Jurich wants to expand PJCS but not without due diligence

Tom Jurich said for the first time publicly Tuesday that he’s in favor of expanding Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. But he also indicated more study is needed before the University makes a final decision on upgrading the stadium.

“We’re looking at it very hard. It’s something we want to do,” said the Vice President of Athletics of the University of Louisville during a meeting of the Central Cardinal Club at PJCS. “I’m not saying we’re going ahead with it because there’s a lot we have to do behind the scenes. If we do expand, we want to make sure it’s not just a bunch of extra seats.”Papa_John's_Cardinal_Stadium_after_expansion_in_2010

Jurich said he recently took a tour of Cowboys Stadium in Dallas with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family. “They do things right there, and we got a lot of good ideas out of that,” he said. “I’m very proud of our stadium but before we do anything I want to ensure that whatever we do is first class. The wow factor is always a part of my vocabulary.

“We’re moving toward our goal and our goal is to build it but first we’ve got make sure there are no obstacles and that everybody is on board.”

He also announced that the 2019 home game against Notre Dame would be the season opener on Labor Day, a Monday game that will be nationally televised.

For almost an hour, Jurich answered dozens of questions, encouraging fans to ask about any aspect of the athletic program. Jurich gave the impression he wasn’t going to leave the podium until fans had no more questions. The following are his responses to some of the issues:

Paying or providing stipends to college athletes?

“My stance on that will never change. I’m not in favor of paying athletes. I think they get a heck of a deal, much more than you put a dollar figure on, the connections they make, the comradery, the networking, the tutoring they get. I think 99% of the athletes are appreciative of what they get. But you’ve got a lot of outside influences pushing these kids, and it sounds better coming from an 18- or 19-year-old kid than from a 45-year-old attorney. If they do wind up paying athletes, they have to pay them all.”

The PJCS party deck and empty seats?

“Fans have changed. You’re not going to tell 17- to 22-year-old college students to stay in their seats for four hours.”

Improving wireless access in PJCS?

“We’re planning on installing a DAS (distributed antenna system) system. That should enable people to do anything they want on a cell phone inside the stadium.”

One and done system for basketball?

“Some people have done well with it but I like the way we’re doing. It works for UK but what we do works for us. There’s nothing Rick Pitino enjoys more than seeing his kids graduate, watching them grow.”

Swimming program potential and facility?

“Arthur Albiero has done a great job with this program. The men’s program is currently seventh nationally … We’d love for the facilities to be bigger but they are adequate. When you have some success, fans want to come and it becomes a hotter ticket ”

Stronger signal for UofL baseball radio broadcasts?

“We’re working on that and making some progress.”

 Future of the silo site?  

(Smiling) “We’d like to have the Yum! Center there. If we could pick it up and move it. It would have been the perfect place for the arena … If they want to kick us out downtown, we have the perfect place for an arena.  Right now, we have no plans for the site. We’ll go along with whatever the university wants to do.”

Financials of the KFC Yum! Center?

The financials are fine. We’re taking some heat from some people but UofL is keeping the lights on there.

Adding another sport?

“I just don’t see the need for another sport right now. We’re doing well with Title IX and it’s important that we stay balanced. We don’t see any need to expand beyond the 23 sports we have now and risk diluting any of them.”

The UofL golf course?

“We’ve invested in it already and want to make some more improvements so that it’s state of the art. Our goal is to make it the best facility in Louisville next to Valhalla. We want to have a lot of social activities and make the venue available to everybody. The golf is for league play and the members.”

ACC TV Network?

“It’s in discussion … Everybody wants to make sure it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Dog Days Arrive For Louisville Fans

Forever until September.

July only now arriving, still only one-third of the way through a record hot summer. Dog days. Boring. Not much happening in University of Louisville athletics.

Wrong.

  • Over at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, seats are still being installed at a record slow pace, at least four or five chair backs at day. Advertising panels are being added to the video scoreboard. Workers are putting finishing touches on the luxury suites, with interior decorators breathing down their necks.
  • Football players doing individual workouts. Charlie Strong awaiting test scores.  Attracting four-to-five-star transfers at a record clip.
  • At the new KFC Yum! Center, the video scoreboard is up, as well as ancillary units. Massive heating and air conditioning system nearing completion. Exterior glass being sealed. Marble flooring going down in the spacious lobby. Plush red seats being added, getting snatched up by corporations and fans as fast as they can be installed.
  • On campus, players working out, following through on individual instruction. Rick Pitino hiring new assistants, awaiting test scores and securing transfers. Meeting himself coming and going to the airport attending summer shoe camps.
  • At Jim Patterson Stadium, baseball coach Dan McDonnell is conducting youth camps, padding his salary. But he’s also keeping a wary eye on the Aug. 15th signing deadline, hoping most of the seven underclassmen and two high school recruits picked during the Major League draft are enrolled next semester.
  • Women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz is salivating over the prospects of a top five recruiting class, hoping  the chemistry is as good as the player rankings. Trying to forget all the injuries, knowing it could never be as bad as last season.
  • Tom Jurich is still breathing a sigh of relief that the Big East was untouched during the latest round of conference expansion. But he’s not waiting for the phone to ring either. Not Tom Jurich.

No sitting around for some during the dog days.

Update: Louisville Football Stadium Expansion


Those steps just keep getting steeper.

But, hey, a labor of love for a University of Louisville football fan, tracking the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium upgrade. Expanding to 57,000 seats. A few short months ago, only 42,000 of them.

  • Speaking of seats, approximately 92% of all the new chair backs have been installed. But at the rate the seats are being added, it could be down to the wire the week of Sept. 4th.
  • The first pieces of the video scoreboard will be going into the iron framework on Wednesday. The process of completing the video board will take at least three weeks, according to Ken Ackermann, who’s overseeing the installation for Derby City Sign & Electric.
  • The advertising ribbons have been installed on both sides of the stadium — the east side between the luxury boxes and the upper level seats, the west on the walls where the honored jerseys were displayed.
  • A new 600-car parking lot is nearing completion on the east side, across Floyd Street adjacent to the Louisville Sports Report building.
  • And Charlie Strong is showing off the enhanced facilities to some recruits. Big guys.

Enjoy the slideshow and video:

Update: Papa John’s Stadium Expansion

Construction crews at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are taking their sweet time with the easiest part of the expansion, installing the rest of the chair backs. So we won’t depress you with images of how few new seats have been added in the past couple of weeks. However, they have made progress on the terrace and the installation of the new video scoreboard. (Click on images for larger views).