NYTimesThe University of Louisville’s phenomenal success across the board in athletics is due in large part to its relationship with ESPN and the ensuing national exposure that resulted, according to a story in Sunday’s New York Times:

The boost has resulted in a building boom of athletic facilities while the programs themselves are competing for national honors. Equally important, the exposure has had strongly postive benefits in promoting significant progress in the school’s academic programs.

Over the past dozen years, to feed its unending appetite for live football, ESPN has made Louisville Cardinals midweek games a mainstay in prime time. In turn, Louisville has made exposure on ESPN the centerpiece of a campaign to rise above its commuter-school roots and become an unlikely powerhouse in college sports.

“If it wasn’t for ESPN, we would be a fraction of what we are today,” Tom Jurich, Louisville’s longtime athletic director, said in an interview in his office on April 1 as the university savored its latest basketball success: the men’s and women’s teams were each on the way to the Final Four. The men went on to win the N.C.A.A. title.

Tom Jurich, Louisville’s longtime athletic director, gave ESPN much of the credit for the university’s turnaround. “If it wasn’t for ESPN, we would be a fraction of what we are today,” he said.Christopher Gregory/The New York Times. “We owe them so, so much,” Mr. Jurich said of ESPN. “They were willing to take a chance on us.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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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.

3 thoughts on “New York Times profiles UofL success”
  1. This is additional good press for UofL. Towards the end of the article there is a little bit of the downside of big-time college athletics but I think that most would agree that Athletics has done a great job of boosting the profile of UofL as an academic institution.

    The interesting thing to me is that I see some souRces say UofL athletics runs a profit of approx. $3 million a year and is completely self-sufficient and then an article like this sites that UofL athletics gets funding from student fees. I tend to think the NYT would do all the proper research and have the facts straight.

  2. Here is an old chestnut from TJ from the last decade:

    “One of the greatest compliments that I received was from Mark Shapiro, who is the CEO of ESPN, and he said that [we] are officially ESPN’s and America’s team,”–Tom Jurich

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