LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky is exploring options for televising its football game this fall with Louisville after the Sept. 15 contest didn't appear on ESPN's schedule, Kentucky's athletics director said Wednesday.
The rivals' game has been on ESPN or ESPN2 for five straight seasons, and Louisville won four of those meetings. This year, Kentucky fought to have the game, which will be played in Lexington, moved from the first to the third game of the season.
Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart told The Courier-Journal he was prepared for criticism if moving the game from its traditional spot meant that ESPN didn't pick it up. He said more important factors than television figured into the school's decision to move the game.
Barnhart said Kentucky coach Rich Brooks "wants to have a better opportunity to have our players ready. This year, for example, we're going to go through the process of redeveloping our offensive line. He wants them to have their feet on the ground a little bit."
ESPN has released its schedule and those for ESPN2 and ESPNU for Sept. 15, and the game won't air on any of those networks. It also will not appear on CBS or Lincoln Financial, which air Southeastern Conference games.
ESPN Classic has expressed an interest in the game, the newspaper reported. Barnhart said Kentucky is continuing discussions about getting the game on TV.
"It's important to get as much visibility for the game as we can get, and we're working at that," he said. "We have a lot of conversations going on through our league offices, and they have a lot of people calling them. Obviously it's a game that people would like to see."
The 2009 game, to be played in Lexington, will also be in the season's third week. Louisville plans to host the game in the season's first weekend, the newspaper said.
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com
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