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.”
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.”