By now, you’ve probably heard about the rant about athletics that board member John Schnatter spewed during the University of Louisville Board meeting this week. If not, I’ll provide a brief summary of the complaints from the pizza entrepreneur against Louisville AD Tom Jurich.
Simply put, Papa John stated his concerns over the lack of leadership within the athletic department, calling the leadership “invisible”, and saying the university’s problems will not be solved until there is a “handle on athletics”. First things first, to say the university’s problems stem from the athletic department is outrageous. John wasn’t referencing the NCAA investigation, he simply challenged Jurich’s ability to successfully lead the department in which he, Jurich, has brought to fruition since his arrival.
The problem here is obvious. The leadership within Louisville’s athletic department is in no way “invisible” or lacking. As a matter of fact, the leadership exhibited by Jurich has appropriately dubbed Jurich has the nation’s No. 1 AD. Jurich was instrumental in reviving the football program and bringing it to the brink of being a potential national powerhouse. Also, he is the man to thank for the basketball program being at the top of the ranks for most profitable program for multiple consecutive years. The baseball program has grown and spent the majority of the past 10 years at the top of the rankings and has placed multiple players in the MLB. Women’s basketball has had increased success and is a consistent tournament team with one of the biggest upsets in NCAA women’s tournament history over Brittney Griner’s Baylor Bears.
Take a step back from just a specific athletic standpoint and look at the move to the ACC. The ACC is not only one of the best athletic conferences in the nation, but it’s also widely known as one of the best academic conferences in Division I. Jurich is the man to thank for the move that not only increased the athletics of the university, but also increased the university’s net worth as a whole by making a move to a far superior conference in all aspects. Had the university not been accepted into the ACC, the athletic program would’ve taken a major hit by being stuck in the purgatory that is the AAC, the university’s academics would not be considered as up and coming, and the expansion the campus is seeing would it be happening. For all that, we have one man to thank, Tom Jurich.
So, as far as Papa John’s freezing cold takes go, they couldn’t be more wrong. We should all be bragging on our AD for doing more than just improving the athletic department, by going above and beyond his job requirements, Jurich has turned the University of Louisville into a money-making machine in all aspects. Papa John, I implore you to think before you spout off nonsense. We all know your company’s slogan isn’t accurate (Domino’s and Pizza Hut are better), and yes your name may be a part of the football stadium, but it is in NO WAY “your stadium” as you said during your rant this week. Jurich should be heralded, thanked, and have a statue of himself next to Johnny U (just kidding, kinda..). Let Jurich continue the outstanding job he’s done since the day he joined the University of Louisville, and Papa, work on those “better ingredients” before you tell someone else how to do their job.