Schnatter comments embarrass UofL and Papa John’s

John Schnatter talking nonsense at University of Louisville board meeting.

John Schnatter didn’t do anyone any favors with his off-the-wall statements during the University of Louisville board of trustees’ meeting on Wednesday. Least of all himself and the business he founded.

The usually affable spokesperson for Papa John’s comes off looking like a jerk and sounding like a dolt, casting unfounded aspersions toward the UofL athletic department. He also seems to have a short memory, having been one of the most generous supporters of the stadium that bears his company’s name.

Somehow Schnatter got the notion that the UofL athletic department is being mismanaged, and that the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is an example of bad leadership under Tom Jurich. Nevermind that athletic department is probably the most successful part of the university or that Jurich is widely regarded as one of the most effective athletic directors around. The UofL department is self-sufficient, one of the best-funded in the nation, and more than $45 million has been raised from corporate donors for the $50-plus million stadium expansion.

Yet here’s Schnatter saying, “”Until you fix athletics, you cannot fix this university. You have to fix the athletics first. I have looked at this eight ways to Sunday. You have to fix athletics first, and then the university will get in line.”

There was an issue with the basketball program and it has been addressed by the university, and more punishment will be forthcoming from the NCAA. But other than that, Schnatter’s comments make no sense. This board of trustees should be able to recognize that the athletic department is a shining example of what can happen for the entire university under the right leadership.

One suspects that Schnatter may have been unduly influenced by comments from Interim President Greg Postel during a previous meeting. Postel allegedly told Schnatter that Jurich was “invisible,” not answering to the UofL board of trustees. 

That makes no sense because Tom Jurich has always gone overboard to be open with all segments of the community, including the university. This explains in part why the athletic department has been transformed under his leadership.

Postel’s assertion is typical of university politics, with one segment being envious of a more successful unit. Happens all the time on university campuses. Maybe Postel’s real agenda is to get a piece of some of the money that the athletic program is so good at generating.

Postel, no doubt, did not expect Schnatter to quote him. If there was any possibility of Postel receiving serious consideration for the President’s job, he can forget about that possibility after Wednesday’s board meeting. He can thank John Schnatter for going off the deep end, stripping Postel of his anonymity. 

Schnatter can expect Papa John’s Pizza to take a hit in Louisville, with some fans voicing support for a boycott on local message boards on Thursday. So many choices of pizza, so easy to narrow them down.

Maybe Wednesday was just a bad day for John Schnatter, and in the future, he and Tom Jurich will some day chuckle about the episode. But first Schnatter has a lot of explaining to do. His bizarre comments had nothing to do with reality.

Santana joins the Cards

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From 411mania.com about the upcoming season of Glee: “Santana isn’t in New York, but is instead doing her cheerleading scholarshop at the University of Louisville, and her relationship with Brittany is ‘in a good place.'”

It’s anybody’s guess as to whether the show will include footage from Papa John’s. Glee is a musical TV series airing on the Fox Network.
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Papa John’s Stadium Update

One more week, seven days, less than 150 hours.

University of Louisville spring football practice begins. Under the leadership of Charlie Strong. Meanwhile, here’s the latest look at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium expansion, shots taken Wednesday.

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And here’s an update on suite sales from Sports Business Daily:

A total of 24 of the 33 suites “being added to an expanded Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium have been leased,” and the facility’s 28 existing suites “also are sold out.” The $73M expansion of the football stadium is “expected to be finished in July.” The stadium suites “seat 18 with standing room for eight others,” and they “cost $50,000 a year in a four-year lease agreement.”

Louisville Arena Authority Chair Jim Host said that he “has been ‘totally shocked’ at the level of success experienced by U of L’s sales team,” and he “praised” Louisville AD Tom Jurich and his staff. Cincinnati-based Association of Luxury Suite Directors Chair Bill Dorsey said that he is “unaware of any university in the country currently taking on two large suite sales projects, and he described the pricing of boxes in the Louisville venues as higher than average and ‘aggressive’ in a down economy, particularly for facilities without a professional sports tenant”
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Mindset Shapes Perceptions At Papa John’s

Funny how the perceptions of some fans shape their views because of their disrespect for something or someone, particularly in the case of Steve Kragthorpe and University of Louisville football.

Attendance at the Southern Mississippi game, for example. The observer has seen estimates ranging from a half-empty stadium to one that was only three quarters full. The official attendance was 37,258.

One thinks that some must have made their minds made up before kickoff when those estimates would have been pretty accurate. Five minutes after the game started, it was a far different story, except for the upper reaches of the end zone.

From someone who has been watching Louisville football for decades, the turnout was impressive — considering the negative vibes around the program. The observer will go with the official estimate. For the record, there were some much smaller crowds at some games during the legendary Bobby Petrino era.

Oh, and here’s that photo again:

30-Seconds

[No, the observer is not an apologist for Steve Kragthorpe, and makes no apologies for Louisville football.]