And we all bow to the master voice talent:
The Beasman has been giggling for three weeks as he watches UofL’s meltdown continue. Rick’s gone and now Tommy J has been voted out. Could a three-fer bring the end of the Larry Minner show with Matt Jones finally landing on WHAS?
Sorry, little buddy. Hold that cardboard box for at least one more week. Matt Jones and Tony Vanetti are still lawyering up to answer claims by groupies that they like to watch each other shower.
One day after the University of Louisville fired Tom Jurich, the athletics department sent this letter to all fans via social media. Although new acting AD Vince Tyra (above) didn’t sign the note, it’s from him.
To our fans,
You are our heartbeat and our spirit. Your passion provides our student-athletes with an intangible strength to dream without limits and achieve the loftiest of goals. You lift them up — to give their best on the field, in the community and in the classroom. Your gift of loyalty, emotion and appreciation drives us and we wanted to reach out to simply express our gratitude.
This is certainly a challenging time in our program’s history, but your unwavering support empowers all of us to push forward in the face of adversity. We are working diligently to shore up our men’s basketball program and are confident that David Padgett and his staff will represent you and our university well this season.
You rejoiced in good times and have been stalwart in the tough moments. Our student-athletes have never needed your support more than they do right now.
True to form, as Louisville Cardinals, we will persevere. We will stand on the extraordinary foundation that has been laid and we will meet the goals set for our program: maintain the highest level of ethics, achieve superior results athletically and academically, provide best-in-class facilities and continue our path of success as a proud member of the ACC.
We are devout in our commitment to right our wrongs and make you proud. This is our imperative. It is our top priority to ensure that we drive this university forward and provide the very best for our entire community, especially our student-athletes.
It is our honor and privilege to serve you and to have you with us on this journey. We sincerely appreciate your continued support. It is our mission to represent the Louisville Cardinals in a manner that is emblematic of this great city.
University of Louisville Athletics Department
Here’s Rick Pitino’s first interview after being fired this week as head coach of the University of Louisville men’s basketball team.
Pitino lawyer Steve Pence promised a bare knuckle fight if his client were to be fired. So far they’ve sued apparel company adidas for alleged damage to Pitino’s reputation. No legal action has yet been filed against the University of Louisville.
With David Padgett now in charge of the Louisville basketball team, all university employees associated with the program have been ordered by the school to have no contact with Pitino.
Rick has many detractors who are not necessarily Kentucky fans. Yahoo sports columnist Dan Wetzel isn’t buying a thing he watched in Pitino’s interview.
Thanks for that, Danny Downer.
True buddies are still there for Rick. Count me in that camp. Friends are friends. That’s how we roll.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, many Hollywood stars are revealing their own stories of enduring abuse. Louisville’s Jennifer Lawrence told an awards show crowd about an incident where a female producer had actresses lined up nearly nude in order to fat-shame them.
Jennifer’s mom Karen was listening to our Hollywood reporter talk about it and called in to correct misconceptions and sloppy reporting about the story.
Back in 2012, Jennifer was shining light on Hollywood’s weight-shaming attitudes.
Here is part of Jennifer’s story from this week’s awards show.
Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino have both been fired with cause. Pitino’s sixteen year term was burdened by multiple scandals. That’s cause. More litigation to come as Pitino’s lawyer promised “a bare knuckle fight.”
Earlier today, Jurich was offered a relatively miniscule buyout if he resigned before the University of Louisville board of trustees voted to fire him. He declined the offer and was then told the school is considering filing a lawsuit against him. No other details were given.
Legal teams for both Pitino and Jurich were given very short appearances before the boards. Pitino lawyer Steve Pence said he had “a well prepared and solid one hour presentation” at Monday’s hearing yet there wasn’t “a single question from the board.”
After just 9 minutes before the board today, Jurich’s legal team remained outside Grawemeyer Hall for hours until the final decision was rendered. By a vote of 10-3, Jurich’s services were terminated with cause.
The Jurich legal team issued a gracious statement that offers thanks to all supporters but ends:
“With that said, Tom has instructed us to vigorously defend his rights and reputation under his long-standing contract with the University of Louisville.”
Meanwhile, the board of trustees moves ahead with well-loved David Padgett as acting coach, and successful businessman Vince Tyra as acting athletics director.
Both great guys, both with yeoman’s work ahead of them serving the administration and fan base.
UofL long ago gained peer status with the University of Kentucky. Just as Florida has to recognize the strength of Florida State, Oklahoma with Oklahoma State, and Alabama with Auburn, the worry today is that Louisville shrinks to a city school like Cincinnati compared to Ohio State.
