It’s been well known for awhile that former Cardinal Kenny Payne and Coach Cal are big buds. When Calipari was hired at UK, I was among many who thought Payne would surely join his staff in Lexington.
I just heard more innuendo pertaining to that whole tale. First a caveat: I’m advised by my source that Payne was disinclined to leave his position on Ernie Kent’s staff at Oregon because of all the youngsters he’s recruited and his belief they’ll have a really good team this season. I’m told he probably wouldn’t have moved to the Bluegrass even if allowed to negotiate with UK.
My source advises that Calipari offered Payne a half mill per year. That UK AD Mitch Barnhart called his counterpart for the Ducks, per protocol, seeking permission to negotiate with Payne. And that Barnhart was advised by the Oregon AD that he’d have to get approval from Phil Knight, the seriously powerful head of Nike, before he could grant such permission.
And that Knight nixed any possible deal between KP and UK. Something about a personal service contract Payne has with the sports apparel behemoth. Or so the story goes.
And you thought Sonny Vaccaro was Da Man.
Do not cross the Swoosh. The Swoosh smushes.
– Seedy K (Who has never owned a pair of Nikes.)