Accrediting group ignores dysfunction on University of Louisville board

Members of the current University of Louisville Board of Trustees didn’t need to show up for the board meeting scheduled for Thursday morning. Nor for any other meetings in the future for that matter.

The board meeting was cancelled, along with with the finance meeting, and the individuals serving as board members have effectively been removed. The second time in a year they have been relieved, this time for keeps.

Gov. Matt Bevin with Junior Bridgeman, who chaired the new board (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

With urging from Governor Matt Bevin, the Kentucky Legislature has passed legislation effectively abolishing the current board and the one that temporarily replaced it last year. The Governor really had no choice because the squabbling had continued and led to the school being placed on accreditation probation.

The current board was unable to conduct a search for a new President because of a settlement of lawsuit challenging the minority composition. Former Governor Steve Beshear had ignored racial and political guidelines, making the board effectively illegal, creating major conflicts while also ousting former President Jim Ramsey.

State Representative Jerry Miller (R-Louisville), who chaired a hearing on House Bill 12 on new procedures, believes the legislation will get UofL off probation as quickly as possible. In a communication to this constituents, Miller wrote, “the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has never questioned the power of legislatures to act in such matters. SB 12 does the following:

  • Addresses the probation status.
  • A newly established board will be transferred powers, ensuring the University will not go without a board of trustees.
  • The Council on Postsecondary Education’s Nominating Committee will be required to submit 30 nominations, from which Gov. Bevin must appoint 10.
  • Requires Senate confirmation of all appointments to the board, (SACS was surprised KY didn’t require this already), sets terms for members, specifies how to determine proportional minority representation on the boards and provides procedures for vacancies.”

Some faculty and student leaders had suggested that the Governor’s best course of action over time would have been to appoint seven Republican members, including two minority members.

Not an option since the terms of at least three of the more contentious members of the existing board did not expire until 2019 or later. Too many venom between board segments. Communications were strained and no significant action was possible. Similar circumstances over the past three years made the board dysfunctional.

These circumstances have been given short shrift by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), ignoring the rancor that existed, choosing to focus on Governor Bevin, accusing him of removing the board without due process. The reality was that the only options available to Bevin was to let a bad situation continue to fester or to take decisive action on behalf of the University.

By ignoring the reality of the situation and placing the institution on probation, SACS has clumsily embarrassed the University and damaged the school’s reputation.  Further, SACS has exposed itself as an association influenced by political ideology and political posturing.

A real concern is that SACS may have relied more heavily on media coverage in the Courier-Journal than independently investigating the situation or interviewing board members and other affected parties. The organization has ignored the negative impact of the actions of the previous Governor, Steve Beshear, who consistently violated guidelines on board appointments, willfully disrespecting the process and ensuring conflict.

SACS should be fair and accountable to the 22,000-plus students, faculty and staff at the University of Louisville, and the even larger number of alumni, and their families, respecting all that had gone into putting UofL on an unprecedented trajectory. The Governor and the Legislature have taken the appropriate steps on behalf of the University, and those actions should be recognized and respected.

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Louisville hangs on against resurging Pittsburgh

Things were going swell for the University of Louisville basketball team, amassing a 26-point lead over Pittsburgh early in the second half, the Cardinals possibly expecting the Panthers to roll over.

Or maybe it was just taking Kevin Stallings’ team until the 17:16 mark in the second half to figure out how to compete with Louisville. Fortunately, Pittsburgh would run out of clock, UofL hanging for an 85-80 decision before 21,558 fans.

A learning opportunity for the visiting Panthers, which may be better prepared when UofL travels to Pittsburgh for a rematch in less than two weeks on Jan. 24.

Not a big secret about how the Panthers made it a game — just get the ball to Jamel Artis and let him shoot. The 6-foot-7 senior, who had 11 points in the first half, would connect on 11 of 15 shots, including seven 3-pointers and six of eight free throws, for 43 points for the night.

Deng Adel was back after his concussion, scoring 15 points (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

“It was a tale of two halves,” said Coach Rick Pitino afterwards. “We played brilliantly in the first half. But in the second, we constantly got beat on the dribble. Our guys kept backing up and letting them have 3-point shots.”

Pittsburgh would, in fact, make eight 3-pointers in that second half, winding up with 12 for the game.

“Our team this year is fundamentally not very sound,” said Pitino. “We are a rebuilding team. But when I say rebuilding, I mean we have to rebuild this year. I’m very disappointed in how we attacked the 1-3-1 zone. Quentin Snider figured it out at the end and we were able to finish the game.”

Snider would lead the Cardinals in scoring with 22, scoring 11 of them in the second half. Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Ray Spalding would contribute 15, 15 and 11 points, respectively.

The lack of fundamentals hindering UofL on a lot of fronts, including converting turnovers into points, missing numerous close-in shots, and losing focus on defense. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short period of time to improve the basics,” he said. “This is a great group of players to coach, great guys, but needing a lot of work.”

Pittsburgh looking forward to a second chance and even more time to figure UofL out, next time on the Panthers’ home court.

