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ESPN’s Phelps Gets Tough With UK Fans At VU

The next time ESPN’s “College Gameday” crew rolls into Lexington, analyst Digger Phelps might not be the most popular guy in town.  Saturday, prior to ESPN’s show at Vanderbilt, Phelps took it upon himself to instruct visiting Wildcat fans on how they should behave during the Commodores’ big day.

“This is important,” the ex-Notre Dame coach said, addressing UK fans in the upper deck of Memorial Gym.  “We’ve been with you at Kentucky. This is Vandy’s home game. This is Vandy’s — listen to me, listen to me — it’s their home game.”  He then added sternly: “You (Kentucky fans) are a part of it. But you show respect for Vandy. I don’t want any nonsense. I don’t want any incidents. Don’t ruin this for ‘College GameDay.’”

Here’s video of Phelps’ lecture.  It will be interesting to see if Phelps hears any “nonsense” when he next steps into Rupp Arena.



That's just crazy. Believe me I am no UK fan I'm actually a UT fan but I would be embarrassed if someone stood up and lectured the opposing teams fans in the Tommy Bowl. So much for southern hospitality. Every team has it's fringe fans but to lecture the whole fan base? That's just ridiculous.


Ridiculous...Just another ESPN idiot that didn't want the show ruined for ESPN...


What do you think John? It sounds like everything went fine and BBN was at least useful in adding some noise to Gameday when they had to move fans around to fill in holes in the stands. In your opinon, was BBN out of line for following down to Nashville (less than3 hrs from home)?

Obviously, I think Digger was out of line. If he wanted to give his Gramps "Get off my lawn!" type speech to ALL the students, then fine. But they sequestered BBN away in the rafters and out of the camera lines. Seems like ol' Digger has other issues with UK.

And yes, if he does come back to Rupp, he will not be welcome (honestly, he hasn't exactly been liked there for years). Maybe he'll get a Knight-style "ban"

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


I understand where Phelps was coming from in not wanting UK fans to chant "Go Big Blue" while Vandy was being discussed, but -- and it's a big but -- I don't believe Wildcat fans did that or anything else. They cheered UK when the Cats were mentioned and they behaved with class when Vandy was discussed.

Phelps could have delivered the same message in a completely different tone and I'd have had no problem with it. But he gave a lecture to fans as if they had any reason in the world to listen to him. Quite frankly, I'm surprised his tone didn't CAUSE Kentucky fans to act poorly.

"Hey, Cat fans, we love having you here. Thanks as always for supporting your team and our show. But remember, we want this to be Vandy's day. We only ask that you don't try to shout their fans down or anything like that. Show the same class UK fans always show and we'll all have a good time today."

Said in a friendly manner, the same point would have been made, but Phelps wouldn't have looked like a blowhard.

Just my take,


Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump

@John at MrSEC

I think the big issue is the feud between Digger and Kentucky that started when he was a coach at Notre Dame and escalated when he lost at the Checkerdome in the 1978 Final Four, and has taken jabs at UK ever since. Billy Packer is gone, and Musburger + Digger + Dickey V need to step aside and let the next generation step up. College basketball needs another Al McGuire as he was pretty level on commentary and he was fun with a mike.

Digger and his matching tie and underline pen

Brent and his love of all things dealing with the B1G and PAC

Dickey V's incessant pandering to Duke

I agree, the smart thing would have been to come out and address both groups of fans with humor and diplomacy, but he chose to jab and then hide behind introducing the veteran after the rant, which meant he knew better, or why try and cover his tracks. Acting like this was VU's day when they are only there because of UK seems a bit disingenous. If it really was all about VU, then schedule a CGD when they are not playing UK. I actually think he was trying to goad the UK fans into bad behavior, and thankfully the UK fans were smarter than that.

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