It is no secret that Kentucky values their national champion basketball team more than their not-as-relevant football team. That being said, the overwhelming difference between the attention spent focusing on the court as supposed to the field can still catch anyone off guard.
Kentucky refers to their March Madness event as “Big Blue Madness.” The name is an accurate description of the event, as their were smoke machines, music, and endless entertainment from the always talented Wildcat squad. However, the most “mad worthy” aspect of the evening was undoubtably the cost.
Obviously, the success of the program has brought about an immense amount of affluence to the organization. While Kentucky is expected to throw overly lavish pep-rallies for their team, this has to be crossing some sort of march madness line. According to “Bleed Blue Kentucky” (a Twitter account that enlightens its readers with news about the Wildcats) Kentucky spend over 300k on the lighting for march madness. That is basically just as much as they spend on football recruiting. The Tweeter provided us with numbers: In 2011, Kentucky spent $336,000 on football recruiting. The light show cost close to $300,000.
In short, Kentucky spend basically as much money on having a light show for a basketball pep rally than they spent on trying to recruit players for their football team. Not to knock on Kentucky fans, because they have proved time and time again that they are one of the strongest fan bases on the country, but I imagine that Big Blue Madness was one of the more anticipated athletic events of the fall. Of course those other athletic events being the football games.
While people may scoff at this almost absurd spending on the part of Kentucky, it is important to realize that we have to come to expect these things from these guys. Recruits and fans like bright shiny things. Lord knows Kentucky is going to keep giving them just that.