Money trail for UofL Trustees: one-sided support for one school

Follow the money, they said. So we did.

Any concerns of University of Louisville supporters about possible relationships between some UofL Trustees and the University of Kentucky appear to be misplaced.  The financial ties are minimal at best based on actual giving patterns.

Lifetime contributions to UofL from the trustees dwarf the giving to UK, with Louisville institution receiving a total of $30.5 million in overall financial gifts as compared to $1.6 million to the Lexington school. That’s according to the responses of UofL and UK to open records requests from Card Game.

A request was submitted to the University of Kentucky Alumni Department and Office of Philanthropy following our recent publication of a list of trustee donations to UofL that prompted some concern about possible UK bias on the board. The UofL records were through August, the UK results were through last week. Here are the results (click on the list to enlarge).

Gifts to the athletics programs from the trustees included $19.2 million to UofL and $72,660 to Kentucky. The bulk of contributions to UofL athletics was from John Schnatter for naming rights to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Four other trustees have given a total of $82,000 to UofL athletics, including David Grissom, James Rogers, Sandra Frazier and Ronald Wright.

Only two UofL trustees have contributed to UK athletics, including donations of $64,150 from Schnatter and $8,510 from Brian Cromer.

UofL also receives a much higher percentage of trustee giving to the universities, with Louisville getting $11.2 million from 11 members, compared to Kentucky receiving $1.55 million from four members of the UofL board.

Academic gifts to UofL included $5.7 million from Schnatter, $5.3 million from Frazier, $108,047 from Grissom, $25,650 from Dianne Medley, and $4,748 from Enid Trucious-Hayes. Gifts of $700 or less have come from William Armstrong, Raymond Burse, Vishnu Tirumula, James Rogers and Cromer.

Brian Cromer, a UK grad who voted against firing Tom Jurich as Athletic Director, is the only UofL Trustee who has given more to UK than Louisville.

— Cromer, a UK grad, voted against firing Tom Jurich at the Oct. 10 meeting of the UofL Board. As stated above, he has given $8,510 to UK athletics but none to UofL athletics. He has given $285 to UK for academics and $75 to UofL for academics.

— William Armstrong, another UK graduate, has given $640 to UofL, all of it for academics, while giving nothing to Kentucky. Bonita Black, the third UK grad on the board, has not made any contributions to either university.

— James Roger, the UofL product who made the motion to fire Jurich, has given $50,350 to UofL athletics and $100 to academics.

— Nitin Sahney, the University of Punjab, India graduate, also has not contributed any money to either school.

— The list of Schnatter contributions to UK academics includes $5,000 to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. All of his gifts come under the auspices of the Schnatter Family Foundation.

— Of Grissom’s $350 in gifts to UK academics, a total of $250 was to the Sanders-Brown Center for Aging.

If following the money is the key to discerning the motives of the trustees, they are obviously more prone to supporting UofL than UK — at least among those who are making actual contributions. If the theory is true, the collective loyalty of the members heavily leans in the direction of UofL.

There is, however, a significant disparity between the top five givers and the rest of the board, with several members seemingly needing to loosen the grips on their purse strings. Board membership should include a strong commitment to supporting UofL’s financial well-being. That would eliminate any questions about loyalties.

Neutral Zone combines UofL and UK stores

Quite the surprise, pulling into the parking lot in front of the Neutral Zone’s University of Louisville store on Blankenbaker Parkway. The doors are locked, the merchandise is gone and the store fixtures for sale.

Whoa. Not good news for UofL fans, who had almost taken for granted the luxury of having a Cardinal-dedicated store for about 15 years. Some can remember the bad old days when it was a challenge to find a decent UofL shirt at the old Bacon’s.

Apparently the hefty prices and the lulls between championship seasons have finally caught up with the Neutral Zone. That and all the competition from newer retail sources, including Cardinal Authentic, J.D. Becker, Fanwear, as well as GoCards.com.

IMG_2341So many places for Louisville fans to shop these day.

The company allowed the lease to expire on its 10,000-square-foot store and has moved all of its UofL merchandise to a store formerly devoted to University of Kentucky goods in the same shopping center.

The future of the former Kentucky-only store, which is now split between UofL and UK goods, is of short duration. An individual at the cash register explained that the lease on the UofL store expired first and that the Neutral Zone will leave the shopping center when the former UK store lease is up. He said they plan to locate elsewhere in Middletown.

All merchandise at the store has been discounted to 50% off and has been since May.

Happy Easter, and Kentucky is done

A beautiful Easter Sunday.

