Whenever the University of North Carolina comes close to catching up with Kentucky in all-time wins, somebody at UK would do some "research" and find that there was a game with the Bum Fork Elks Club in '06 that was incorrectly listed as an exhibition game when it should have been an official game.
Kentucky and North Carolina have been neck-and-neck in all-time victories throughout the 1990's. In the late-80's, UK lost the lead to UNC, in no small part to the poor seasons and the fact that UK was forbidden from competing in a number of SEC and NCAA tournaments due to NCAA probation.
On July 11, 1990, UK announced that they had petitioned the NCAA and were granted an additional win to their all-time win total for a game (March 3) in 1914 against the University of Louisville. This tied the race for wins at 1,479 at the time, with North Carolina having lost 544 games and Kentucky 489 games along with one tie contest.
In late October 1991, the NCAA announced that they had added five wins and a loss to North Carolina's total, in response to some research which had been done by the school's sports information department to make its early results more accurate. At the time, this increased North Carolina's lead over Kentucky from 7 to 12.
Kentucky, undergoing an amazing resurgence under new coach Rick Pitino, went on to retake the lead and hold it for the rest of the decade, although the Tarheels were never far from sight.
The game found by UK was a contest which had been listed in Kentucky's official records in 1985. It was also listed in Louisville's official records. For some unknown reason, the game never was added to the all-time wins list. A disc-jockey in Louisville first made note of the omission and this prompted a number of fans to contact the Sports Information Director.
According to the assistant statistics coordinator with the NCAA, the change was not unusual.
"Louisville had the game listed," (NCAA assistant statistics coordinator Gary) Johnson said. "It looked legit. it was just a mistake. Schools quite often call me and say, 'We played some games in 1908.' It happens all the time. This time, because it deals with the all-time record, it becomes a bigger deal." - by Jerry Tipton, "UK Back on Top with Win from 1914," Lexington Herald Leader, July 12, 1990.
The following year, North Carolina finished up some research they were doing to fill in the sites and dates of all their games from 1911 up to 1938 by announcing that the NCAA had agreed to add five victories and one defeat to their record. Two student assistants did the research by looking over microfilm of the Greensboro News & Record and the local Daily Tar Heel student newspaper. They discovered that there were unrecorded victories over the Durham YMCA (22-16 in 1920 and 40-5 in 1925) and the Durham Elks (46-27 and 51-12 in 1925). They also discovered that a game against Duke which had been listed as a loss was actually a victory for the Tar Heels. In addition, an unrecorded loss from the 1921 season was discovered against the Durham YMCA (41-18).
The corrections to the record gave North Carolina a victories total of 1,513 compared to Kentucky's 1501. Then Kentucky coach Rick Pitino commented,
"I don't pay any attention to those things," Pitino said. "To me, they are insignificant." - by Jerry Tipton, Cats Lose Before Tip-Off NCAA Credits Tar Heels with 5 More Victories," Lexington Herald Leader, November 1, 1991.
JPS Note: - The addition of victories from the early part of the century is not unexpected. Anyone who has looked back through microfilm to view the original information will soon realize that what is in the record book is not always accurate nor complete. I personally have no problem with adding past games if they indeed were official games at the time. It is well known that the NCAA standards for whether a game was official or not are quite lax for games prior to the formation of the NCAA itself. I do find it amusing, however, to see North Carolina fans constantly criticize the University of Kentucky for 'digging' up wins against questionable competition when if anything, UNC would be more guilty of this practice. Apparently a large group of Tar Heel fans are suffering from selective amnesia.
Return to Kentucky Wildcat Basketball Page.Jon Scott