Wrapping up Tom Jurich’s remarks on issues affecting University of Louisville athletics during a question-and-answer period during his Tuesday appearance at a fundraising event for the Central Cardinal Club at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium:
Scheduling Top Tier Teams: “We’ve looked closely at it. We’ve been close to a couple of deals with Notre Dame and other teams. But again, you have to look at the philosophy of most of these teams which is that if they have three out-of-conference games, they’re going to schedule three home wins. Now this is all going to change. I think the scheduling will loosen up a bit quite a bit right now (with the new Selection Committee coming for the playoffs). I really do. The one thing I’m totally against, all the hard work we’ve put into this program will all be torn down if we buy into two-for-one’s. Perception is everything. If we have to back to playing two-for-one’s, it not the right thing for our program at all. I don’t think on one hand we can say we’re a prominent program, a top 15 program, and have to go play two-for-one’s. I just don’t want to do that. It will kill us.”
Big 12 Championship Game: Certainly there’s a scenario for there to be pressure on the Big 12 to have a championship game from a numbers standpoint. This week they have six teams in the top 25. If you can do that every year, you probably don’t need a championship game. They go back 10 years ago to when Oklahoma was denied a shot at the national championship when it was beaten by another conference team. That’s where the sour taste comes from, the bitterness about playing a conference championship game. I think down the road they should play a championship game but I don’t think it’s going to be in the near future.”
On Continuing the Football Rivalry with Kentucky: “I certainly hope the rivalry continues the way it’s going in football. I haven’t had any discussions with Mitch Barnhart about this or ending the series. I know from our standpoint, no matter what conference we’re in, we want to play the game. It’s Kentucky and that means everything to us around here and everything to them even though they won’t admit that. It’s a huge rivalry game and you don’t ever want to let those games go. Traditions are hard to come by. I can’t speak for them but, from our standpoint, we’re in forever.”
How ESPN feels about three unbeaten Big East teams: “In my opinion, the lack of interest we’ve gotten from ESPN is only tied to the contract issue. They’re trying to push us down in the sand as they try to do the conference. We will be a player. It’s going to be hard for them to avoid the Big East because they’re totally surrounded by it. UConn is in their back yard, you’ve got St. John’s in New York, you’ve got Providence in the Boston market. ESPN grew up on Big Monday basketball. Going to be hard to ignore Big East basketball although in this equation, it’s football, football, football … If we can take care of business this week (against South Florida), next Friday (against Cincinnati) could be an electric atmosphere. (The game will be telecast on ESPN).”
All Volleyball Games in Yum! Center — “Probably not. We don’t have a contract for volleyball. We’re only contracted for men’s and women’s basketball. The Yum! Center is letting the volleyball team play games there on pretty much an availability basis. They can’t be a position where they’re tying those dates up. The new AEG management group consists of great people. They will work with us. If they have dates for volleyball, we will get them. Attendance has been fantastic but when you look at volleyball versus a concert date, there’s no comparison. They have to pay the bills.”
State High School Football Championships at Papa John’s — The games are played during a week that the Big East want to reserve for conference games, whether one is scheduled or not. “We thought they still could have played it here .. We’d love to have it here, it makes a lot of sense. ”
Moving the Johnny Unitas Statue: “That would be Charlie Strong’s call,” he said, in reference to complaints about the statue being covered up by the rubberized tunnel before games.