WKU’s Ransdell, Bjork want nothing short of a win against UK

President Gary Ransdell walks with Big Red before last season’s Homecoming game.

Cole Claybourn

Money is important in college athletics — all sports

for that matter.

But when it comes to next week’s game between WKU and

Kentucky at L.P. Field in Nashville, President Gary Ransdell said

he’s willing to put all that in the backseat in place of a win.

“To achieve a strong financial return would be a

measure of success,” Ransdell said. “But the measure of

success would be winning the game itself.”

It would be the caliber win that WKU has never had

since its move to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2009.

Matching the ticket sales mark of 35,000 would be a

goal as well, although that seems unlikely given the slow ticket

sales to this point.

As an attempt to counter what empty seats would still

remain from the tickets that weren’t sold, WKU on Wednesday

announced that all students will get into the game for free with

their WKU student ID. Previously just the first 4,000 were going to

be allowed in for free, with the 4,001st person and on forced to

pay at least $28 for a ticket. 

With the change, Ransdell said he wants to see 10,000

students show up.

“Why not?” he said. “It’s free. It’s in Nashville. Go

to a ballgame and have some fun. 

“I want to turn that Titans stadium absolutely red on

that evening.”

But win or lose, WKU will still reap plenty of

benefits from the game.

The Toppers have the advantage of playing on national

television while no other college football game is going on. And

despite not playing the game at Smith Stadium, they’ll be able to

brand the game as if it were.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork confirmed that the

50-yard-line at L.P. Field will indeed be painted with the WKU

logo, and WKU graphics will be prominently displayed around the


WKU also will be able to run its own promotions

throughout the game.

While all that is good, Bjork said the same thing as

Ransdell — a win would upstage all of it.

“I think if you look at our program, that’s what

people are hungry for — to see us compete on the field and win

games consistently,” Bjork said. “Winning the game will do more

than anything.”