And that’s not really about athletics, it’s about state funding, research grants, and alum donations. To borrow a football phrase, feed the studs.
Why oust Jurich over repeat problems with one coach out of 23 major teams? Because he refused to fire Pitino when directed to do so multiple times this summer. This was long before the FBI’s shoe company money investigation was revealed.
I talked about it on ESPN’s Outside the Lines in late September.
Who pushed the agenda? Gov. Matt Bevin recently told me that he does not direct his university board appointees in any way. “I appoint competent, successful people on those boards…I do not tell them how to vote on any issue.”
The guy directing these UofL personnel decisions is board chair David Grissom, 82, taking over the post last January. His “clean the house” strategy has set the university on a path of financial struggles that will likely linger long after his death.
He began mopping up multiple money messes in the foundation and academic departments. Fragging the athletics department gained steam as the year wore on.
Jurich ran a surging athletics department that exponentially grew the value and prominence of University of Louisville athletics. A school that used to play conference foes Drake, North Texas State, and St. Louis now enjoys ACC rivalries with Duke, North Carolina, and Florida State.
Previous UofL administrators were impressed by Jurich’s success and used it to shine light on the rest of the university. Presidents John Shumaker, James Ramsey, Neville Pinto, and current interim President Greg Postel also threw shade at Jurich. Most were miffed that Jurich ran what he considered an autonomous athletics department.
At the August celebration for the $160 million deal with Adidas, the head table featured Jurich, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Governor Bevin, business superstar Junior Bridgeman, and two executives from the shoe company. Interim President Greg Postel was three tables away in relative obscurity.
Oh, there’ll be no more seating smackdowns going forward.
What happens now? City pride dives even further. Attention wanes. Hey look! There’s a soccer stadium going up over there!
UofL’s administration is in full control again but devaluation of Cardinal athletics is sure to follow just as LouCity FC’s stock rises.
Jurich successfully corralled more advertising dollars and sponsorships tied to UofL athletics than ever before. Arena and stadium personal seat licenses, ticket prices, and adjacency sponsorships are at bloated rates. Think Dow 25,000.
Job 1 for Vince Tyra is convincing fans, advertisers, school donors, and boosters to keep paying the current rates.
But will that happen with an elongated step down in performance? Why would an advertiser who was pushed to pay $50,000 for an arena sign + program ad + stadium announcement of sponsorship pay that now? How about $8,000 instead? How about $5,000?
And there is this: In 2010, Yum Brands signed a bargain priced 10 year arena naming rights deal that is not expected to be renewed. Leadership at Yum Brands continues shipping its top management and muscle to Dallas as its investment in Louisville slips.
Taxpayers were originally promised that naming rights would fetch $40 million. Yum got it for $13.5 million. Plus, the TIF is a stiff.
When available in 2020, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is the most likely candidate to rename the arena for his pizza company. Schnatter craftily waited for a fire sale price on naming rights for the football stadium back in 1998.
If the NCAA comes to strike down the 2013 UofL championship banner and even kill off men’s basketball for a season, imagine the economic impact on both the school and the city. Downtown restaurants and boutiques are choked out. Bars get a lot less traffic.
The arena debt issue has been patched for the short term but payments will soon double when the loan principle comes due. Vastly reduced revenues mean vastly increased pressure on the taxpayers.
Get ready to hitch your belt. No matter how you feel about the power swap at UofL, we will all feel its pinch soon enough.
One last thought on the board of trustees. Shouldn’t all of them have some skin in the game?
Lexington Herald Leader sports writer Jerry Tipton did not allow University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari to wriggle out of media questions about the FBI shoe company pay-for-play scandal. When Calipari sidestepped KSR’s Matt Jones inquiring about the loss of Cal’s rivalry with Rick Pitino, Tipton pressed Calipari to reassure Big Blue Nation that UK has nothing to worry about now that NIKE is being investigated.
Instead of denying any involvement, Calipari gave no such assurance to BBN. Coach Cal said that he wouldn’t comment beyond saying that neither the FBI or the NCAA has contacted UK.
It was a golden moment for Coach Cal to “swear on the lives of my children” that he knows nothing of shoe company pay-for-play deals. But he didn’t. Some of his players said there is nothing to worry about but the coach didn’t dispel worries for the fan base. So the question hangs.
Jerry Tipton just checked John Calipari.
"This is a media day, not coach day." pic.twitter.com/R6Pf718dbn
— Clayton Abernathy (@ClaySTV1) October 12, 2017
No denial. Just like Louisville. Except Louisville is already drowning in scandal and the FBi has connected the school to, at the very least, observing a transfer of money from Adidas to parents of at least one recruit.
