He elaborated, over the course of the twitter discourse on the topic, "I like Mitch! I just think it was a bad time for a trip," pointing out to Barnhart defenders, "I don't begrudge [him] a vacation. Just thought timing could have been better. Some [UK football] fans feel UK doesn't support [football] or make it a priority. [Barnhart's] absence feeds into that perception..I'm not a Barnhart basher, but more visible support of Joker and [football] team at these preseason events should have been a priority." He qualified this with, "He's a good A.D. and has done great things at UK." Lexington Herald-Leader sports columnist John Clay cited Faris's comments, and suggested readers should "give Mitch (Barnhart) on the mount a break," writing in response, "Sometimes, you just can’t win. There has never been a more visible athletics director at Kentucky than Mitch Barnhart. I’m not talking about on the floor of Rupp Arena or the field at Commonwealth Stadium for all the fans to see. I’m talking about visible to the athletes and various sports at UK. Barnhart seems to be at every function, no matter the sport, no matter the date, no matter the time...Barnhart missed a UK-U of L golf outing and the annual Kickoff Luncheon. He will miss UK Media Day on Friday and Fan Day on Saturday. That’s it. He’s scheduled to return to Lexington next week. What was he supposed to do, anyway, stand up and at the Cardinal Club and declare that the embattled Joker Phillips is his guy?" UK fan (UK Law and Centre grad) Lee Weatherly tweeted,
So the UK AD can get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but can't make it to the Governor's Cup or Lexington Football luncheon?— Kevin Faris (@KevinWFaris) July 31, 2012
Clay says, "give the guy a break -- and congratulate him on his climb." In fact, Barnhart told Ace contributing sports writer Jeff Zurcher in a 2003 interview, "I’ve always enjoyed testing the limits of my fears. I like the extreme stuff. If I didn’t have children. There’re things on your list of things you’d like to do and I’d like to test them a bit like the Mt. Everest stuff intrigues the heck out of me but I’d never put my family at risk for stupid fun.” So, what do the Ace Readers think? Barnhart earned his vacation? Barnhart could've timed his vacation better?
Mitch should have made his climb a football fundraiser. Get people to pledge $ for very foot climbed. Build that damn recruiting room!— Lee Weatherly (@LeeWeatherly) August 1, 2012