UofL Trustees to decide on Jim Ramsey transition

Update: The board meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has called another special meeting for Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., this one specifically to consider Jim Ramsey’s future role at the University.

UofL agendaRamsey, who became UofL President in 2001, offered to resign earlier this month while indicating that he would be willing to serve through the 2016-17 academic year.

The first item on the agenda is “consideration of President’s resignation,” followed immediately by a “discussion of Next Steps, including transition planning and search process for the next President.”

Seems apparent that the Board will accept Ramsey’s resignation. The issue to be resolved is whether he will be allowed to serve as UofL President during a transition period. The discussion may also include his role as President of the UofL Foundation.

Supporters of Ramsey would rightfully believe his accomplishments over the past 15 years at UofL have earned him the courtesy of a transition period. Advocates of an immediate dismissal would argue that an earlier departure would help remove some of the controversy that has dogged the University for several months.

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Bridgeman: No discussions with Ramsey about his future at UofL

The nightmare continues for University of Louisville supporters, with little promise of the drama going away anytime soon.

The newly-appointed UofL Board of Trustees named by Gov. Matt Bevin last month is getting off to a slow start, taking its time to review the proposed budget and the future of President Jim Ramsey.

Junior Bridgeman in no hurry.
Junior Bridgeman in no hurry.

About halfway through a presentation on a $1.3 billion proposal Thursday, Chairman Junior Bridgeman surprisingly stated the the board would not be approving the budget. He indicated that a committee composed of board members would “dive deeper” into the budget before arriving at any conclusions.

Bridgeman also indicated that the Board of Trustees has not had any discussions with Ramsey about his future, though he had offered to resign during the previous meeting. “That’s a major issue, but we have other issues to discuss as well,” he said. “We hope to resolve the matter at our next board meeting.”

Jim Ramsey in no hurry either. (Photo by Cindy Rice Shelton)
Jim Ramsey in no hurry either. (Photo by Cindy Rice Shelton)

The chairman would not disclose how he was leaning, saying it was the board that would make the final decision on Jim Ramsey’s future at UofL.

As for the budget issue, it was unclear whether Bridgeman made the budget decision based on the presentation or whether he was reacting to complaints from a student and her mother who interrupted the meeting several times, protesting a proposed 5% increase in tuition.

Bridgeman was noncommittal after the meeting, indicating that he thought that dialogue with students was healthy. “That’s what a university is about,” he said. “It’s about open discussion, open thinking, the exchange of ideas, debating different ideas. If you’re not happy with something that going on, it provides a forum to address that.”

The chairman was being too kind, ignoring the disruptive nature of the feedback. The criticism appeared premature, the students calling the Bevin appointments illegal while assuming the board had already decided to approve the budget.

He promised students, however, that they would be invited to make comments during the committee meeting on the budget.

UofL supporters can only hope that the current board is allowed to continue to do its work. If a Franklin Court judge issues an injunction, the old members will be back, ensuring continuing chaos well into the future.

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Farewell event set for UofL’s Crawford Gym

For years, Crawford Gym was the site of intense practices and pick-up games featuring Louisville’s best college and professional basketball players. The historic structure, built in 1963,will be coming down in mid-August to make way for a new academic building.

The facility also housed the Cardinal swim teams and served thousands of students who took classes and competed in intramural sports ranging from racquetball to volleyball.

UofL will pay tribute to Crawford Gym with an open house for former players and fans from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4. Activities will include an 11 a.m. event in which Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum and several former players will share memories of their days in Crawford. The open house is free and open to the public.

Fans can also share their memories of Crawford Gym in the comments section at uofl.me/crawfordgym. The university will collect the memories through Aug. 7, at which time the comments will be delivered to the University Archives.

Fans can own a piece of Crawford Gym in one of two ways. The university will sell a limited number of 8 x 10-inch pieces of the Crawford Gym floor for $50 apiece. Go to uoflalumni.org/crawfordgym for more details. Scoreboards, bleachers, goals and other items will be part of an online auction July 26-Aug. 5. The auction site is http://mcginnisauctions.hibid.com/auctions/current.

All proceeds will benefit the Denny Crum Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for 100 Louisville-area students annually.

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Shoni Schimmel not much of a factor for New York Liberty

Shoni Schimmel’s career in the Women’s National Association may be coming to an end … and it won’t be a happy ending for all the people who looked up to her.

Shoni Schimmel.
Shoni Schimmel.

Considered a role model when she played for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, Shoni and her sister Jude attracted hundreds of Native Americans at home and road games. They celebrated when Shoni was picked by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA draft in 2014.

Shoni would get off to a good start in the WNBA, averaging 8.3 points and more than 21 minutes of playing time per game. She was voted to the NBA All-Star team in her first season, going on to earn Most Valuable Player honors while leading the East to a 125-124 overtime win over the West.

Instead of going overseas to play basketball, Shoni elected to go home to the reservation after the season. She returned the next season to Atlanta needing to play herself into shape, starting slowly but finishing the season averaging 7.6 points per game.

Atlanta wasn’t happy with Shoni’s lack of commitment during the off-season, trading her this year to the New York Liberty. Schimmel again was out of shape, needing to recover from her time off on the reservation.

New York Liberty is 17-7 and leading the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. Shoni has not been a factor, however, averaging less than five minutes of playing time in 16 of the team’s 24 games.

Schimmel scored six points on a couple of 3-pointers in an 88-70 loss to the Minnesota Lynx six games ago but has not scored since. She was scoreless in three games and didn’t see the floor in the two other games.

Disappointing that Shoni loses her motivation between seasons, failing to stay in shape. That’s unfortunate for her — and all the young Native American girls who looked up to her.

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Jim Ramsey remains behind President’s desk at UofL

Jim Ramsey continued to preside as President of the University of Louisville following the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees on Wednesday. The new members not sensing any need to make any immediate change.

Jim Ramsey still in charge.
Jim Ramsey still in charge at UofL. (All photos by Cindy Rice Shelton.)

That was disappointing to a couple of people — Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal and Chris Otts of WDRB-TV — who have been beating the media drums for a couple of years in support of recalcitrant members of the old board dismissed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Wolfson and Otts, attempting to make news instead of reporting it, were taken aback that Ramsey was still around following a closed session on personnel. They sought to turn the private session into a violation of the open meetings law, threatening to have a court seek video or notes from the session.

Junior Bridgeman, who was elected Chairman of the Board, wasn’t taking the bait. “You can vilify me tomorrow,” he said. “We discussed a number of things with Dr. Ramsey but we did not agree to anything.”

There apparently was no discussion of Ramsey’s future. Nor did there need to be since board members were already aware of his offer to resign from his position if the board wanted him to leave.

“We felt like we needed to analyze things a little bit more since everybody is new,” said Bridgeman. “He’s willing to do whatever the board wants him to do.”

Gov. Bevin was on hand for the first meeting, thanking the members for serving, describing the board as capable of running any corporation in the country.

“I have already received and accepted his resignation and I think that speaks for itself. And I think the timing of that as he has said, he’s willing to stand down within a day or whatever period of time the board determines,” Bevin said. “I defer to their judgement. They will collectively decide.”

Bridgeman noted that other personnel issues, as well as litigation matters, were discussed during the closed session. Whether the law was violated or not is of little consequence and any repercussions would be minimal.

Just a couple of wimpy reporters, disappointed, wanting to sound tough, not getting their way again. Jim Ramsey heads back to his office continuing to preside over the University of Louisville.

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