have won medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Barnhart noted the overall longevity of Kentucky’s head coaches and how this added to the momentum of the UK athletics department.
âYou don’t want to be left out. Our programs stood up for each other, âBarnhart said. âNo one wants to be left behind. We are remarkably positioned in many of our sports and I am delighted. It’s about culture and not being left out of that thing.