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Volume 24 No. 117
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Univ. Of Louisville Athletics Not Profitable; Pitino Big Beneficiary Of Adidas Deal

For all of Louisville's winning seasons, national championships and bowl appearances, the "athletic powerhouse built by now-suspended" AD Tom Jurich "falls short in at least one regard: It doesn't turn a profit," according to Andrew Wolfson of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. If not for $7M per year in "subsidies from the university, the program would have finished in the red the past two years." Revenue and expense figures reported to the NCAA show that without the university's help, the program "would have lost" $4.6M in the '14-15 budget year, and $4.4M in '15-16. UL's '15-16 athletic subsidy included $3.1M for "utilities and maintenance at stadiums and arenas; about $830,000 to boost student-athlete academics;" $1.928M in student fees, at $50 per student per semester; and $1.3M "in a 'gender equity commitment.'" And while the program "made no payments to the school" in '14-15 or '15-16, it gave $2M in '12-13 and the same amount in '16-17. But the department was "in effect reimbursed for the first gift by the U of L Foundation," which paid $2.65M to "buy property for a soccer stadium and a parking lot for athletics." Wolfson writes as the NCAA defines it, UL is "not self-sufficient, but it is hardly alone." It was found that "only 22 programs nationwide were self-supporting" in '15-16, meaning the revenue they generated "exceeded their expenses" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/6).

CASH RICH: Wolfson reports under UL's current deal with Adidas, which expires July 1, 98% of the cash provided by Adidas "goes to one person" -- suspended men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. In '15-16, $1.5M went to Pitino "under his personal services agreement with the apparel company while just $25,000 went to the program." The year before, Pitino also got $1.5M, while the department "banked just $10,000." The new Adidas contract "calls for the company to give" UL's program $79M "in cash over 10 years, as well as shoes and apparel." But it is "unclear how much of the money under the new deal would go to coaches" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/6). Adidas VP/Corporate Communications Katja Schreiber said that the new deal with UL "has different terms." Schreiber added that all the cash will be "earmarked to the school" (ESPN.com, 10/5).

COULD STILL RETURN: In Louisville, Jeff Greer in a front-page piece writes the "rumblings over the past few days have produced the kind of topic tailor-made for sports talk radio," as big-name UL donors "line up in support of reinstating" Jurich. His employment status is "expected to be determined" at UL's BOT meeting on Oct. 18. However, in order to get reinstated, Jurich, who has been AD since '97, would "have to win a majority of the vote on his status" from the 13-person BOT. If a majority of trustees "support retaining Jurich, then he will presumably come off administrative leave sometime shortly after that vote." But if the majority "support firing Jurich, then a legal fight will probably start" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/6). The COURIER-JOURNAL's Wolfson writes there is "no disputing" Jurich has been the "highest paid" AD in the country. Over the past seven years, through a "byzantine array of longevity and performance bonuses, base pay raises and tax subsidies, Jurich collected total compensation" of $19,279,710, an average of $2.76M per year. Jurich's compensation was "more than twice" the $1.98M paid to the next best-paid AD, Ohio State's Gene Smith. The only AD who has "come close" was Vanderbilt's David Williams, who earned $3.2M in '10, but he "also was the university's general counsel and vice chancellor at the time, as well as a tenured law professor." Among Jurich's benefits as AD were "memberships in two high-end private golf clubs" and 16 Skye Terrace seats "each year for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks." He is also guaranteed eight football and basketball season tickets "for life -- and not just his life." The seats, valued at about $11,500 per year, are "property of the Jurich family for the lifetimes of his wife and children" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/6).

LASTING IMPACT: In Louisville, Marty Finley noted the city of Louisville has "reaped huge benefits" since UL's move from the Big East to the ACC in '14. Louisville Sports Commission President & CEO Karl Schmitt said, "It is a marketing/promotion tool that you couldn't recreate any other way. Years of prestige and brand building is now available at Louisville's fingertips thanks to the ACC." He added, "It was like manna from heaven for sports in this community. Three areas in particular we've experienced growth are inbound travel, national awareness and the prestige of hosting ACC championships" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/5).