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Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Friday (Almost) Full of Upsets -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Field Hockey Knocks Off Syracuse


It took them two overtimes and a very late score, but the 12th ranked field hockey team showed how dangerous they can be at home, taking down their second top-10 foe of the season yesterday. Syracuse came to town ranked 7th. Although Louisville has had some troubles this season, they have been almost completely confined to the road, and Louisville can be a giant killer at home, as evidenced by their win over Delaware earlier this year.

Such didn't necessarily appear to be the case yesterday afternoon. (Sidebar: It was a perfect afternoon/evening to get out and watch some Louisville athletics. I would have loved to have gotten out to the women's soccer game. However, I worked until about 6:40, which put me in a less than ideal mood to drive halfway across town. It was really sealed by a terrible error in judgement I made with regards to traffic. Had I checked a traffic app before leaving the office, I would have made it home in about 18 minutes. Instead, I listened to an entire Queens of the Stone Age album and walked through my door around 7:30. So it goes.) Syracuse scored only three minutes into the game, putting the Cardinals on their heels immediately. As the rest of the game wore on, that single goal appeared as though it may be good enough for the Orange to get a top-15 win of their own. The two teams combined for only 3 shots on goal in the first half. However, it was in the second half that Louisville put on the pressure. The Cards outshot Cuse 8-2 in the second half, but it wasn't quite enough. The clock ticked down on Louisville's hopes until an unlikely hero in Madison Walsh, a freshman, scored the equalizer on an untimed penalty corner with time expired. I know Paulie doesn't like to pull the keeper, but that's exactly what Coach Justine Sowry did with 34 seconds remaining and the extra attacker paid off in the end.

Like college soccer, field hockey goes into two golden goal overtime periods if regulation ends in a tie. Unlike soccer, field hockey determines a winner no matter what after those overtimes, as was seen when Louisville beat Wake Forest in a penalty shootout last week. Louisville didn't need the shootout this week, as a 89th minute (4 minutes into the second overtime) goal on a Taylor Stone penalty stroke sealed the game and the upset for the Cards. Louisville has now bounced back from their three game skid with a three game winning streak. They remain undefeated at home, a good omen for a team hosting the major tournaments. Louisville will continue it's homestand tomorrow against Central Michigan University at 1PM. The game is available in person at Trager Stadium or online on the ACC Network Extra.

Volleyball Sweeps FSU


After a heartbreaker against North Carolina in which the Cardinals were reverse swept after appearing to have things tied up in the first two sets, Louisville set out to finish the deal this time against Florida State. The win gave moved the Cards to 2-1 in conference and gave the number 21 Seminoles their first conference loss. 

Melanie was really excited about the win. Coach... not AS excited.
Louisville came out swinging early, hitting .349 in the first set. Louisville was crisp with only 4 errors. They had one ace and made the most of a couple of service errors by the Seminoles. The first game was tight, with neither team able to take more than a three point lead for the first 40 points. Florida State stalled at 19, though, and Louisville rattled off three straight points (the second longest run for either team in the first game) to go up 24-19. Each team scored once more and the Cards took the first set 25-20. Although Louisville hit a little bit worse in the second, and Florida State a little bit better, the second set was much of the same. Again, both teams were close until Louisville stretched to a 19-15 lead. The teams would go on to more or less trade points until Louisville finished, again, with a 25-20 win.

The third set was reminiscent of last week's tilt with North Carolina. Again, it was close early, but Louisville jumped out to an 18-14 and then a 20-16 lead. All they needed to do was finish the last few points to complete the sweep. But they couldn't. Last week it cost them the set and ultimately the match. This week, the Cards were able to stop their slide after Florida State stormed back to lead 25-26. From there, the two teams traded pairs of points until Louisville finally broke the pattern and won 31-29. The sweep, and upset, was complete.

Melanie McHenry once again led the way with 18 kills. She had five more than Louisville's second best, Jasmine Bennett, and FSU's leader had only 11. McHenry also came up huge with 11 digs. Tied for second with Wilma Rivera. Of course, Molly Sauer led the way on that one with 17, and Rivera got her stat lead in with 41 assists. Louisville looked very good against a Florida State team that maybe underperformed a bit. However you choose to look at it, this year's team is clearly playing better (if not more talented outright) than last year's. There is a lot of season left and Louisville still has time to make some noise. At 8-5, they're probably still not knocking on the door of the top 25, but a couple of more wins in a row could get them some votes. The quest continues when Miami steps into Cardinal Arena at 1PM on Sunday. This one also available on the ACCNE.

Soccer Falls Just Short to Duke


Louisville almost pulled this one off. Credit to the Cardinals for never giving up, even when facing a strong opponent. Had Louisville been able to finish against the 4th ranked Blue Devils, it would have been their second win against a top-5 team from North Carolina in as many years. As it was, Duke was able to outlast the Cards and scored the winner in the second overtime. I'll spare you the rant about college soccer post-regulation, as you've heard it before. 

As I mentioned before, I wasn't able to make it out to this one, and unfortunately it wasn't available on streaming. I was able to keep up with the great tweets by Paulie, Jared, and the women's soccer twitter page. (Jared was significantly fastest for most major events, but I'll give the WSOC twitter a pass as they usually try to make their tweets more substantial). Duke started the scoring in this one in the 24th minute, on the worst feeling goal for a keeper: a deflection off of a defender. This one can happen two ways, and I can't really say which it was since I didn't see it. Sometimes, it's just a hard hit ball that skips off of a defender and goes a different direction than you expect. I would say it's more common, though, that your defender is trying to defend the goal. A ball is hit in, a defender sticks a leg out to knock it way, instead it gets redirected the opposite way you were diving to save. This isn't an own goal because it really isn't the defender's fault, but it hurts just the same.

