On Friday February 5th it was announced that Louisville would be missing the post-season. We were told at the time that President Ramsey made the decision with Tom Jurich under the advisement of investigator Chuck Smrt.
Fans immediately reacted, as you might imagine. The reaction was negative and mostly directed at University President Dr. James Ramsey. The comments on-line, on the radio, and wherever you might find the opinion of the public were outraged with the decision and Dr. Ramsey was taking the full brunt. Petitions were formed, groups were created on-line and most of this outrage came from the fact that the public was not privy to the details that led to the Louisville leadership making the decision coupled with the recent missteps of President Ramsey & his office over the past year. The target was Dr. Ramsey. Basketball was gone, fans were hurt, and without the full details of what actually happened Dr. Ramsey was the target for fans to release their anger.
The public outrage seemed to hit its peak when the Bar/Restaurant Patrick O’Shea’s on Main Street located right next to the KFC Yum! Center posted a large sign on the front of its establishment reading “Ramsey is a Coward”. Many fans on their way to the Louisville vs. Boston College game saw the sign and images were shared throughout social media.
After Louisville dismantled BC Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino came out and urged the fans to ‘Don’t give President Ramsey the heat. Tom Jurich made this decision.’
It worked. The outrage quelled and public acceptance of the post-season ban slowly began to sink in. In doing this Pitino publicly demonstrated where the greater majority of fans and supporters of Louisville Athletics stood: They trust Tom Jurich.
There were other notable events last week that also seemed to showcase the not so subtle power struggle within the university. Tom Jurich rumors to USC were allowed to float around for 3 hours on Wednesday February 10th before Jurich made a public statement saying “I’m staying right where I am”. The next day rumors were floated about Jeff Walz to Tennessee, and all last week Rick Pitino hinted at a return to Louisville but would never definitively close the door. With 3 very public and likable figures on campus like Jurich, Pitino and Walz all 3 hypothetically in the balance in the same week fans were left to reflect about what Cardinal Athletics would look like if all 3 suddenly departed the program.
All of this is occurring publicly on the athletics side of things at UofL. But there is much more at work from the university side both in the president’s office and in the University of Louisville Foundation, both of which Dr. Ramsey is president. We don’t need to detail all of those different issues Dr. Ramsey is currently handling they’ve been pretty public and TheCrunchZone.com covers ATHLETICS.
Then on Monday evening a Courier-Journal report from Andrew Wolfson (read the full story here) focused on a conversation with Pan African Studies Chair UofL Professor Ricky Jones. Jones is one of six faculty members who sits on the University of Louisville Investigations Committee, told Wolfson that there was no vote on the decision to self-impose a post-season ban for the Men’s Basketball program and that Dr. Ramsey made the call himself.
Dr. Jones went on to tell Wolfson that he opposed the post-season ban and added that there were no new or startling revelations revealed to the committee. Also Jones relayed that no information implicated anyone other than Andre McGee nor was there evidence submitted to the committee that the funds came from sources from UofL or its administration.
Ricky Jones also is quoted in Wolfson’s report: “The institution really needed to fight it out so you are not punishing people who weren’t involved.”
The other members of the Investigations Committee were revealed on Monday: Elanie Wise (Humanities Chair), Jerry Tolson (Professor of Jazz Studies & Music Education), Attorney Leslie Strohm, and John Carns (Senior AD for Compliance).
Eric Crawford of WDRB also spoke with Dr. Ricky Jones, and added some more details on Monday evening. Please read Mr. Crawford’s full report here. Professor Jones told Eric “There was no update given that I am aware of that fundamentally changed the basic facts of the case,” Jones said. “. . . There has been no smoking gun, that, you know, would prove that Tom Jurich or Rick Pitino had any knowledge, gave any money, that any boosters showed up and gave money. None of that. There has been none. There has been no institutional link to those actions other than we had an individual work at the institution doing those things.”
Dr. Jones also added “I think we responded because of fear of the NCAA.”