Jim Ramsey still wants to help University of Louisville achieve research mission

Submitting his resignation as President of the University of Louisville had to be the hardest thing Jim Ramsey has ever done, considering the phenomenal growth that occurred at UofL during his 14 years at the helm.

The Louisville native told this observer that he wants to continue to work with individuals and community organizations which share his aspirations for the University, wanting very much to see UofL’s trajectory continue spiraling upwards.

Jim Ramsey sharpens focus on development at UofL Foundation.
Jim Ramsey sharpens focus on development at UofL Foundation.

He’s confident UofL is in good hands with Neville Pinto filling the vacuum as Acting President. “Dr. Pinto is a strong, proven academic leader, and did an exceptional job as the Dean of Speed School and as the Acting Provost,” he said.

Ramsey said he will miss the day-to-day interaction with UofL students, staff and faculty, but wants to continue supporting the University in meaningful ways. He hopes that by continuing as President of the University of Louisville Foundation, he can contribute to UofL achieving its mission as a premier metropolitan research university.

Continue reading “Jim Ramsey still wants to help University of Louisville achieve research mission”

Gov. Bevin needs to clean up after Beshear at UofL

Governor Matt Bevin
Governor Matt Bevin

The University of Louisville community is waiting, Matt Bevin. You need to act … and act soon.

Time for the current Governor of Kentucky to end the stalemate that has been become the UofL Board of Trustees (BOT). Time to undo another mess created by your predecessor Steve Beshear.

Time to shake up the status quo, separate the well-intended from the ill-intended, time to replace suspected vengeful trustees with individuals who are unquestionably committed to the University’s success.

The most recent drama occurring Thursday when three members of the Finance Committee blocked a vote on the University budget. The increase is consistent with the 5% tuition increases at all state universities. If these concerns had been legitimate, they wouldn’t be bringing them up at the last minute.

Time for you to go ahead and appoint new minority members to the board to bring the BOT in compliance, hopefully replacing the last three individuals appointed by Beshear — Larry Benz (current chairman), Paul Diaz and Larry Hayes — as part of the former Governor’s effort to weaken the arrangement between the University and the UofL Foundation.

And while you’re at it, you may want to invite at least three other members — Craig Greenberg, Steve Campbell and Emily Bingham — to pursue other interests as well. Their only interest at present appears to be dumping the most successful administrator in the University’s history.

What Beshear’s most recent appointments also seem to have in common is relationships with former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson and a shared desire to micromanage the future of the University. They’re aided by bootlicking scribes at the Courier-Journal and WDRB who apparently only see one side of any issue. Research? History? Objectivity? What’s that?

Jim Ramsey’s No. 1 priority is UofL’s well-being, making phenomenal improvements in academics, physical facilities, athletics and endowment since he became President in 2001. If at times he seems to shortcut the bureaucracy, it is because he is results-oriented, highly effective in making positive things happen.

The in-fighting on the Board of Trustees is not good for the University, potentially impacting every student, employee and faculty member, as well as the entire community. The future of the University hangs in the balance, affecting every department and aspect of the institution. And the negative impact extends far beyond Louisville Metro’s borders.

Decisive action is needed, Matt Bevin. The sooner the better.

Ramsey likes his University of Louisville contract

Dr. Jim Ramsey

Some of the individuals intent on writing off Jim Ramsey’s future as President of the University of Louisville are going to have to revise their scripts, possibly rearrange their agendas, go back to the drawing board.

Ramsey says he’s planning on honoring his contract through the year 2020.

Ramsey, seen above at the UofL-Virginia women’s basketball game Thursday night, told reporters earlier in the day, “I’ve got a contract until 2020. And right now, while I’ve been thinking about retirement, I’m 67, I’m planning on staying at this time to finish my contract.”

As for a possibility of him rescinding the self-imposed ban on post-season basketball, there is absolutely no way that’s going to happen.

