Presidents of UK and U of L, governor talk Final Four



By Taylor Moak

FRANKFORT —  Presidents of UK and U of L met in Frankfort Monday to discuss what the Final Four means for the state, and the talk wasn’t all serious.

UK President Eli Capilouto and U of L President James Ramsey said they hope this will be an opportunity to give the state and their universities attention.

“I’m new to Kentucky,” Capilouto said, but he likes seeing the “eyes of the nation” focus on the state for not only athletics, but also for the academics and students of the universities.

Ramsey said the universities and the state can capitalize on the opportunities the attention provides.

“We do see athletics as a vehicle to get these messages out,” Ramsey said, adding that athletics are a window to the universities.

When the talk turned to basketball, one reporter asked Capilouto, “Does UK deserve to be on the same court as U of L?”

Capilouto responded with one word and a smile. “Yes.”

Earlier on Monday, the mayors of Lexington and Louisville placed a friendly wager on the game.

“We’ll think about it,” Capilouto said.

Gov. Steve Beshear also joined in the conversation.

“How ‘bout this?” Beshear said about the university presidents meeting on the Capitol veranda. “I saw you two out here and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” he said.

Beshear said he was “betting on the state of Kentucky” to win and did not reveal which team he would be supporting.

“Think of the attention this is bringing to the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” he said.

Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will both be heading to New Orleans to watch the games.

When Beshear was asked if he, as a graduate of UK, and Abramson, a former Louisville mayor, are a house divided, Beshear laughed and said the two may have to take turns sitting on each side during the game Saturday.

“We can’t lose because someone from Kentucky is going to be in the final game,” he said.