Rupp Arena’s downtown location makes getting to games hard for residents on south campus, some students say


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari walks across the court after the Kentucky vs. Auburn mens basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 86-54. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ayden Parece, Reporter

Kentucky basketball, despite being one of the largest brands in college athletics, has long been criticized for its lack of a true student environment.

While there are a variety of factors that could be contributing to the issue, the location of the arena may be near the top. Some students, particularly those living on south campus, complain about the distance between their dorms and the arena.

“I’d love to get to more basketball games. It was a great atmosphere the one time I went, but it’s difficult to find ways there from where I live,” freshman Gus Howlett said.

Howlett is far from the only one to feel this way, with sophomore Liam Dreesen echoing the sentiment. 

“Being a student at UK, I just feel like I should have easier access to be able to go to the games, especially with the best sport on campus being basketball,” Dreesen said. “Transportation is one of the most annoying things about Rupp Arena’s location because it’s a pain to walk there, and parking is its own annoyance.”

While the trip from south campus to downtown Lexington may not be too bad for students with proper transportation, Howlett was unsatisfied with the accommodations the university made.

“It’s 100% easier for north campus students to get to Rupp, you can pretty much walk from there,” he said. “Buses won’t take you there. I can’t drive my car because I’ll have to pay for parking.”

Caleb Sloan, a freshman at UK, agreed with Howlett.

“I haven’t been to any basketball games this year actually,” Sloan said. “I love basketball but I don’t want to pay for an Uber on top of the ticket, and I don’t want to walk to get my truck and drive over there.” 

While some students may be willing to bite the bullet and pay to park, they’re faced with another task. Many students at UK park at Kroger Field, Kentucky’s football stadium, in the complete opposite direction of Rupp Arena.

The trip to the football stadium gives students the exact same dilemma: whether or not to walk to Kroger Field or wait on a bus, which students already established were unreliable.

Sophomore Holly Burwig spoke about how, for south campus students, going to a basketball game at all requires prior planning.

“It’s more convenient for people on north campus to attend games,” she said. “They can kind of go on a whim because Rupp is right there, whereas students that are farther away need to plan more around getting there.”

While students like Burwig may be willing to plan ahead to go to games, others, including freshman Cooper Fogle, often just don’t go to games.

“My parents are season ticket holders, but I don’t have a car, so I don’t make it to many games,” Fogle said. “I usually go on the weekends when my parents are able to pick me up.”

The overwhelming response from students on south campus was that Rupp Arena’s downtown location made getting to basketball games with no reliable form of transportation unnecessarily tedious and, in some cases, not worth it at all.