On the September 29 edition of Outside the Lines on ESPN, I was asked about Rick Pitino‘s phone calls to an indicted Adidas executive and another question about the general mood in Louisville. OTL host Bob Ley was completely taken aback by my revelation that Tom Jurich refused to fire Rick Pitino when asked multiple times by University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel.
Now Pitino’s attorney says they will appear on October 16 to state his case. It could be via video link but whatever the stage, Pitino is out and now just wrestling for severance. Coach P told me two weeks ago that his $44 million buyout was solid but that’s not the case. The school has a strong case to fire him for just cause and give him nothing beyond this final plea.
Tom Jurich will not return to UofL. He is telling friends that there is no way he can go back to work for an administration that has debased him. Jurich will have his pick of some of the best athletics director jobs in America.
The Courier-Journal has informed me that they are preparing a thorough profile piece on Dr. Postel and noted my insights in previous blogs on this site. I have no idea if they will be included but I can say that I do not know Dr. Postel and truly wish him the best if he indeed becomes president.
Governor Matt Bevin told me again yesterday that he does not push board of trustees chairman David Grissom or any other board member to vote yea or nay on any issue. Bevin says it is up to the board to decide the fates of Jurich, Postel, and anyone else considered for top administrative posts at the university.
Growing up on Piper Court in Louisville’s Glenafton subdivision, our next door neighbors were the Sadlos. Henry & Pat had six children (Henry Jr, Cathy, Frank, Susan, Linda, and Jim) and they treated the fourteen Meiners children as additional family members.
Our homes were wide open for each other. We just walked in to find the Sadlo or Meiners we sought. That’s how we rolled in the 60s and 70s.
The above book passage gives great insight into the open heart of Henry Sadlo Sr., a man Muhammad Ali called “the greatest lawyer of all time!”
Ali, just like any Meiners kid, walked into the Sadlo home and checked to see what was cooking on the stove. That’s how loving homes are set up.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin popped by the WHAS Radio studios today. I was expecting him on the phone but he said he was speaking nearby and decided to make it a studio visit.
He stayed for three segments (a total of 45 minutes) as I ran through a litany of topics: the chaos at U of L, whether he controls decisions of its board of trustees, the future for suspended athletics director Tom Jurich, since Jurich raised $300 million and was paid $19m – how is that not a great ROI, snaring Amazon HQ2, coal vs EPA, casino gambling or marijuana to rescue pension collapse, Lil Andy Beshear, and a Twitter question from my son Simon.
I appreciate the governor hanging in for an extended chat.
u 2 dum 2 no u n trubble
Imagine how many FBI agents were monitoring rampant text messaging on the morning of September 26 just as U.S. Attorney Joon Kim was releasing shocking details of shoe company fraud and corruption schemes tied to college basketball.
Guilty thumbs were flying on phone screens as suspected coaches, premium recruits, family members, agents, financial managers, et al. furiously texted vital evidence displaying their guilt, knowledge of, or innocent shock over the announcement.
FBI agents were high-fiving as thousands of solid leads dropped right into their electronic laps. Federal law enforcement don’t need no stinkin’ badges to gather intel on active indictments.
This rancid scheme of shoe pimps and greedy college coaches selling teenage talent is growing exponentially. The snared texts, hotline tips, flip-flopping coaches cutting deals will all be known soon.
I know why the cager bird sings. He’s a shoe pimp. Sing, bird, sing!
Most of the coaches about to be revealed will keep their jobs as college sports goes through a major realignment. Ultimately the NCAA dies. Schools develop a pay-for-play system for athletes who perform on profitable teams.
College golfers, wrestlers, swimmers, volleyball, tennis, and softball athletes will get free education and no more. Marquee moneymaking sports will find a pay scale that is commensurate with both individual talent and team accomplishments.
That must be the hope of the three “student-athletes” who instantly decommitted to the University of Louisville’s 2018 and 2019 classes. Otherwise they risk future fallout as their next coaches are dragged down the same shoe pimp rat hole as UofL.
JURICH AND PITINO ARE LONG GONE
Rick Pitino is obviously out for good and there won’t be another public spectacle. He won’t show on October 16 for what amounts to another perp walk in front of cameras just to pitch an ambiguous defense to deaf ears. A streaming video defense is possible but will translate as weak sauce. Coach P is out of the game for good.
With no severance pay from U of L, Pitino will find work as a TV analyst for NBA programming.
There’s no way to resuscitate Tom Jurich’s career at U of L either. Once the scabs were ripped off from the FBI investigation, Jurich and his pseudo boss David Grissom went into opposing foxholes. No peace treaty is possible because bullheaded men don’t know how to retreat.