Anas Mahmoud looked good but his shot was off in a four-point effort (Cindy Rice Shelton).
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Walz sends message to starters, UofL women down Pittsburgh

The University of Louisville women’s basketball team defeated a good Pittsburgh team 73-52 Sunday at the KFC Yum! Center using a lot of reserves. Some of their counterparts spending more time than usual watching from the bench.

Mariya Moore with a bandage on her face after taking an elbow from Pitt’s Destinie Gibbs (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Coach Jeff Walz concerned lately about slow starts and a lack of killer instinct, using the game against the Panthers to send a message to some of his starters. Demanding their attention.

No time to waste with the eighth-ranked Cardinals facing fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Thursday. The Seminoles are 15-2 overall, having lost only to UConn by two points and North Carolina State by nine.

Asia Durr seeing only 14 minutes on the floor, all of them in the first half. Stuck on the bench after hitting one of nine field goal attempts for three points. Walz said after the game Durr looked tired and didn’t play in the second half because UofL didn’t need her.

Myisha Hines-Allen 13 minutes in the first half, 19 for the game.  Courtnee Walton 5 minutes in the first half, and a total of 17 minutes. Probably because they were unable to contain Pittsburgh senior Brandi Harvey-Carr from having the best game of her career with 25 points.

Mariya Moore acknowledging that UofL may have had trouble focusing after taking a 34-25 lead at the intermission, allowing Pittsburgh to cut the lead to two points early in the second half. “It was a lack of focus,” she said. “We weren’t all together on the same page and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Moore getting plenty of playing time, making the most of her 30 minutes with 18 points, four rebounds and three steals. She hit six of six free throws for all of her six points in the first half before making good on three of eight 3-point attempts in the second half.

Some freshmen making the most of the extra minutes, including Jazmine Jones, Cierra Johnson and Kylee Shook, with 13, 11 and 7 points, respectively. A good time to grow their games, with Florida State straight ahead.

The crowd of 8,039 at the KFC Yum! Center included V. J. King, Donovan Mitchell and Mangok Mathiang of the mens’ team (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

 

 

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Frigid shooting but Louisville gets past Georgia Tech

The pilots flying the University of Louisville basketball team to Atlanta needed help finding a landing spot, pulling some hometown strings with UPS to pull out of a holding pattern over Atlanta International Airport.

Plans to spend a couple of hours at a hotel prior to going to the arena didn’t work out. And when the team finally arrived at McCamish Arena, the shot clock was being replaced on UofL’s basket.

Not the way any coach wants to start the day of a game, especially Rick Pitino with UofL having lost the first two games in the Atlantic Coast Conference play. Time to turn things around or watch them go out of control.

“We had to get a win,” said Pitino after UofL defeated Georgia Tech 65-50. “So many things went wrong today — the plane, the hotel, we couldn’t warm up, the concussion (incurred by Deng Adel). I just told them I wanted to see the best defense of the year.”

Deng Adel suffered a concussion, taking an accidental knee to his head, with five minutes remaining in the first half. He never returned to the court.

No way of knowing whether Pitino got his wish. This one was difficult to watch, almost laughable at times. The Cardinals making only 23 of 60 field goal attempts. Fortunately Georgia Tech was sinking 17 of 50 shots.

UofL, led by Donovan Mitchell with 20 points, would race to a 16-3 lead, but could make only four of their next 21 shots during the half. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, was hitting only three of its first 15 shots.

Almost entertaining, the lack of offense and the absence of shooting. But a win, and a win on the road under some trying circumstances.

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Louisville women escape Virginia but Jeff Walz awaits

All games don’t need to be this hard, like the University of Louisville women’s basketball team trailing by 13 points at the half, needing a desperate second half rally before outlasting Virginia 86-81 in overtime at Charlottesville.

Myisha Hines-Allen keeps slow-starting UofL within striking distance in the first half.

Coach Jeff Walz not pleased with how his team started the game, apparently requiring him to raise the decibel level in the locker room at the half. After the win, a relieved Walz lamented that some players needed to expend more energy, play with more heart, and invest in the team — rather than just putting in their time.

Although Cardinals have won two of their last three games, they have struggled early, needing to overcome deficits in games against Syracuse, Duke and Virginia. The coach concerned about the slow starts, the lack of intensity, and the cumulative effect of the less than convincing effort.

Obviously not a problem with Myisha Hines-Allen who, with 13 points and six rebounds in the first half, was keeping Louisville in the same gym with Virginia. She would finish the game with a career-high 31 ponts and 17 rebounds before fouling out in overtime with 1:45 remaining in overtime.

Mariya Moore was making 23 points, including four 3-pointers, along with six rebounds and  three assists. Asia Durr was making only two of 11 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, finishing with 16 points and three rebounds.

Transfer Taylor Johnson would hit two key free throws to give UofL a four-point lead with 20 seconds remaining in the overtime. Jazmine Jones would add a couple of more to ice the win with six seconds remaining.

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