I really hate to be writing this. It seemed like the fans were starting to reunite and heal after the announcement of Kenny Payne and Nolan Smith to lead the basketball team back to an elite level. Couple that with the recruits Coach Satterfield is lining up for the 2023 class and the optimism and positivity were beginning to show and spread. It was starting to be great to be a Cardinal again.
But now, just the mention of the possible return of Tom Jurich has fans stating to divide again. And I totally understand why… Most fans want what is best for the university. There is a portion of the fan base that believes Tom Jurich is best for the university. There is a portion of the fan base that believes Tom Jurich is not best for the university.
Personally, I believe it’s time to move on and let the past be the past. I say we thank Tom for his time here (which I believe we already did with a 4.5 million dollar buyout and $7.17 million in total) and continue to rebuild and progress forward.
I 100% understand why fans want Tom back. He did so many great things to help the university get to where they were in 2013. My favorite thing about Tom was that he wasn’t happy unless there was a crane on campus. He continually wanted to expand, make things bigger and better until they were the best. Then he wanted to go further than the best. I loved having that competitive nature lead out athletic programs.
When I saw Tom, I saw a man that oozed confidence, attitude, and relentless fire and passion for his University. There is no doubt in my mind that he loved the University of Louisville.
However, it also appeared to me that later in his career at UofL, he loved Tom Jurich as much as the University. And that is the point I started to lose favor for Tom. Nobody is bigger than the University no matter what you accomplish.
Besides his new bigger-than-life attitude, there began to be many unfavorable things starting to surface that indicated the beginning of the end for Tom. Some of those thing were made public while other things were either not made public or justified in a manner vague enough for fans to just look the other way as long as the athletic teams were winning.
I’m not going to list all of the things you know happened and chose to ignore or even the things that may or may not of happened, but there are a few things that I have a very hard time just looking past.
First and most importantly, it is NEVER okay to take money from academics to pay for athletics. The University of Louisville is first and foremost an academic institution. You can spin it however you want but in the end, that’s exactly what happened. It was justified by Jurich saying that he handles the athletic program as a business instead of a university and that’s how he does business. While that is not illegal it is definitely immoral and frowned upon. No other university handles their athletics programs in that “business” way because it is unethical and goes against ever fiber a university is built on.
Another thing I have a really hard time with is the non-handling of the women’s lacrosse abuse allegations. Jurich simply dismissed allegations of abuse by six players and numerous letters from parents by pushing it all off on assistant AD, Julie Hermann. Coach Kellie Young was accused of abusive tactics as early as 2012 and wouldn’t be fired until Vince Tyra fired her in November of 2017. This is a culture that can not be tolerated.
I won’t bore you with how he tried to justify his exorbitant salary by saying publicly. “I was worth every penny.” Or the justifying of overpaying his son. Or the real estate deals, or brokering the 2nd Adidas deal without university approval.
Some of those things are to be blamed on former President Ramsey. President Ramsey gave Tom way too much power. Some of that abuse of power benefitted the university and some benefitted Tom Jurich. Either way, morals and good conscious should kick in and it simply didn’t.
That leads me to some of the questions I have for the folks who want him back. If Tom was to be rehired, he would not be given the same power he had the last run as AD. So, do you think he could still accomplish all the things you want him to without those same powers that former President Ramsey granted him?
Another question I have is if he is the best AD in the country like most claim, why isn’t he working anywhere and why don’t we hear about all these universities coming after him? All I hear is that Miami wanted him, but he didn’t want the job. That may or may not be true, but that’s ONE offer since 2017. Seems odd to only have one offer in five years for the best AD in the country. Maybe I’m missing something here.
If Tom really wants to be the next AD at Louisville why hasn’t he publicly said so? All I’ve heard is people saying “He is definitely interested.” If I’m really interested in a job, I probably should formally let the company know I’m interested. Just saying…
In the end, nobody brought in more money from donors than Tom Jurich. He truly has a gift in that area. Right now, that is definitely something the university needs help with.
For me, I will support whoever the university hires as the next athletic director. Including Jurich, if, and only if, he is brought back after the IARP has handed down their penalties. If you read the IARP rules they state that penalties will not be as harsh if all involved are no longer with the university. If Louisville were to bring him back before the penalties are handed down, they run the risk of harsher penalties than if he is not on staff.
I can also say that because I’ve been told by 2 board members that there is absolutely no chance he gets rehired despite several other board members who are all in on Jurich making a return.
So ask yourself, is it worth the risk to bring Jurich back? I say no, but I will respect your opinion if yours is different. I may never take advice from you again, but I’ll respect your opinion. End of the day, all I want is what is best for the University of Louisville and right now, brining Tom back is not it. Let’s move forward, not backwards.
As Always, GO CARDS!