There appear to still be quite a few hurt feelings lingering after the breakup of Louisville’s athletic department.
For those that have been living under a rock for the past year, Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich both lost their jobs with the Cardinals following yet another scandal involving the program, this one centered on the coaching staff helping to funnel $100,000 from Adidas to five-star recruit Brian Bowen.
Tom wasn’t the only Jurich to lose his job. Mark Jurich, Tom’s son, was also a higher-up in the athletic department and laid to waste when last October, which leads me to the latest dust-up. According to the terms of Tom’s dismissal, he was set to receive millions of dollars as a buy-out as well as eight tickets for men’s basketball and football games for the ext 20 years.
And it is those tickets that have become a point of contention. When he was AD, Jurich was getting prime seating, right behind the Louisville bench for basketball games and at the 50 yard line for football games. But since the termination agreement didn’t include any language about where his seats are supposed to be, new AD Vince Tyra opted to move the seats to less-optimal locations.
This did not sit well with Mark Jurich, who, of course, fired off a strongly-worded email about it. From the Courier-Journal:
In writing this email, I hope to be clear. It has been my goal to move on – yet you continue to attack my family which gives me no other option than to respond. This email is not about tickets. It is about you and the University dishonoring my father and your blatant disrespect for my family.
If you cannot bear the sight, or rather the optics of Tom Jurich in the YUM! Center or Cardinal Stadium, you are weaker than I thought. If you feel the need to hide my dad in a corner to make yourself feel important or simply comfortable, then so be it — he will do that for you. But you cannot possibly think you can erase him by hiding him in these stadiums. His fingerprints are everywhere. Your coaches still call my dad for advice. Your players still call my dad for insight. Your administration still calls my dad for guidance.
However, this all begs the following questions. Why be so petty? Why not be confident in the leader you think you are, rather than disregard the leader my father has always been? Why not honor him? Why not allow him to keep the seats he has earned after 20 years? These seats aren’t a gift. They were accepted in lieu of a pay raise. You have allowed Jim Ramsey and Kevin Miller (mind you, the athletic dept. accountant and the primary sport administrator for men’s basketball since I was in college) to maintain their seat locations, parking passes and dignity. My father honored Denny Crum with a prominent seat at YUM! for all the great things he did. So why the disparity?
It goes on and on like this.
I’m guessing there isn’t going to be a Louisville Athletic Department reunion party any time soon.