Grissom’s favorite quote is “I’m old so I don’t care who I piss off.” The board of trustees chairman was angered by Jurich’s refusal to fire Pitino earlier this year.
Jurich, who raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Louisville, will get a nice UofL severance package and a new high profile athletics director job within a year.
MARKET VALUE PLUNGE
I’ve lost count of how many people have said they will not renew their basketball or football tickets next season. Many say they will simply buy single game tickets when the mood strikes. No reason to invest in season tickets chained to exorbitant seat licenses. Stub Hub and other secondary vendors can scratch the itch when a fan decides to see a game.
Scandal-laden U of L coffers are already empty from fiscal misappropriation, devalued ducats, and very little motivation for alums to continue donating to the foundation. School kids avoid wearing Cardinals gear to dodge playground derision. It’s baaaaaaaad, brother. BAD!
Acting basketball coach David Padgett has a very good team this year and fans want to support them but to what end? Once the NCAA death penalty arrives, all familiarity with players will evaporate. The Cards will be The Great Unknowns.
Add to that a flurry of forthcoming exits by prominent Cardinal coaches in most of the other major sports, then U of L athletics is as detached from the city as Southern Indiana. Yeah, we know it’s there but we aren’t that interested.
But at least David Grissom is getting what he wants…
…the same kind of control that Mr. Potter salivated over in the holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life. Interim President Greg Postel’s lips may be moving but Grissom is the ventriloquist.
This instant downsizing of the University of Louisville’s athletics department is not like the withering-over-decades of GE’s Appliance Park. It’s like a hurricane just wiped out the prominence, prestige, and profitability of our most recognizable point of pride.
A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE: PROJECTIONS FOR 2020
In spite of the best efforts of affable athletics director Vince Tyra, most of the Jurich era coaches are gone, replaced with untested leaders who promise big results in 5 years. Maybe seven. Maybe never.
Think Metro Conference. A few thousand fans stretch out in rows of empty seats while once prominent Louisville teams struggle to beat smallish foes. UofL is constantly invited to be the homecoming opponent for other schools.
An athletics department that once raised hundreds of millions of dollars now hopes to raise hundreds of thousands. It’s all part of the shifting landscape of power. The bigs get bigger. The mediums get smaller.
Chuck Smrt keeps billing schools millions while delivering zero results.
In 2020, University of Miami athletics director Tom Jurich eagerly awaits the arrival of the Hurricanes’ opponent, the Louisville Cardinals football team coached by Jeff Brohm. (Grissom can’t allow Bobby Petrino to survive – he’s a sinner, too!).
Jurich and his new head football coach Charlie Strong, who rarely lost at South Florida, have long awaited this ACC matchup for a revenge beatdown of their old school.
It’s a 55-7 Miami thumping of the overmatched Cards who are teetering on dismissal from the ACC, which by now is scouting Cincinnati and UConn as upgrade replacements for hapless Louisville. And Jurich is the #1 advocate for bouncing Louisville from the ACC for a more competitive member.
The Grissom house cleaning has pulled U of L back to 1963 competitive levels, but with the financial demands of 2020. U of L fan support is half of what it once was while media darling Lou City FC announces stadium expansion in preparation of upgrading to the MSL. The city embraces soccer as Cardinal love continues to wane.
With the loan principle now due, Yum Center mortgage payments just doubled and U of L’s maximum contribution is more than $13 million short of need. All taxpayers, even Kentucky fans still reeling from having Nike shoe pimp John Calipari replaced by Ashley Judd, have to pay the Louisville debt.
Welcome to Possibility City. Very strong possibility, in fact.
In defense of David Grissom, Greg Postel, and Vince Tyra, the University of Louisville is fighting financial battles on multiple fronts. Grissom and Postel must sift through a minefield of administrative malfeasance across campus while staffers keep dispensing education, research, outreach, collegiality, employment, and community prestige.
My projections for 2020 are for athletics only, once considered the gold standard by peers. Mssrs. Grissom, Postel, and Tyra must take what was perceived as a rare sports car and repackage it for fans, donors, and advertisers who are aware that the car has been through a hurricane, tornado, and cliff dive.
It’s still an operating vehicle, just nowhere near its previous value. Vince Tyra is the architect of the rebuilding process with Grissom and Postel as overseers. It’s a long climb back but UofL was knocked back to base camp, not the bottom of the mountain.
The 2013 NCAA championship banner is coming down but that Heisman Trophy is ours forever.
Even O.J. retains that honor.