Another Monday, more conference expansion, possible realignments.

Seems like just yesterday the University of Louisville was joining the Big East Conference. Remember the celebration, hundreds of people gathering to hear Mike Tranghese’s official welcoming lines. Heady stuff back then. U of  L finally arriving into a BCS conference.

Proud, excited, we were, finally getting an opportunity to prove ourselves. The days of the KIAC, the Missouri Valley Conference, the Metro Conference, and Conference USA behind us. Always successful, indispensable to the success of whatever the conference.

Now here we are again waiting to see if Louisville will be invited to join the Big 12 Conference. Plenty of stiff competition out there. Schools with sterling football success and tradition. Schools with good reputations, doing invaluable work in the classroom and their communities.

The extra that U of L brings is being one of the most profitable basketball programs in the nation. Not that that matters when football is king. Just ask Kansas. The $238 million KFC Yum! Center is a trinket compared to all the football TV money up for grabs.

Thanks to Howard Schnellenberger for the crazy notion of actually building a football stadium. Thanks to the work that Bill Olson, Malcolm Chancey and John Shumaker did in getting Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium constructed. Thanks to Tom Jurich and Jim Ransey for getting U of L in the Big East, and for Tom’s courage, foresight and dedication in expanding the stadium to 55,000 seats … those further expansion plans in his back pocket

Thanks to Papa John’s for his $15 million naming and $10 million more for the expansion, the $3 million from Brown & Williamson, the Kiel brothers, UPS, the other corporate sponsors and all the fans who dug deep. Thanks to Bobby Petrino who, during his four seasons, raised the quality of Louisville football to unprecedented levels, giving us a taste of what could be in football.

The exhaustive efforts of many people, community and business leaders and fans recognizing the need to invest in football. They are why we are able to be in this position, awaiting the word, yea or nay.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

7 thoughts on “A week to be remembered”
  1. Good summary of UofL’s past and the peole involved with where we are today. Let’s hope that the hard work of all these people is rewarded with the best situation possible for UofL athletics. *cough* Big 12 *cough* *cough*

  2. I realize I’m obviously horribly biased, being a hardcore TCU fan/alum, but really ya’ll… think hard about whether you’d WANT to join the BigMathProblem.

    What can they really offer you?
    1)A conference that is at least as shaky as the Big East (3 schools have left in the last year or so, mostly because of the University of Texas overbearing influence, and the “top” schools still in the conference have nearly left for the PAC twice now)

    2)More travel (and have you been to Lubbock? Nobody wants to go to Lubbock)

    3)Less prestige in basketball… well, I guess you’d get the Kansas schools and Baylor won a women’s national championship once.

    4)Nobody in Texas gives a rip about soccer (I do, but I haven’t convinced TCU’s AD that the Big East makes it worthwhile). Did you notice that the Big 12 doesn’t even play Men’s Soccer?

    Seriously… we TCU fans have debated what we’d do if we got an invite (although the other Texas school are trying to block us)… it’s a huge debate. Most of us just don’t want to have anything to do with a backstabbing entity like the U of Texas, never mind the whiny, lawsuit happy Baylor Bears.

    Really… this does nothing to improve your program.

  3. Well said. Even the (grrhgh) Petrino nod accurately depicts our journey thus far, where we are, and more importantly, where we’re going.

  4. Tom Jurich’s plans for a state of the art soccer stadium would have to take a back seat if the Cards pony up and accept an invitation to the Big 12….unless the Cards compete as an independent in the sport or arrange an agreement to play soccer (men and women’s),field hockey and lacrosse with another conference. Or retain those sports with the BIG EAST. (Which could make for an uncomfortable situation.)

    And, would the Cards attempt to form a wrestling team…a big BIG 12 sport? How about gymnastics and equestrian…two other BIG 12 sports?

    Interesting times ahead…

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