Alcohol Sales at Louisville Games

This observer doesn’t drink at Louisville games, primarily because it seems every time I do the Cardinals wind up losing, the most memorable occasion being the overtime loss to UCLA in the 1975 Final Four. That’s reason enough to abstain, staying under control to keep things on the court or field in hand. Don’t mind if my neighbors partake — just don’t interfere with this one’s personal intensity.

In August 2005, the NCAA Executive Board suggested that member colleges and universities stop selling alcohol at athletic events, probably at the urging of NCAA Commissioner and former Indiana University President Myles Brand. One of Bobby Knight’s favorite people. Won’t happen at U of L any time soon, because the companies have been so good to the program.

“A lot of our facilities were built through sponsorship with certain companies, such as Budweiser through Freedom Hall,” said Tom Jurich, vice president of athletics. “We have to conform to what is in our contract with them. Alcohol sales are part of that.”

Speaking to the student newspaper, Jurich says U of L’s policy is consistent with that of other Big East members, including St. Johns, Villanova, Seton Hall, and Providence universities. “We consider everything that the NCAA asks us to look at,” he said, “but our conference has told us we are welcome to sell alcohol, and right now that is where we are at.”

The only time alcohol sales were ever a noticeable problem was at a football game against Tennessee in the old Fairgrounds Stadium in the mid-nineties. Must have been a record number of fights that night, several of the Vol fans apparently not able to manage their alcohol intake.

U of L owes companies like Brown-Forman, Budweiser and Makers Mark a huge debt of gratitude for all they’ve done for the program over many years. The continuance of the alcohol sales is an important way of saying thank you.

Drink responsibly.

Derrick In The Present

Now that’ s more like it, Derrick Caracter getting emotional. Clapping his hands. Waving a fist. Clapping his hands. Going strong to the basket, making the difficult shots.

Scoring 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and being called for only two fouls [one of them a phantom foul], helping U of L score an important win over St. John’s. Being named player of the game by both the TV and radio broadcasting crews.

Representing the university well in his radio interview following the game, saying all the right things, knowing he has to continue working hard to get better. Acknowledging that he has not been contributing much lately, pledging to bring it in future games.

Coach Rick Pitino said he told Caracter a couple of days ago that players who play exceptionally hard always look good, that you can’t dwell on what’s happened in the past, have to work hard and get it done in the present.

What that means is enjoy the moment, Derrick. But the St. John’s game is history. Gotta prove yourself all over again Monday night in a challenging road game at UConn. Play exceptionally hard.

Work In Progress

A lot of good things happened in U of L’s 80-60 win over South Florida, pushing the Cards’ record to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in Big East conference play. Among them:

– Terrence Williams handing out 10 assists in the first half. Has U of L ever had a more unselfish player as physically talented as Williams?

– Earl Clark hitting eight of 12 shots for 18 and eight rebounds. Probably more motivated as a reserve than as a starter.

– Defense holding the Bulls to 40 percent shooting, 22 of 55 shots from the field, 5 of 16 from three-point range. The carnival shooters from Seton Hall relegated to ugly memories.

— Jerry Smith, consistently good, never shot happy even though he’s the team’s best shooter, serious about defense.

But there continue to be some troubling issues:

– Team relaxing, letting up when it gets a good lead, lacking a killer instinct, allowing South Florida to get back to within 14 points in the second half.

– Edgar Sosa forgetting his role as play maker, getting lost in traffic, killing momentum. Everybody loves the guy but if this continues, Edgar is going to keep losing playing time. Rick Pitino may even forget to put Sosa in for a couple of games.

– David Padgett missing layup after layup. Obviously, still recovering.

– Derrick Caracter going backwards these days, rarely contributing in the last two games.