Jurich Receiving Support To Be Retained As Louisville AD Despite Involvement In Scandal
Prominent Univ. of Louisville donor Jim Patterson wrote an "impassioned letter" to UL interim President Greg Postel, "urging him not to fire" embattled AD Tom Jurich, according to Grace Schneider of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Patterson in his letter, which was copied to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, wrote, "We have a top football program because of Tom Jurich. We have a top Men's and Women's basketball program because of Tom Jurich....We have a fantastic basketball arena because of Tom Jurich." He added, "We are flying at 40,000 feet....does it make sense to shut the engines off?" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/2). UL Athletics Association BOD member Bill Stone also said that Jurich "may survive the scandal." Stone: "Jurich has done tremendous things here. He's done one terrible thing wrong. He believed a coach. And you've got to evaluate the totality of what the man has done and it wasn't just because he was a celebrity coach." He added, "UofL will keep its mind open and the Tom Jurich story is not yet complete" (WAVE3.com, 9/30). In Louisville, Sarah Riley noted a Change.org petition titled "DO NOT FIRE TOM JURICH!" is "gaining a bit of traction" with more than 2,600 signatures at press time (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 9/30). Postel said that he "planned to introduce" an interim AD this week. ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf noted the permanent removal of Jurich "must be approved" by UL's BOT at its next meeting on Oct. 18 (ESPN.com, 9/30).
ASSESSING THE OPTIONS: In Louisville, Eric Crawford reported UL SID Kenny Klein has been "rumored to be a candidate" for interim AD. But Klein said that he had "not pursued that role." Asked if he would accept, Klein said, "Right now, I'm here to help our university, but it doesn't have to be in a specific role. I'm here to help our university and it can be in a lot of different ways" (WDRB.com, 9/29). Meanwhile, Rick Pitino, also placed on administrative leave, on Sunday maintained his innocence and said he "will be vindicated" in the coming months. Pitino said, "Right now it's in the lawyers' hands. I went to Miami. I'm selling my house (in Louisville). I love (interim coach) Dave Padgett. I love the boys. I hope they win the national championship. I'm not doing anything but laying low" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/2).
STAYING OR GOING? ESPN.com cited a source as saying that Auburn AD Jay Jacobs "has told colleagues that he knows of no such attempts" by the school to end his tenure (ESPN.com, 9/30). Auburn President Steven Leath late Friday in a statement also denied the news regarding Jacobs, saying, "The report is inaccurate. Jay Jacobs is the athletics director." In Birmingham, Kevin Scarbinsky in the original article reported Leath and the Auburn BOT have "laid the groundwork" to end Jacobs' tenure. The "only variables are who will replace Jacobs and when the transition will take place." A source said that the transition was "expected to take place after the current football season, but recent scandals involving the school's softball and men's basketball programs have accelerated the process." One name that "may receive consideration to replace Jacobs" is UConn AD David Benedict, who spent two years as Auburn COO before joining UConn last year (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 9/30).
Scott wrote he doesn't want to see universities lose focus on education
DEFENDING THE SPORT: In Detroit, Chris Solari noted Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon on Saturday "took her turn dissecting the growing legal problems surrounding college basketball." Simon said of the scandal, "It undercuts the good people in the sport, because it makes everybody want to look at somebody differently as a result of this." MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo said that the scandal was "both 'disappointing' and 'sad' while calling it a 'black eye' for the coaching profession." Izzo: "If this reels us back and makes us relook at some things and figure out what our summers are like and how we can get things better for both the players and coaches and everyone else, then there's a benefit for us. I wouldn't say it's great because of the negativeness of it. But we all learning from something that's hit home" (FREEP.com, 10/1). Illinois basketball coach Brad Underwood in a defense of college hoops said, "We've got the greatest sport going. Maybe there's a speed bump along the way the some changes need to occur, but ... basketball is strong" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/1).
TURNED A BLIND EYE? In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote coverage of the FBI busts last week included college hoops analysts who "now tell us this kind of under the table dealing has been going on for years." Yet for decades, most of them "never mentioned this side of the business during studio shows or game telecasts." For example, ESPN's Dick Vitale, one of the "faces of college basketball, has propped up the sport without paying attention to its dark side." Raissman: "Once March rolls around there will barely be a mention of the FBI's case during the 67 games and countless hours of studio programming CBS and Turner will devote to the NCAA Tournament" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/1).