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.