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AD says to ignore the rumors

10/26/2004 - Kentucky Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Kentucky president Lee Todd
and athletic director Mitch Barnhart expressed their support
Tuesday for football coach Rich Brooks, whose team is guaranteed
its second straight losing season.

"We've got the coach we want," Barnhart said Tuesday,
following a meeting of the university's board of trustees. "We're
not in the market for a coach."

The Wildcats are 1-6 heading into Saturday's Southeastern
Conference game against Mississippi State.

Reports last week on two national sports Web sites said that
Brooks, who is 5-14 in two seasons at Kentucky, planned to resign
at the end of the season.

"I'm not quitting," Brooks said Saturday and again Monday.

"People have self-serving interests and make things up,"
Barnhart said Tuesday. He added that college athletics "has become
a business of rumor and innuendo. It's so important that our
athletes and our coaches and our staffs stay focused on what their
task is. That's harder than ever to do."

Barnhart said that in the college ranks, coaches used to be
allowed four to seven years to turn around a program, then noted
that Florida fired Ron Zook on Monday after less than three years
on the job.

"I'm not a part of that decision-making and I'm not saying it's
right or wrong. I'm just saying the time frames have changed,"
Barnhart said. "I'm not sure if that's good for college athletics,
but that's reality."

Todd said that Brooks was hired under difficult circumstances
and has been forced to deal with the aftermath of NCAA sanctions
that took away 19 scholarships from Kentucky during a three-year
period. Todd said he was encouraged by the performance of the young
players Brooks and his staff have recruited.

"I'm as big a football fan as anybody, and I want to see this
program get back in a winning tradition, and I know that both Mitch
and coach Brooks want to as well," Todd said.

Asked if he was categorically behind Brooks, Todd said, "I
am."

Todd said rumors typically swirl around a losing program.

"Any time you lose football games, I think you're going to have
that kind of discussion," Todd said.

Brooks has three years remaining on a five-year contract that pays
him $750,000 a year.