Updated: Jul 26, 2020
The Faculty of the African-American and Africana Studies (AAAS) has submitted a letter to UK President Eli Capilouto asking for the University to change the name of the historic Rupp Arena, in regards to Adolph Rupp being known as a racist.
“The Adolph Rupp name has come to stand for racism and exclusion in UK athletics and alienates Black students, fans, and attendees," the letter wrote. The AAAS has recommended the new name be removed from the association of (Adolph) Rupp, and suggests the name 'Wildcat Arena' as an option.
On January 16th, the University of Kentucky signed a partnership with Central Bank, selling the rights to have the stadium named "Rupp Arena at Central Bank Arena." With that being more of a financial decision, UK's AD Mitch Barnhart suggested that they didn't want to lose the historical recognition of Adolph Rupp, whom the arena was built after.
The Athletic Director previously announced, “The name is tied to Coach Rupp and the Rupp family is so important for us, to protect that name and to make sure it is always remembered as the iconic place, family, name, leader of college basketball. Thank you for that. We intend to preserve that forever.” Barnhart went on to say, "It has to be Rupp Arena."
On the same day, Adolphs son, Chip Rupp, commented on the partnership. “For many, it’s just a place where the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team plays, but for us, we view Rupp Arena as a symbol that acknowledges the time that my grandfather spent coaching with the University of Kentucky, the program that he built, the standard of excellence that surrounds the University of Kentucky basketball program. That’s what Rupp Arena means to us. Over the past four decades, the name has come to mean even more. Rupp Arena symbolizes the unmatched tradition of this great program and protecting that name has been very important to the family over the years."
In a world where racism is being confronted right in the face, as it should be, the changing of the name doesn't seem like the solution to me. Rupp Arena isn't known for condoning racism, it's known as the Mecca of College Basketball. An arena where African-American athletes have been accepted into, and given the opportunities to succeed further on- in which, many have. It was even the arena that the program hired its first African-American Head Coach, Orlando Henry "Tubby" Smith for nearly a decade.
Kentuckys current HC John Calipari proactively embraces the African-American community, as he just started the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative Foundation. African-American also make up around 90% of his roster each year, with multiple African-Americans being hired to his staff.
The "racist ties" of Adolph Rupp are no longer there, and are only associated with his name. No one within the program has any connection to it, so I just don't understand what changing the name will do.
I don't think the name should be changed because the arena was named after Adolphs coaching success, not his personal beliefs off the court.