Despite all the negativity occurring in the administration building across campus, the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is continuing — right on schedule and within budget — much to the chagrin of at least one prominent local resident.

Thanks to the vision of Tom Jurich, former Vice President of Athletics, the University of Louisville football program will have one of the finest facilities in the country. The 10,000-seat addition to the north end zone will be concrete reminder of what Jurich accomplished during his 20 years and a symbol of what the University can become again.

John Schnatter in a position to make some positive things happen at UofL, offsetting some of his previous actions.

However, John Schnatter, who heads the company that branded the stadium, continues to badmouth the expansion. His logic is that expanding the stadium is bad when faculty salaries have been flat over the last decade — the old argument of academics vs. athletics. Never mind that the $55 million expansion is fully funded by private donations.

Schnatter appears to be unaware of construction of a new four-story, $83 million classroom facility which will be open for the fall semester of the 2018 academic year. That’s the same date as the completion of a $30 million update and expansion of the Student Activities Center.

These academic facilities, combined with the stadium expansion, will greatly enhance Belknap Campus, making UofL a much more attractive destination for prospective students. The campus has already been recognized as one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Schnatter continues to be a negative voice on the Board of Trustees, despite being the driving force behind the inexplicable dismissal of Jurich. One suspects that Schnatter was angry because he was not asked to donate to an expansion of the stadium that bears his company’s name.

If that’s the case, Schnatter had exacted his revenge. As a member of the Board of Trustees, it is time for him to get about the business of helping to restore the University to its former greatness and financial stability. There should be no place on the UofL board for someone who seems to hold a grudge against the school.

Many of the current issues, including the decline in donations, have exacerbated since the David Grissom-headed board was appointed in January 2017. Schnatter, apparently at Grissom’s encouragement,  has allowed himself to be used as a wedge, further damaging the reputation of  the athletic department.

He resigned from the UofL Athletic Association board in April 2017 without any explanation. However, he’s still on the UofL Board of Trustees and the University of Louisville Foundation Board of Directors. One wonders if he is so unhappy with the school how much longer he will continue in those positions.

Schnatter has done a lot for UofL, having contributed almost $25 million to the school, including $19.1 for naming rights to the stadium. He’s obviously wealthy enough and in key positions to do more. There is so much much he can do, and UofL has never needed his support more than it does now.

Time for some constructive leadership from Papa John.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Schnatter could benefit from tour of University of Louisville campus”
  1. Try to imagine the heartbreak of the average Joe Schmoe fan. We have been loyal fans for decades, cheering the victories, hurting with the losses. Watching truly gifted young men perform feats of physical prowess that take our breath away. Watching our basketball team rise to National prominence and our football teams dominate respected opponents. We have supported our teams the only way we knew how, through watching, cheering, bragging, and chest pounding during the winning times, and continuing to believe to in what the Cardinal Nation has always been about; true, loyal fans.
    We are the ones who have been most hurt here. John Schnatter will still have his millions, Rick Pitino will be hired as a color analyst by some network, all of the coaches involved in the under-handed pay for play schemes never get what they really deserve. But, we the fans, we get it. Our hearts are broken, we strip the FatHead wall decals down that once proudly showed everyone who entered our mancaves that we were University of Louisville fans, Black and Red until we are dead. Well, some of us have stripped our walls, we have taken the memorabilia down from our “trophy” cases and put it away. It is very hard to listen to the cat calls from the folks in Lexington and Bloomington when they are right.
    Papa John and the entire University of Louisville board should consider what they are doing to Joe Schmoe and his family.

    1. Gene, thanks for your heartfelt comments, which accurately sum up the feelings of many UofL fans. Please don’t abandon ship. Things will get better because there are too many people who want the best for the school.

  2. If you took down your memorabilia then shame on you. You’re just as bad as pizza dude. If the crap that happened was Penn State bad then I might be right there with you. But it’s not. Not even remotely close, no matter how ESPN spins it.

    1. So true. When a school digs itself out of its mid-major status, there are going to be detractors and people, organizations and other schools trying to squelch them. Don’t back down.

  3. Angry, because he wasn’t asked to sponsor the expansion? I thought I read, that he’s never finished paying his initial donation. The guy has never paid the true price of what putting your name on Cardinal Stadium was really worth and it really burns me up to hear him call it his stadium and forgetting the facts of how many fans put up the money to build the stadium. I hope someday we find another sponsor and they strip his name off of Cardinal Stadium.

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