Mark Stoops on ring criticism: 'I don’t give a crap what anybody says'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday April 23, 2017

Kentucky football players received rings for their season last week. It drew some criticism, but Mark Stoops doesn’t care.

The Wildcats went 7-6, reaching their first bowl game in six years, but they lost the TaxSlayer Bowl to Georgia Tech. We’ve seen teams give out rings for bowl wins, but not often for just reaching one, though this ring highlights the win over Louisville. Mark Stoops joined SiriusXM College Sports Nation and explained it.

“I don’t give a crap what anybody says,” he said. “Our players, we have bowl games and we have money allotted to bowl games. They can get what they want. I couldn't care less what they get. They want a ring? We’ll get a ring. They want a T-shirt? We’ll get a T-shirt. They want a sweatsuit? We’ll get that. That’s for those guys to decide.

“I really don’t give a crap what anybody else says.”

Whether or not you like the rings, people are high on Kentucky’s chances to make a bowl game again next season. The Wildcats return 17 starters, the third-most in the country. Stoops said this spring was about building upon last year, which he feels they did.

“Just our ability to handle more, whether it was more training, and being more precise in our training and in our football IQ, continuing to go up and improve,” he said. “It’s been a lot about that. Football is a fundamental game. The spring is about learning how to fundamentally play, putting it together and handling the changeups.

Last year, we had to learn to stop beating ourselves. We weren’t going to beat anybody until we stopped beating ourselves. You have to continue to build on that. You want ammunition, you want changeups, but the bottom line is you have to be able to execute those changeups. Trying to piece all that together for the spring was the big focus.”

Kentucky opens the 2017 season at Southern Miss, followed by games against Eastern Kentucky and at South Carolina.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to