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.