Merry Christmas To All

Switching into full Christmas mode for the next couple of days, time to immerse ourselves totally into the holiday season. 

What a year it has been for the University of Louisville, experiencing the tremendous highs and lowly lows. Just when we thought nothing worse could happen, something did. But the lows are only temporary, with so many good people associated with the University.  

Loyal administrators and staff keeping the school moving forward in the face of unprecedented challenges, academicians and athletes performing at high levels, fans and supporters remaining faithful, continuing to support UofL without fail, propelling the University forward to new plateaus.

Much to be thankful for, knowing the challenges only make us stronger, the issues will be resolved and the university has so much more to achieve .

Thanks for being UofL fans, appreciate your support of Card Game as well. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

The hits keep coming but milestones never stop at University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is under attack on so many fronts that some of us are becoming hardened to the accusations, skeptical of the sources. Some unbelievable accusations have surfaced, and they never seem to go away. 

Any more bad news out there? Cough it up and clear the air. Only three more weeks before 2016 becomes history. What a crappy year in so many ways.

— Jim Ramsey, the former UofL President, accused of administrative irregularities in a state audit of the UofL Foundation. That would be the same Jim Ramsey who is credited for the unprecedented growth of the University over the past decade. 

— The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placing UofL’s accreditation on probation for a year for actions taken by Governor Bevin in attempting to replace the current members of the Board of Trustees. Why the organization would threaten the school’s accreditation for any reason other than academic reasons defies any logic. No surprise, however, given the ideology of members governing the Southern Association.

— Governor Bevin, ignoring the Southern Association’s action, indicating that he will attempt to change state law during the 2017 legislation session to justify his action. A dangerous precedent if he is successful, allowing future Governors to replace board members at will, possibly putting the University’s very existence at risk in a state where little love is lost on UofL.

Few people in America more noble or better positioned than sportswriters to address sins and shortcomings.

— The never-ending probe of the UofL basketball program following revelations that former player and assistant coach had been sponsoring stripper parties and sexual favors for players. Once a program is accused, the NCAA’s review process drags on forever, with no consistency in how cases are handled and punishments are administered.

— The latest embarrassment, the admission of a Wake Forest radio football analyst that he had provided game plan information to opposing teams, including UofL. Louisville, unfortunately, was where information was uncovered exposing the individual, exposing UofL to criticism from the talking heads and saintly sports columnists like Tim Sullivan.

The lowest of low points, being lectured by the scribes. Few people in America more noble or better positioned than sportswriters to address sins and shortcomings. Who’s to question their qualifications? A terrible profession when success is often defined by how many people hate you.

Quite a tumble from the glory years, particular from the Year of the Cardinal in 2013 when the University of Louisville could do no wrong. Distant memories for now.

The Lamar Jackson success story, the first UofL football player to ever win the Heisman Award, providing a brief reprieve from the torrent of bad news. But also serving as a reminder that many great things will continue to happen at UofL.

Overcoming hard times is part of being an advocate for the University of Louisville. Fans and supporters of UofL have had to weather more than their share of adversity over the decades.

They’ve grown accustomed to being targeted by neighboring fans, by a local newspaper that claims to be a state newspaper at the expense of the local school, and by the growing pains that occur when a school is ambitious. Predictably the University of Louisville always gets stronger and better, achieving unprecedented milestones while eyeing even more challenging goals.

Always been that way. It will never change. 

Some generous givers, a few not so much, on UofL Board of Trustees

Anyone who thought the drama was over with the University of Louisville board of trustees got a rude awakening from Governor Matt Bevin the other day. He is more adamant than ever that current board will be replaced.

“They will be gone soon enough,” the Governor told Terry Meiners on WHAS Radio. “The governance of that university deserves people that are focused on the university and not their own agendas.”

Voters handed full control of both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly to the Republican Party. He says he wants people “who aren’t doing this (serving on the UofL board) for anything other than the right reasons.”

One way of assessing the level of trustee commitment to the University is by examining their financial support. Because the motives of some members has been questioned, UofLCardGame submitted an open records request to the University for the lifetime contributions. 

While some might argue that making public the private donations of individuals to educational institutions should be out of bounds, we believe it is important to follow the money in this case.

There is a wide variance in trustee giving from top to bottom. Some members giving more to athletics than academics, and vice versa. Some giving millions of dollars, and a few notable members nowhere close to being overly generous, given their financial resources. 

Bruce Henderson captures top donor honors for the current UofL Board of Trustees.
Bruce Henderson captures top donor honors for the current UofL Board of Trustees.

Bruce Henderson, owner of Henderson Electric, is the leading contributor, having donated in excess of $1.4 million to UofL, the bulk of it, $1.3 million, for academics and another $126,550 for athletics.

Jonathan Blue, chairman of Blue Equity, comes in second, with total contributions of $1.398 million.  His contributions are weighted in favor of athletics, more than $1.36 million for sports, and $29.4 thousand for academics.

Bob Hughes, immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a Murray physician, is the third leading contributor, having given $1.37 million to academics, most of it derived from the contribution of his 7,700-square-foot house in Murray to UofL.

