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Stoops: UGA ‘bought some pretty good players’

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Stoops: UGA ‘bought some pretty good players’

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Kentucky coach Mark Stoops publicly pleaded for more financial support for his program after the Wildcats’ 51-13 loss to Georgia on Saturday, putting a spotlight on the NIL difference between his team’s players and those on the No. 1 Bulldogs.

“I can promise you — Georgia, they bought some pretty good players,” Stoops said Monday in response to an upset fan on his weekly radio show. “You’re allowed to these days, and we could use some help. That’s what they look like, you know what I mean, when you have 85 of ’em. I encourage anybody that’s disgruntled to pony up some more.”

Asked about what Stoops had to say after Georgia practice Tuesday, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart wasn’t looking to engage in any verbal sparring.

“No reaction. It’s much to do about nothing,” Smart told reporters. “I think Mark is trying to garner interest for money from his fan base for his collective, and we’re all trying to do the same in terms of trying to get money for the collective. Mark and I talked about NIL pregame, and we talked about it in our meeting. I’m not biting on that.”

Stoops’ comments had echoes of Alabama‘s Nick Saban saying last year that Texas A&M “bought every player on their team” — a comment that spurred a back-and-forth between Saban and Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher that ran all the way until a narrow Crimson Tide victory that October.

Stoops attempted to clarify his comments Wednesday, saying he loves Kentucky fans and was “taken completely out of context.”

“Basically one person was questioning me and the program and getting over the hump,” Stoops said Wednesday. “I really simply should have said, ‘Hey dude, I’ve gotten over a lot of humps. That’s not a hump, that’s Mt. Everest.'”

Kentucky had entered the Georgia matchup with an undefeated 5-0 record and a No. 20 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25. But the Bulldogs stomped the Wildcats, leading 34-7 by halftime and outgaining their SEC East opponent 608-183.

Georgia has won 14 straight games against Kentucky, last losing to the Wildcats in November 2009.

After the game, Stoops looked to shoulder the blame and said Georgia “beat us in every area.” He reiterated those sentiments Wednesday and said Smart knew what he meant with his initial comments.

“Kirby’s probably happy,” Stoops said. “He’s probably trying to rally up more money ,too. We all need it — it’s just the way it is.

“I wasn’t taking any shots. I took full responsibility. We got our butts beat, we need to respond better, and that’s it. Kirby and I are friends and colleagues. I respect every aspect of what he does and how he runs his program. To me, I was responding to one person at a radio show, and that was one part that was taken completely out of context.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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