Power…money...corruption. Three things that have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time.
The disastrous soap opera that continues to play out at the University of Louisville is another showcase of just how awful things can get when the egos of a few, jeopardize the future of the masses. As a law school alumus of UofL, I have had trouble putting into words just how disgraceful the current situation is. It is far beyond time to put things in perspective while finding a solution (558 days to be exact). We have to find the answer, and we will, because this is our university, our city, and this devastating circus must end.
The University of Louisville is currently a national embarrassment. There are many opinions on why or how, but it is usually wise to try and start at the beginning.
In November of 2012 the ACC officially voted to add the University of Louisville as its newest member. Even though this accomplishment was surpassed by the “Year of the Cardinal” events, which transpired from January through June of 2013, at the time, it was the crowning achievement for Dr. James Ramsey and Tom Jurich, as well as the biggest moment in the history of the university. Louisville’s addition to the ACC legitimized the Cardinals not just in athletics, but in academics, research, notoriety, and its ballooning budget. At that moment, UofL had “made it” and our leadership began acting as if nothing could stop the train.
Whatever your opinion is on Louisville’s current predicament, as well as the people involved, there is no denying some awful truths. According to a multi-million dollar audit that was conducted, the former board of trustees, the previous foundation, Dr. Ramsey, and Tom Jurich’s athletic department were all somehow involved in millions of dollars being unaccounted for, funneled in “off the books” transactions, and lining the pockets of certain friends of the university. As a former student and die hard supporter these revelations were beyond an insult. Through this period, tuition was raised like clockwork on the student body each and every semester while the salaries, bonuses, and perks of administrators increased exponentially. In 2015, Ramsey’s compensation was two and a half times higher than the average salary of ACC presidents and three times higher than the average compensation of comparable university presidents outside of the ACC.
For some unknown reason, the ACC inclusion gave Louisville’s leaders permission to run the school like Enron instead of the mid-size public urban outreach research university it was and still is.
Running parallel alongside the monetary abuse, our men’s basketball program had decided to bring national embarrassment down upon the city and school due to its second sex related scandal in six years. It was the former board of trustees and former leadership that believed it to be the best course of action to cooperate fully with the NCAA, give them every piece of evidence they needed to convict us, spend millions on Chuck Smrt, and ban the 2015/2016 team from the NCAA Tournament. Each action turned out to be meaningless as the NCAA brought the hammer down upon UofL as they officially erased Louisville Basketball from the record books for a period spanning four seasons (2010-2014).
If the foregoing acts of stupidity and wrongdoing weren’t enough, men’s basketball invoked the world famous internet meme “hold my beer” and reappeared for an encore performance.
Handpicked by Rick Pitino, Jordan Fair was hired in March of 2017. By the end of May 2017, Fair had taken actions to pay a recruit/his family roughly $100,000 and set them up to live at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. If it was Jordan Fair’s goal to tear down Louisville’s basketball program and consequently the university as a whole, he should be congratulated on a job well done because his actions lit the fire that have the entire school on the verge of turning to ashes.
Due to the never-ending scandals, it was and is my opinion that change was needed in the president’s office and on the basketball court, as well on the board of trustees and of course within the school’s foundation. What none of us could have foreseen was the absolute clown show that ensued following Dr. Ramsey’s resignation 558 days ago.
I cannot claim I was alive for or aware of every change of leadership throughout the history of human civilization, but I am willing to wager that 558 days is the longest any institution has gone without selecting a permanent leader.
On behalf of the city, state, alumni, students, and employees…WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING AND WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?
One thing is for certain: Dr. Greg Postel should not be the president. I do not know the man, but I do know there has to be a reason(s) he has never been selected to lead any academic institution. I also know that the only reason he is our current interim president is because the previous interim took a job at the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Postel’s actions have arguably led to the worst period of negativity in the history of our university. Revenues, ticket sales, event attendance, and charitable gifts are collapsing faster than the stock market in 2008. The school doesn’t even have money to pay for a complete janitorial staff so buildings and classrooms on campus currently go weeks without cleaning or sanitation. I am no radiologist, but Postel’s on the job performance doesn’t scream qualified, nor does it instill confidence or encouragement. UofL is currently lost at sea and maybe Dr. Postel can serve as part of the crew because it is obvious he’s no captain.
J. David Grissom needs to be removed as chairman of the board. Treating the University of Louisville’s difficulties as an excuse to attempt a subversive hostile takeover cannot be tolerated. The university needed fixing, not destroying. Under Grissom’s leadership, the board of trustees has constantly violated the Kentucky Open Records Act, alienated and lost its most accomplished member (Junior Bridgeman), and his actions have ensnarled Louisville in countless matters of costly litigation. Lastly, Grissom has fought tooth and nail to hide and cover up the presidential search. From people who are close to the situation and his own emails, it appears Mr. Grissom is operating as puppet master attempting to dismantle everything that elevated UofL to its greatest position since the school’s inception in 1798. Louisville requires leadership, not ego.
For the sake of our city, our fans, and our students, the University of Louisville needs a president. That statement was true 558 days ago. I am happy to serve in the role, but I doubt I am qualified because my puppet strings were removed circa 2013. I do not recommend a complete outsider. We need someone familiar with the city and the potential of our university. Louisville needs someone who can rebuild the bridges currently being burnt between our biggest donors and supporters. We need someone who can walk into Tom Jurich’s home, bury the hatchet, end the conflict, and honor Tom the way he deserves.
The University of Louisville may be currently plunging down the cliffs of Mount Everest, but if the right man or woman is found and hired, a stern nudge is all that is needed to get this little engine that could back on its correct tracks. In an opinion as groundbreaking as Edison’s invention of the light bulb, the University of Louisville must find and hire its president immediately. That president can then work with leadership to find an athletic director, and then said athletic director can find our next hall of fame basketball coach.
If the current board of trustees refuse to do what is right and find a legitimate and acceptable president to lead UofL, then we as a city, a fanbase, alumni, and student body must take the only option available; abandonment. If Mr. Grissom and Dr. Postel think they can destroy our university without recourse, then it is our duty to stop them. No more donations, no more student applications, transfer to other institutions, no more season tickets, and no more support. The clown show is over. It is time for the circus to leave town. This is my university, your university…our University of Louisville.