Current Trustee Chairman Larry Benz, who is chief executive of Confluent Health, has contributed $787 thousand to athletics and $26.6 thousand to academics, adding up to a grand total of $813,683 in lifetime gifts.

Brucie Moore, a board member who also chairs the UofL Foundation, has contributed $231,669, with most of it, $154.1 thousand, going to academics and $77,500 to athletics.

Near the bottom of the list of UofL contributors are some frequent critics of former UofL President Jim Ramsey who have also argued that the UofL Foundation should be placed under the auspices of the Board of Trustees.

Craig Greenberg near the bottom when it comes to financial gifts to UofL.
Craig Greenberg near the bottom when it comes to financial gifts to UofL.

Craig Greenberg, an attorney and chief executive of 21C hotels, had donated only $4,363 to the University through Oct. 4 of this year. Campbell, an advisor at Lazard Freres & Co., had given $2,760. Both contributed only to UofL academic programs.

“Their contributions to the school don’t match the noise they’ve made over the past couple of years,” said one board member.

Emily Bingham, who has sided with Greenberg and Campbell on numerous issues, has donated more than $79 thousand to UofL, all of it for academic purposes. 

Interestingly, Larry Hayes, former chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority and administrator under former Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson, has donated a total of $197,360, including almost $180,000 for athletics.

Note: Numbers are current as of Oct. 4, 2016.

Rick Pitino under fire for trusting assistant too much

“Furtively” was the word that kept coming up during the University of Louisville press conference on the NCAA Notice of Allegations against the UofL basketball program.  Specifically in regard to Andre McGee, former player and assistant.

Rick Pitino a stickler for NCAA compliance (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Rick Pitino a stickler for NCAA compliance (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

McGee is accused of secretly arranging for strip shows and sexual favors for as many as 17 basketball players, including recruits and active players. Surreptitiously in the early morning hours at Minardi Hall, without the permission or knowledge of coaches.

Disappointing his tutor, taking advantage of a casual college dormitory atmosphere to throw sex parties. Betraying the trust, taking the program to unprecedented depths, partying all the while.

Those were the kinds of images that loomed heavy over the press conference with Acting President Neville Pinto, Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich, and Coach Rick Pitino responding to the allegations in front of a packed room of journalists.

Some of them apparently eager to make the administrators pay for the sins of the perpetrator. The people in charge, those seeking to provide the opportunity and leadership, winding up bearing the shame of irresponsible behavior.

Pitino, in particular, facing a Level 1 allegation of failing to monitor the activities of Andre McGee. A very serious charge that could result in a show cause and personal penalties against the head coach.

“For the past 30 years, I have been extremely compliant with NCAA rules because I don’t believe in an unfair advantage,” said Pitino, in response to a question from WAVE-3’s Eric Flack about whether the investigation has tarnished his reputation.

“I have never asked a shoe company to help me out with a player — just the opposite. It’s my personal opinion that this is over, but that’s not for me to say. It’s for the NCAA Committee on Infractions to decide, the judge and jury. We will present our case.

“I believe in my players, I believe in my coaches, many of whom have gone on to successful careers, and I believe in this university … We’re dealing with a very difficult thing right now that will be in our rear view mirror very soon because we’ve been transparent, we tell the truth and by telling the truth, your problems become part of your past.”

Really unfortunate that an individual who has been so dedicated to compliance with NCAA rules is compelled to defend his reputation because of the actions of one individual. An individual that he believed in, invested in, wanted to succeed and have a great life — only to be let down in the end.

Pitino trusted McGee too much and they are both paying a price.

 

Bob Hughes submits resignation to UofL Foundation

Bob Hughes has submitted his resignation from the Board of Directors of the University of Louisville Foundation, expressing sadness and disappointment in ongoing attacks on individuals who made unprecedented progress possible at the University.

UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.
UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.

Hughes, a  physician from Murray, served as Chairman of the Foundation for 18 months. He was a supporter of Jim Ramsey, former President of both the University of Louisville and the UofL Foundation —  as well as Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff.

“Over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult for me to watch this work being attacked and halted to the detriment of the University and the individuals who worked so hard to make it happen,” he wrote in his letter of resignation to Foundation Chairman Brucie Moore.

“I have seen many loyal donors attacked publicly and privately for their support of a remarkable team that brought so many successes to the University of Louisville.”

Hughes, former Chairman of UofL Board of Trustees, said he will continue to serve on the UofL Board through his term that expires on June 30, 2017. “I have served on the board for 12 years and haven’t missed a meeting,” he said. “I think I bring some historical perspective that I believe will be valuable as we move forward.”

Hughes admits he has some concerns about the Presidential search process, which he believes is on hold until the issues raised by a Justice Resource Center lawsuit are settled. That can only be resolved with two or three more minority appointments from Governor Matt Bevin.

“Even more concerning is the involvement of some members of the Board of Trustees,” he told CardGame. “We could have a major challenge finding a new President or getting someone to take the job. You’ve got some members of the board wanting to micromanage the University. That’s not your job as a board member, that’s why you hire administrators.”

Hughes, however, remains committed to UofL’s success, wishing the current leadership “the very best of results for the good of the University … so the school can return to the upward trajectory that has taken it to unprecedented heights.”