Kentucky Dysfunction Opens the Door for Tennessee Laughs, Praise, and Unity

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    There’s some dysfunction going on with the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington over the last 24 hours or so. And Tennessee is capitalizing on it.

    Let’s start at the beginning.

    On Thursday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. ET, The Athletic reporter Kyle Tucker posted a new quote from Kentucky head coach John Calipari while talking about his desire for the school to build a new basketball practice facility.

    “This is a basketball school,” Calipari said via Tucker. “Alabama is a football school. So is Georgia. No disrespect to our football team. I hope they win 10 games and go to bowls. But this is a basketball school.”

    Within an hour, the quote about Kentucky not being a football school had found its way to Kentucky’s head football coach, Mark Stoops. As imagined, Stoops fired back at his Kentucky coaching companion.

    “Basketball school?” Stoops said via quote tweet. “I thought we competed in the SEC? #4straightpostseasonwins”

    Stoops is clearly upset with Calipari’s reference to Kentucky as a basketball school, showing off Kentucky’s four straight bowl wins in the Citrus, Gator, Belk, and Citrus Bowls, respectively. Meanwhile, Kentucky basketball, on the other hand, missed the NCAA tournament in the 2020-2021 tournament and suffered a first-round defeat to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in the first round of the tournament in the 2021-2022 postseason.

    Just about one hour following Stoops’ rebuttal, Kentucky defensive back Vito Tisdale responded in a now-deleted tweet.

    Kentucky Tennessee

    Photo via Twitter (@vitotisdale7).

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    All of the internal Kentucky dysfunction happened in one quick Thursday afternoon for the Wildcats. However, by the time the evening came around, Tennessee players and staff had seemingly become aware of the tweets.

    Vols forward Josiah-Jordan James first replied to Stoops’ post on Twitter.

    “Yikes,” James said with five laughing emojis and two orange hearts. “We love each other on this side. Everybody eats #volnation #everythingschool”

    James’ tweet quickly spread like wildfire throughout the Tennessee fanbase to the tune of 46 replies, 38 quote tweets, and over 2,000 favorites in less than one day.

    Tennessee center Uros Plavsic replied to James’ tweet saying, “Let em know Jo Jo” with a laughing emoji.

    It wasn’t just the Tennessee fanbase that saw the tweet, though. Tennessee athletic director Danny White seemingly also saw everything unfold and agreed with his basketball student-athlete.

    “Couldn’t agree with you more @jjjames30!” White said in a tweet. “#everythingschool #GBO”

    Josiah Jordan-James and Danny White’s tweets, at the time of this publication, have received 69 replies, 60 quote tweets, and over 3,000 likes combined. The Vols certainly did a great job of capitalizing on Kentucky’s mishaps by rallying and uniting their own fanbases and sports teams.

    When Tennessee says that they are an #everythingschool, part of that is obviously the tongue-in-cheek response to Kentucky’s situation. However, at the same time, from a relationship perspective, it does seem to be true.

    Tennessee’s student-athletes and staff were very supportive of each other during the 2021-2022 sporting year. The Vols’ basketball team could often be seen at the Tennessee baseball games last season, while Plavsic was a routine supporter at the Tennessee softball games to see his girlfriend and Lady Vol senior outfielder Kiki Malloy. Tennessee baseball skipper Tony Vitello was also seen courtside on the Tennessee basketball sideline and on the field with the Tennessee football team last season.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.