One of the NCAA sanctions levied against the Kentucky football program for recruiting violations is a reduction in the number of scholarships it may offer. UK can award, for example, only 18 scholarships this year compared to a normal 25.
With that kind of limitation, there was no doubt a day would come when one player saying "yes" to Kentucky might mean that the Cats would have to say "no" to others.
That day came earlier this week when Louisville Manual’s Keenan Burton accepted a scholarship, which led UK to remove from the table an offer it had extended to Boyle County’s Jacob Tamme.
That might not be so bad except that Tamme, a lifelong UK fan, was poised to announce that he wanted to be a Wildcat, too.
"Jacob was heartbroken because that’s where he really wanted to go," Boyle County coach Chuck Smith told the Danville Advocate-Messenger. "I just wish he had told me last week."
Tamme had reportedly made up his mind, but delayed telling anyone because he didn’t want to distract from the big Boyle County-Danville football game that was coming up. Then when Boyle lost that game, ending its 47-game win streak, Tamme skipped attending the Kentucky-UTEP game the following day, thus missing another chance to announce for the Cats.
On Monday, Burton unknowingly beat Tamme to the punch.
At least for Kentucky’s sake, Smith said coach Guy Morriss had warned all parties that they might run out of scholarships to offer a specific positions.
"They’ve been more than fair with Jacob," Smith said. "They told him they were offering several players at the same positions a scholarship and that the first one to commit would be the one to get it."
For his part, Tamme is still trying to find a way to Kentucky.
"It’s just amazingly weird how this has all turned out," Tamme told the Danville newspaper. "For a year, I tried to make a decision. Then I made one and the scholarship is not there."
Tamme said he talked with UK assistant coach Chris Lancaster, telling him that he still wanted to come to Kentucky and didn’t care what position he was recruited to play. Some project him as a receiver, others as a defensive back. Others, like Danville coach Sam Harp, see him as a terrific future tight end because of his frame, hands and speed once he would have time to add more weight and strength.
"I see Kentucky’s point on all this. They are limited in their scholarships," Tamme said. "I understand that and there certainly is no reason for me to be bitter toward them. They were honest with me and that’s all you can expect.
"I’m confident things will still work out. I’ve got other options and still feel like I’ve been blessed. I’ll be fine."
Tamme also has firm scholarship offers from West Virginia and Northwestern. Others to show interest are Purdue, Mississippi State, Michigan and Indiana.