What a weekend in Louisville with the enormous fire at Appliance Park and all the flooding, the road closures and other damage throughout the community. It almost hit home Friday, Barbara shrieking from the basement about “flooding.”I had just tested the carpet with my feet a few minutes earlier and found nothing. Oh, no, as I go running down the steps.

Turns out to be a broken CVC connection, located above the sump pump, leading ground water into the basement on a non-carpeted area. Thankfully a slow trickle, the water emptying outside the sump pump basin. Quick trip to Lowe’s for a new elbow and some plumber’s putty, and the water is going back to the sump pump.

The area is completely dry a few hours later. Some do-it-yourself projects are actually easier than others. But there was still another concern.

The biggest sigh of relief would come the next day at around 11 p.m. after Wisconsin has eliminated Kentucky in the NCAA basketball tournament, immediately squelching all talk about pursuing perfection and a ninth national championship.

The UK fans were subdued, almost difficult to find in church Sunday morning. No UK flags on cars in the parking lot. The only trace of UK apparel to be found on a youngster about 7 years old. The guy sitting next to us wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt, enjoying new levels of popularity with University of Louisville fans in the congregation.

No smug looks, or mentions of perfect seasons. Happy Easter weekend, indeed.

Denny Crum, Joe Hall want to continue radio show

A decade ago, the Joe B and Denny Show on WKRD Radio was a big hit with local sports fans, providing an opportunity for them to hear debate on issues. That, of course, was before ESPN-680 and a couple of other radio stations wised up to the ratings value.

Now University of Louisville fans can catch up on their favorite athletic program on different stations throughout the day. UK fans as well.

Denny Crum and Joe Hall
Denny Crum and Joe Hall

Twitter was abuzz Thursday evening with reports that the Joe B and Denny Show was coming to an end. Those reports may have been premature.

Joe Hall, the former University of Kentucky basketball coach, and Denny Crum, his counterpart at UofL, have been doing the show for 10 years. Hall broadcasting from WVLK in Lexington, and Crume behind the microphone at WKRD in Louisville. While their primary focus is on the state’s two leading programs, they also discussed a lot of other issues, and spend a lot of time talking about hunting and fishing. On Friday, they were discussing the deer and bear populations in Kentucky.

WKRD employees received an email from station management Thursday that the show would end next week because WVLK is changing formats and was terminating its arrangement with the coaches.

Kelly Carls, the controversial program manager for Clear Channel stations in Louisville, told the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach that he wanted to continue the relationship. “We’ve got a 10-year relationship with the coaches now and loved every minute of it,” Carls said. “So it’s basically up to them how long they want to do the show.”

The coaches have said they want to continue the show, which is also broadcast on other stations in the state, including WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green. Lexington has two other AM stations and nine FM stations so there would appear to be some viable options in parts of the state that worship anything UK blue.

Hopefully the show will continue. Their folksy, down home approach is  at least an alternative to some of the biased and argumentative approaches of other shows.

 

UofL fan John Ramsey joins ESPN 680 lineup

John Ramsey
John Ramsey

John Ramsey, a longtime local radio personality and comedian, has joined the ESPN 680 radio lineup. He’s a staunch University of Louisville fan with the knowledge of the local sports scene to quickly become a force.

He’s going to provide a strong counter-punch to Matt Jones, the biased University of Kentucky fan, blogger and commentator, who delights as much in disparaging UofL athletics as he does in covering UK sports.

One difference is that Ramsey, a Ballard grad, actually played sports, including football and track. And he’s knowledgeable, with a quick wit and a wide assortment of skills

Ramsey strongly favors UofL even though he was once a member of UK’s track team. “What I didn’t like was the whole elitist thing with UK where they didn’t want to play UofL for so many years, like they were so far above us,” he said Monday on his 10 a.m. radio show. “It’s all about relationships with me. I got to know UofL coaches like Denny Crum, Howard Schnellenberger and other coaches over the years, and I’m a UofL fan.”

Among Ramsey’s considerable talents are his skills as an impressionist, often mimicking Howard Schnellenberger, Muhammad Ali and the late Howard Cosell. He had the hosts in stitches  on ESPN’s Early Birds show with a recent Schnelly call-in. Ramsey and Ali are, in fact, close friends. Watch for his exposure to quickly expand at ESPN.

He continues to host WAVE 3 Listens Live daily at noon on TV, and has worked for several local radio stations over the last 15 years.  He also is vice president of marketing and government affairs for the Ali Center and has worked in sports marketing at UofL. He also has performed at the Comedy Caravan.

Here’s a link to his version of the Big Blue Post Game Show.