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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Collyns Wynne arrived just in time for some Cardinal football.

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—Spread Check: Ole Miss by 10.

—The latest episode of the Card Chronicle Podcast is here.

—Red Cup Rebellion has a last minute pizza-related breakdown of Louisville vs. Ole Miss.

—Here’s what the Rebels will be rocking Monday night:

It’s going to be a very Hawaiian Punch-y feel in Atlanta.

—Matt McGavic over at Louisville Report previews Monday night’s game and takes Ole Miss by a touchdown.

—If you missed it Wednesday, here are the current Covid protocols for home games at Cardinal Stadium this season.

With the threat presented by COVID-19 across the state of Kentucky due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the University of Louisville has announced its protocols for the upcoming 2021 football season at Cardinal Stadium.

Beginning with the Sept. 11 home opener versus Eastern Kentucky, fans attending any of the seven home games will be required to adhere to the most updated COVID policies.

Regardless of vaccination status, all fans, staff and vendors attending a UofL home football game will be required to wear a mask while visiting any indoor area on the UofL campus inclusive of indoor areas within the stadium except while actively eating or drinking.

Indoor spaces at Cardinal stadium include Restrooms, PNC Club, Brown & Williamson Club, Pepsi Club, the press box, elevators, and any other spaces that are fully enclosed. (rearranged)

Fans seated in the suites will not be required to wear a mask in the privacy of their individual suite. (rearranged)

Masks will not be required in the concourse areas, in the upper or lower seating bowls of the stadium, or within outdoor club seating.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, it is recommended that unvaccinated fans should wear a mask at all times when around others both indoors and outdoors except while actively eating or drinking.

—No Cardinal is more ready for a new season be here than Malik Cunningham.

—Two of The Athletic’s four gambling writers like the Cards to cover the spread against Ole Miss. The other two ... well, they don’t.

—Hailey Van Lith will represent the USA at the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series stop in Montreal on Sept. 3-4.

—Teddy Bridgewater remains earth’s most valuable human.

BetOnline has updated its college football over/under win totals for the 2021 season, but has kept Louisville at 6.5.

—The 12th-ranked Louisville volleyball team is set to host the Cardinal Invitational this weekend.

—Cade Neely isn’t actually on Louisville’s football roster for 2021, but he’s still listed as Opendorse’s fifth most marketable college football player.

Neely, a Maysville native who walked on at U of L in 2020, has large followings on both Instagram and Tik-Tok, but it’s not overly clear what exactly he’s done to earn those followings.

—The U of L men’s soccer team will shoot for its second straight win when it hosts Bellarmine tonight for “Pups at the Pitch” night. Kickoff is set for 7:30.

—You pair this idea with 55,000 bird mask’d fans sitting in dead silence, and this program is never losing another home game.

—The women’s soccer team passed its first road test of the season with a 1-0 win at Saint Louis Thursday night. The Cards are now 4-0 on the young season.

BetOnline’s updated college football national title odds have Louisville at 250/1 to win it all.

—U of L has announced that it has partnered with Game Plan in an effort to engage its student-athletes through various educational and developmental curricula.

“One of our core beliefs is supporting our student-athletes and teaming-up with Game Plan provides another tool for our UofL student-athletes to learn and grow through life skills development, mentoring, and career services,” said Vince Tyra, UofL Vice-President/Director of Athletics.

While Game Plan provides extensive educational programming on multiple subjects, it is another element of the Cardinals’ considerable educational initiatives and resources as part of its ELEVATE program to aid its student-athletes in making informed decisions about future Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities in collegiate athletics.

”We are excited to partner with GamePlan and empower our student-athletes to make informed decisions around NIL opportunities and so much more,” said UofL Associate Athletic Director Matt Banker, who is running point on the Cardinals’ NIL initiatives. ”This is another resource to position our UofL student-athletes for success in all aspects of life.”

”I am thrilled that we have partnered with Game Plan to expand our personal, leadership, and career development programming and educational initiatives to reach student-athletes in a variety of platforms,” said Alyssa Murphy, UofL Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Leadership and Development. “One of the positive aspects of adapting through the pandemic is that our student-athletes appreciated having the opportunity to not only engage with us in person, but also in a virtual space. The curriculum provided by Game Plan allows our staff to supplement and reinforce topics and concepts that we share with student-athletes on a daily basis. Additionally, the ability to support career planning and exploration for all student-athletes, regardless of how soon they will graduate, is a critical component of the Game Plan offerings that will give us real time data and tracking capabilities. This partnership will take our “Beyond the Buzzer” student-athlete leadership and development programming to the next level. ”The University of Louisville is one of the most storied athletics programs in the nation, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Game Plan community,” said Vin McCaffrey, Game Plan CEO. ”We look forward to contributing to the holistic development of Cardinal student-athletes!”

