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Monday Afternoon Cardinal News and Notes

One week, Atlanta.

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—Louisville’s game notes for the Ole Miss game are now available, but they don’t include the Cardinal depth chart. U of L will release that on Tuesday after the Rebels have put out their own depth chart.

—The U of L women’s soccer team topped Northern Kentucky, 3-0, on Sunday.

—Eric Crawford writes about the still complex, unclear and embarrassing Chris Mack-Dino Gaudio situation.

BOX No. 1: Behind-the-scenes maneuvers.

A move like this doesn’t happen unilaterally. It is not the work of one person. It happens through a conversation (some might call it a negotiation) between U of L president Neeli Bendapudi, members of the board of trustees, athletics director Chris Mack and members of his staff and the athletics association.

Over the past several weeks, some trustees have been increasingly dissatisfied with Mack’s role in the extortion incident – though not necessarily his taping of the conversation or even his decision to cut loose two top assistants. But they are, sources say, unhappy with some of the things Mack said on the tape, and that the first version of the tape Mack shared, apparently, may not have been a complete version.

When pressed for reasons for the suspension, Tyra offered that Mack’s decision to inform the assistants that they would not be renewed without a staff member present in the room was not in keeping with university policy or best practices.

But that’s not the stuff of a six-game suspension.

Also of concern, according to multiple sources, was one passage on the audio, in which Gaudio was reiterating that he was going public with NCAA violation allegations unless he was paid, and Mack responded.

Gaudio: Tell me how you’re paying me. That’s the s--- that’s going to happen or else this is happening. . . .

Mack: I give you my word, which you may not think means anything, but that’s going to happen. But, like, what assurances do I have?

Look, that’s far from culpability. Mack knows he’s taping the conversation. It’s fair to say he sought to draw Gaudio out. He told him more than once to “sit down.” He did everything but ask him to lean a little closer to the microphone.

But that question, “What assurances do I have?” sounds like the question of a guy who wants to keep things under wraps.

Make a note: Secretly taping a conversation is not a good way to keep things under wraps.

The bottom line is that none of it was the best look for either guy, or the university.

—On3 does not have Louisville-Ole Miss as one of the 10 best games of college football’s opening weekend, which shows just how stacked the week 1 lineup is.

—The Louisville men’s soccer team opens its 2021 home season Monday night against Evansville. Here’s a preview.

—Wake Forest believes it has a special season looming, even if no one else does.

—The old Metro Conference is carrying this league.

—The latest episode of the Cardinal Sports Zone podcast is out.

—Our own Seedy K has a great read on his dog Abbey.

—The CJ’s Jason Frakes has an early look ahead to the biggest high school football games in the area this Friday.

—Ty Spalding of has four bold predictions for the 2021 U of L football season.

Malik Cunningham will finish top 10 nationally in completion percentage

Each of the past two seasons, Malik Cunningham has completed over 60 percent of his passing attempts. In 2019, he completed just over 62 percent of his passes. In 2020, he completed just over 64 percent of his passes. Cunningham’s 2020 completion percentage put him 34th nationally.

After an extremely positive spring and summer under the direction of new quarterback coach Pete Thomas, I truly believe Cunningham is primed for a huge year. Anytime you talk to people around the program, you hear how ‘locked in’ Cunningham is. He’s taken on more of a leadership role, he has worked on checking the ball down, and I think that work will show on the field, especially in the completion percentage category.

—I wasn’t sure about the legitimacy of the Mandela Effect until I learned that Ed McMahon never had anything to do with the Publishers Clearing House.

—The From the Pink Seats Podcast crew makes their predictions about the upcoming Louisville football season.

—Nebraska football schadenfreude remains top tier.

—If you missed Sunday’s local Twitter drama ... 1) Consider yourself fortunate. 2) Here’s pretty much all you need to know:

I’m sure the brass at WHAS were thrilled to hear that they are “The UK station.”

—Kentucky will host Tubby Smith and High Point on New Year’s Eve.

—College football attendance had dropped six-straight years before the pandemic. It certainly appears as though that trend will continue locally in 2021.

—Kyle Tucker of The Athletic talked spoke with nine anonymous high school football coaches from the state about how Kentucky and Louisville recruit their areas. While some of the quotes certainly sound damning for U of L (pretty much the goal of a story like this), it’s not exactly a new phenomenon for high school coaches from out in the state to have a better relationship with UK than they do Louisville.

How has U of L’s recruiting of the state changed since 2018, when Scott Satterfield took over that December?

Coach 1: We’ve had a couple different (coaches) come through here and they both left, so we’re kind of in wait-and-see mode. ShaDon Brown, who left (for West Virginia), did a good job. Being a high school coach in this state helped him quite a bit. But they do continue to reach out and send us emails and welcome us up there. Before, you weren’t really welcome on that campus, but I went up and watched a couple spring practices this year and it was good. I did not feel like Petrino had an open door for us, where I could get in touch with a coach at Kentucky and say, “Hey, I want to come see you practice” and I’m always welcome. This new Louisville staff is that way, too.

Coach 2: I haven’t really heard from him. I’ve heard from the DB coach who has recruited a couple of our guys, but it hasn’t been as plentiful as UK, for sure. It’s almost like they’ve surrendered. I don’t know if they’ve just kind of given in to Vince or not, but that’s how it seems. “Hey, we’re not in the SEC, nothing we can do.” And truth be told, that’s where the kids want to play. There’s really no debate that it’s the best conference. My kids talk a lot about the SEC, that if they can play in that league, they’re going to because of how many they’re sending on to the pros.

Coach 3: I’m going to be honest: I can’t speak on that because I wouldn’t know. It feels like they just go out of state, which is fine. You’ve got to build your depth and do your thing, but you’d like to think a lot of kids from the city of Louisville would be able to play for U of L. I’ve got Stoops’ number in my phone while Louisville is right down the road and I don’t see them as much. And I’ve got multiple kids at Louisville right now, so you would think I’d hear from them more.

—Pat Forde identifies Scott Satterfield as one of five college football coaches looking to avoid a “beginning of the end” game in week one.

—Josh Minkins will be available for the opener against Ole Miss.

—Russ Smith loved his two crams on Julius Randle, but he’d gladly erase them from recorded history for a portion of the contract Randle just signed.

You can see the full interview with Russ here.

—Corbin High School SS Kade Elam (2025) has committed to Louisville.

—Louisville, Indiana, Texas A&M and Tennessee are the finalists for Male High hoops star Kaleb Glenn.

—We need to get some good vibes flowing around these parts. This picture should help.

—Shakin’ the Southland ranks Clemson’s 12 regular season football opponents from worst to best. Louisville is No. 6.

—Louisville QB commit Khalib Johnson had a big night on Friday.

—The 13th-ranked U of L volleyball team moved to 3-0 on the young season with a 3-2 win over Arizona State on Sunday.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back this afternoon from 3-6 to talk about all the madness that continues to envelop Cardinal athletics. You can listen the show on 1450 AM, 96.1 FM, or streaming here. The podcast for Friday’s scandal-heavy show is here.