There is so much going on with the University of Louisville right now and everyone has an opinion. All of this is starting to wear on me – especially all the Card on Card crime. In case you forgot, we are all on the same team no matter who our basketball coach, athletic director or president is. We all want what is best for the University and sometimes it’s hard to see what is best. The easy decision isn’t always the best decision. I’m not going to tell you how you should feel about Pitino, Jurich or our future but here is how you should feel.
Rick Pitino is one of the greatest coaches of all time. He is in the Hall Of Fame for a reason. His on the court accomplishments are simply amazing. But the responsibilities of a coach extend well beyond the court. Rick has been a mentor and a father figure to so many student athletes at several different universities. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a former player who would ever say anything negative about him. He has been roaming the Louisville sidelines since 2001 and he brought our basketball program back to relevance.
But his time is over – And it’s nobody’s fault but his own.
First, let’s start with his affair. Most people said that a lot of people cheat and that is between him and his wife. While I agree, that doesn’t make it right. He drug the University through the media in a negative light. I was fine with him not being fired because he was winning and I didn’t think we could find a better coach (my selfishness). I felt that if his wife could forgive him then who am I to judge. However, that public relations hit that the university and it’s fans had to endure during the whole Karen Sypher ordeal, was his first strike and he had no more chances with me.
Then came “strippergate,” or whatever you call it. Rick said he had no knowledge of anything. He may not have known but it should have never happened. No, he can’t be with them 24/7. I get it. But his staff should have enough respect for him to alert him that people/players were putting his beloved University in a situation to have everything that they hold dear to them, taken away. A lot of people said, “all schools do it.” Again, probably true but that doesn’t make it right. Strike two. In my opinion he should have been fired after the NCAA allegations were proven to be true.
Finally we have the Adidas scandal. Rick maintains he had no knowledge of anything. I hope it ends up being true but regardless, another scandal under his watch is enough to warrant his termination. Again, his staff had so little respect for him that less than a month after the NCAA notice of allegations were handed down, one (or two) of his staff members decided to break the rules in a Las Vegas hotel room and then had the nerve to say ”we gotta be very low key.”
I truly hope that Rick Pitino did not have any knowledge of either scandal. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t but it’s possible. I’m not relying on a 2 question lie detector test as my barometer of truthfulness. Sorry, I’m just not.
Regardless, his firing was just and even if it’s proven that he didn’t know, enough is enough. You can’t play the I didn’t know card twice. We need a fresh start. For all you that say I hope he get’s all 44 million, then you are not a fan of the University of Louisville but rather a fan of Rick Pitino. You need to remember that no one person is bigger than the University. All of us together – students, alums, faculty, fans – are the University of Louisville. WE are UofL!
This one is so tough for me. I have been on the fence for a while regarding his future at Louisville. Jurich has done so much for the University. What he has done is second to none but the manner in which some of these things were accomplished are questionable. It’s been noted that Jurich ran athletics like a business instead of the “normal” way athletic directors usually run their programs. It’s that forward thinking that separated him from the rest. But upon further review, he and then president Ramsey, may have gotten too greedy and some of their dealings were not so ethical. I have no problem with the employment of his son or daughter. Mark works hard for his money, and deserves it. But the way they tried to hide his pay was suspect. Other things will be brought to light eventually but I’ve seen enough and would have accepted his fate either way.
I’m just glad that I didn’t have to make the decision.
The Future of UofL
While you may be sad and disagree that Jurich is gone, his legacy and what he started will live on forever. Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium, Jim Patterson Stadium, Lynn Stadium, Thorntons Academic Center and the Yum Center are not going anywhere. Jurich has built a strong enough foundation that we as a University can thrive. It’s just that now, more than ever, we need to come together as one and support our University. We can’t let these actions divide us.
And while every coach at Louisville has spoken in favor of Jurich, most of them won’t leave because this city and University are so great. Again, we need to support them as well. I have faith in us and you should too. Sure we might lose a few but those are the growing pains of starting over and doing things the right way with morals and ethics. If they leave then they didn’t truly love the University of Louisville. Let’em go. I want coaches who want to be here.
I also have the utmost confidence in Vince Tyra. He has long been a supporter of Tom Jurich and knows how Jurich built up the athletic program. Tyra will continue to build on what Jurich started but will do so with integrity. The future is bright with Tyra, we just need to support him and our student athletes. He may need some time to control the collateral damage from the fall out of these scandals, but he will get this ship righted. Have faith – We are in good hands.
Our only obstacle is our Board of Trustees (BOT) or as we call them, Bevin’s Blue friends. They are not in favor of spending adequate money on athletics and we all know that to get the best coaches, you gotta show them the money. The BOT are the ones that can set us back to the days of the Metro conference.
So if you truly want to help the University of Louisville, don’t waste your time rallying for Jurich or Pitino. That ship has sailed. Do what you can to get interim president Postel and chairman Grissom to go away. We need people like Junior Bridgeman and Dr. Larry Benz to lead us.
Just remember the name Louisville stands for something great. And it’s bigger than any of us.
I am, and always will be, a Louisville fan.
As Always, GO CARDS!