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UK Checkerboard Unis Have Become Something Of A Political Debate

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The University of Kentucky’s famous, err…infamous checkerboard uniforms are creating a stir in parts of the Bluegrass State. Residents within the Bell and Harlan counties seem to be checker-bored with the Wildcats’ uniform designs that seem to borrow the distinctive checkerboard pattern from neighboring SEC rival Tennessee. So much so that Adam Bowling, a Kentucky State Rep, addressed the attire with the university.

During a recent legislative hearing pertaining to government contracts, Bowling questioned UK’s Tom Harris, VP of Community Relations, about the Wildcats’ marketing contract: “Is that still their goal moving forward because, believe it or not, I know we kind of laugh at it, but I’ve had a lot of people that have reached out to me that aren’t a fan of becoming Checkerboard U,” said Bowling.

Tennessee began painting their end zones with a checkerboard pattern as far back as the early 1960s and have continued to do so today. Roughly 30 years prior, Kentucky briefly used a similar design for their field, but the pattern was short-lived and not associated with the program. In 2008, UK sports teams reintroduced their version of the blue and white checkerboard design. And since then, the design has become a regular part of the rotation for Big Blue’s athletic teams and regularly appears throughout campus facilities.

Representing Kentucky’s 87th District, Bowling continued his push for the school to reconsider the checkerboard design, which is most commonly associated the Volunteers: “I don’t know if you all have plans to look at that and maybe consult with them or talk with them about going a different direction. I know a lot of times now when I see new facilities, it’s actually implemented into the buildings themselves or the fields, or the turfs or whatnot, and it just may be something you all want to look at because I’ve gotten a lot of feedback,” Bowling said to the committee.

Kentucky’s Harris responded with the opposite of a long-winded answer, saying: “Fair point. I’ll pass that along.”

Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good. Just as long as it’s not in checkerboards.

Written by Anthony Farris

Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival.

Follow him on twitter @OhioAF

2 Comments

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  1. It’s funny that this has come up. I live just north of the Ohio River/Mason-Dixon line, and although I have allegiance to a different college, I pay some attention to UK. And when I see their uniforms and facilities I ALWAYS think, “Hmm, is UK trying to be UT-North?” It is silly to copy one of one’s biggest rivals.

  2. I’m not a fan of either team’s checkered board end zones. Just sort of too busy like a strobe light. I like Tennessee and Clemson’s orange because it’s different. Blue is almost every guys favorite color.

    Clemson has Tennessee beat donning orange and the painted end zone.

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