No one ever accused Ramsey of running away from a fight.

Jim Ramsey tackles toughies head on at University of Louisville

Predictably Jim Ramsey is in the crosshairs of some angry University of Louisville fans for inflicting a self-imposed post-season ban on the basketball program. Some calling for him to be fired, believing his actions were premature and overreactive.

As good as Ramsey has been for the University, the man has earned the right to be respected for seeking to resolve a very difficult situation. The healing had to begin at some point, the sooner the better.

Jim Ramsey
Jim Ramsey

The full results of the investigation won’t be known for several months. Ramsey is the person charged with the school’s overall well-being. As the chief executive, he is expected to make the hard decisions. Having seen the facts, he had no choice but to follow through on his instincts. That’s what leaders are expected to do.

The athletic program has been a great source of pride for Ramsey, as has the school’s impressive academic and facilities growth in his 13-year tenure, in which the endowment surpassed $1 billion for the first time.  He is a hands-on leader, loving the work, treasuring the University, taking it to new heights. He has always been highly visible across campus and at athletic events.

He may made a few mistakes, and others have made mistakes that reflect upon his leadership. But that comes with the job. Fortunately, he has some thick skin, able to absorb criticism while still enabling the University to achieve one milestone after another.

The decision to self-impose a ban on post-season tournament had to be extremely difficult for him. But there should be little doubt that he is doing what he believes is best for the long-term future of the University. That is his job, after all, and he’s done it well. Rushing to judgement to condemn Jim Ramsey when he’s the person best informed of what actually happened in the basketball controversy is foolish.

Whether or not he decides to stick around with all the chaos that will occur over the next few weeks and months, Ramsey has embraced his leadership role in ways never before imagined by the community. He has set the standard for leadership at UofL that his successors can only hope to emulate.

No rush to decide Pitino’s future

No surprise there have been no discussions within the University of Louisville administration about the possibilities of Rick Pitino being fired or asked to resign. It is far too early to be drawing any conclusions about the coach’s future.

UofL President James Ramsey was questioned briefly by local media between meetings on Belknap Campus on Wednesday, some apparently having rushed to a conclusion that Pitino future is in jeopardy. The issue makes for some bold headlines in newspapers and dramatic teasers for TV and radio news. No surprise that some might be jumping the gun, getting ahead of the probe.

Jim Ramsey will wait results of investigation.
Jim Ramsey will wait results of investigation.

The investigation is less than two weeks old and only a few current and former basketball players have been interviewed by the university’s private investigator, the campus police and the NCAA.  Or for that matter the attorney representing Andre McGee, accused of setting up stripper parties and prostitution for players and recruits.

Ramsey reiterated that the university is investigating and invited the NCAA to be a part of the process. He said he had not watched the ESPN report from Tuesday indicating that five players had confirmed strip parties occurred, including one who said he had a sexual encounter with a prostitute. Ramsey also indicated he has not discussed Rick Pitino’s future with anyone.

Which is as it should be. The ESPN report held some shock value but it was just that — a television production with personalities posing questions to players. A typical example of so-called “investigative reporting” from a media source. Not real investigators but they do play them on TV. ESPN’s staff largely consists of former jocks and coaches, no better qualified than the rest of us. Give them enough time and they may uncover some facts but TV investigations are rarely very thorough. Or very objective for that matter.

The investigation has only just begun by the organizations charged with uncovering the facts. There’s a lot of sorting out of the “he said, she said” yet to be done, tying the stories to eye-witness accounts and actual evidence.

As for Pitino’s role, how much he and his subordinates knew or didn’t know, and what he and subordinates did or didn’t do, these things will come out during an intense and extensive investigation by professionals in criminal justice. Whether he should have known or whether he ignored that part of his responsibilities should be more apparent when all aspects of the case are examined. That’s going to take time and lots of it.

Whether Pitino should stay or go are logical questions, but it is far too early in the process for any answers.