—Highlights from the U of L men’s soccer team’s comeback win over Evansville from earlier this week are here.

—ESPN’s Dave Wilson and Harry Lyles Jr. have a thorough look at what to watch for during college football’s opening weekend.

—Western Kentucky had zero issues with UT-Martin in its season-opener last night.

—Yep. Pretty accurate summary of the current state of the rivalry.

—Former UK standout Randolph Morris made a fortune playing in China. The IRS says he didn’t report any of that income, but Morris says the case is built on an illegal FaceTime call they had with him from his kitchen in Kentucky while he was in China. Wild story here.

—Jeff Greer weighs in on all the recent ... uh, events ... in his latest U of L hoops newsletter.

On Dino Gaudio

For someone already convicted of extortion, which is bad in my expert opinion, Dino Gaudio came off even worse in the audio than I thought he would. We hear so often from my fellow media members (and I have done this, too) about how so-and-so is a good person, etc., but (insert incident here) was ugly and out of character. I don’t see how anyone could hear that interaction and still think that way about Dino. Anger can get the best of anyone — just ask anyone who has played rec league soccer with me — but that reaction was beyond anger.

On Chris Mack

I said this on the radio weeks before the suspension: Mack could’ve handled this situation better. I stand by that. (And don’t confuse that in any way with letting Gaudio off the hook.) I also understand the logic of thinking you believe you can handle a difficult conversation friend-to-friend. That honestly would cross my mind if I was in the same position. But with everything that has transpired at Louisville in recent years — so much of it nothing to do with Mack — I just wouldn’t take that risk. If the university policy is to have a third party in the room, I’d have a third party in the room. If it was university policy to quack like a duck three times a week in the quad, I’d quack like a duck three times a week in the quad. Whatever university policy is, I’d memorize it and follow it. This all leads to my next point …

On the actual suspension

Is a six-game suspension and $200,000-plus docking of pay a little too stiff of a penalty for Mack? I lean yes. But that punishment is a message in line with the larger point in all of this: As difficult as the task is, whoever coaches Louisville amid the lingering fallout from the controversies of 2015-17 has to be clean as a whistle. Like, private at basic training cleaning the bathroom floor with a toothbrush clean. No drama. No nothing.

This is drama. The silly Kentucky video, as silly as that whole fiasco was, was drama. The COVID-19 problems — doesn’t matter who is at fault — were drama. Most importantly, no NCAA violations. Doesn’t matter if it’s as small as talking to a recruit’s parents at an Arby’s, or whatever constitutes an NCAA Level II or III violation these days. Can’t happen under any circumstances.

People can be as mad at Neeli Bendapudi or Vince Tyra or unnamed trustees as they want, but they were all tasked with cleaning up the image of the University of Louisville. The best way to do that is (1) make good hires, (2) set high standards and (3) act swiftly and forcefully if those standards aren’t met. Six early-season games is a lot. But I do think some kind of statement about all of this — reinforcing the standards and expectations the university has for the program — was necessary.

—Former Cardinal football player Vincent Lococo is the guest on the latest episode of the Pink Seats Podcast.

—Friday Irrelevance:

—There will be a U of L fan appreciation party in Atlanta before the game on Monday. Details can be found here.

—Five high school football games involving Louisville-area teams have been canceled tonight because of COVID-19 protocols.

—Jason Frakes and the CJ crew take a look at the five best area games that will be played tonight.

—Adam Duvall still hits missiles.

—The staff over at Cardinal Sports Zone makes their game-by-game predictions for the upcoming football season.

—Harry Douglas and Patrick Willis will be the honorary captains for Monday night’s game.

—It’s nice to see the Ville’ns keeping the momentum rolling despite Covid putting a dent in their momentum last year. A thriving student section benefits everyone involved in U of L athletics.

—A look at Louisville-Ole Miss by the numbers.

—The Daily Journal in Mississippi has a Q&A with Jody Demling to prepare for Monday night.

—This might be the greatest Papa John story ever told, and also represents the closest we’ve gotten to quality shit-talking between Louisville and Ole Miss this week.

—John Buhler over at FanSided likes the Rebels over the Cards by 14.

—Cardinal Authority looks at where Louisville stands in everyone’s final preseason bowl projections.

—USA Online Sportsbook has Louisville at No. 4 in its preseason ACC power rankings.

—And finally, everyone’s favorite football nerd, Keith Wynne, will be co-hosting today’s Mike Rutherford Show with me so we can dive as deeply as possible into Louisville vs. Ole Miss. You can stream the show from 3-6 right here.