Louisville was able to get the equalizer ten minutes later on an Emina Ekic penalty. It was Ekic's 7th goal of the season. Some may think that having the majority of goals coming from one player shows a lack of team scoring depth, but that isn't really the case in soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Clint Dempsey are all names you associate with scoring goals. These teams aren't one dimensional, it's just that players that are good at scoring will end up scoring most of your team's goals. I believe that is the case with Louisville this year. They have a lot of players that can score the ball, but the position Ekic plays in the center, lends itself to getting most of the opportunities. It's good for the Cards that she can finish them.

The Cards and Blue Devils went into the locker room tied at one, but it wouldn't remain that way for long. Louisville earned a corner in the first two minutes of the second half, and Inger Katrine-Bjerke headed home the Ekic cross. Louisville led 2-1, but a one goal lead is hard to hold for 43 minutes, especially against the fourth ranked team in the country. That proved to be true, as Louisville was unable to extend their lead, and Duke pulled level with a goal off of a cross in the 75th minute. There was plenty of time left, but neither team could score. The first overtime went off without much excitement, with Duke picking up the only shot of the period and Gabby Kouzelos saving it away. It was just a few minutes into the second overtime, though, that a Louisville foul led to another deflected Duke goal, and thus the end of the game.

A frustrating finish for the Cards, no doubt, as they looked to complete the upset, but not a loss to hang heads over. They didn't beat themselves, and they hung tough with a highly ranked team. Duke showed why they were ranked so highly last night, proving their resiliency on the road. Louisville falls to 1-3 in conference, but if they can string together performances last night against more ACC teams, they've got a good chance to finish the season at .500 or better in conference. They will get another opportunity when they travel to Clemson next Thursday.

David Padgett Named Interim Head Coach of MBB


This one can be called an upset as well because many thought other options would be a better pick or have a better shot. I'll spare you the reading of my thoughts on this week in men's college basketball and Louisville's involvement. Tune into the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour on 100.9 WCHQ, the WCHQ app, or CrescentHillRadio.com at 11:00 AM and you're likely to hear my thoughts, along with those of Paulie and Jeff. However, you've already read the takes of four writers here, and likely seen thoughts from countless other places. So, as I said, I'll spare you. I will mention the news from yesterday, though. Louisville has named former Cardinal favorite, David Padgett, as the interim head coach. 

Although it was widely speculated that this would be the move, and even more so after it was reported the players wanted Padgett to receive the opportunity, I was surprised by this selection. Dr. Greg Postel, interim president of the University, said during Tuesday's press conference that they were attempting to clean house. I'm not sure how hiring from within shows an inclination of cleaning house. I also don't know how we can be 100% sure of Padgett's lack of involvement. I'm not accusing or speculating that he was involved. I just don't understand the thought process. Louisville wants to play this season as if nothing has happened, as I understand it. They do not want the kids on the team to be penalized. If that is the case, why put a coach that may be judged to have committed wrongdoing in charge? If Padgett is found to be involved, and I truly hope he is not because I like him a lot, this only invites more chaos after the fact. Of course, Louisville could already see the writing on the wall as far as sanctions go and just want to give the players what they want in what could and will be many of the players' final season as Cardinals. Either way, I wish Coach David Padgett the best in this upcoming season. It will be an uphill battle and he will be thrown into the fire of what is an extremely challenging schedule. I just hope they all have fun while doing it. After all, they're just kids trying to live out their dream. (Except Brian Bowen. Please get him off of the roster and stop letting him practice. His involvement in events is clear and his continued connection with the team can only hurt his *former* teammates.)

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Friday, September 29, 2017

First of two Friday articles...JC Sullivan weighs in on Pitino, Louisville basketball -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE




A Brief History of Louisville Basketball and a lot of Conjecture

A Brief History:

Once upon a time there was a coach named Rick Pitino.  He was a great coach.  He had come into UK, cleaned up the program, played it straight, and even won a national championship.  Time goes by and he is brought in to UofL to do the same thing. As much as we all love Denny Crum, you have to admit things were never right after Wade Houston left. He was the yang to Denny's yin. He was a great recruiter and a great coach. Jerry Jones, Denny's right hand man, left and the decline was unpalatable.  Desperation led to poor recruiting choices and problems in the program.  Pitino is hailed as the hero come to save us. Some resent him, I will admit, I did, both because our beloved Denny was pushed out and that Pitino was once the enemy (UK).  Athletic director and all around wizard Tom Jurich knew all of the ill will could be cured by doing what Pitino does best - WIN.  And he did.  That first year he finished 19-13, but it was a winning record.  Never again did a Pitino team turn in less than a 20 win season.  In his fourth season he had us in the Final Four.  

Fast forward to 2009. Just three weeks after an upset loss in the Elite Eight Pitino released a statement that he was the victim of an extortion attempt.  Accusations of rape are then made by the extortionist Karen Sypher, but police find her less than credible.  Sypher is convicted but the extortion trial brings shame and ridicule. A 15 second tryst in a restaurant bathroom is the news that struck the University of Louisville.  The news media and Big Blowhard Nation had a field day.  Fans were divided.  Some clamored for his ouster.  Some claimed it had nothing to do with basketball.  Jurich defended Pitino.  I like Jurich, so like many UofL fans, I accepted that Pitino remains our coach.  I have never liked the guy and still don't, but red is the color of my heart.  

Going into the 2011-2012 season, Pitino was winning games but I remained at best, meh, on my feeling for him. 10 years and I still wasn't there. I missed Denny.  I wanted players with talent, passion, humor and embodied the love of Louisville I remember from the 1980 team.  I was sure I would never feel that again.  I loved my Cards. I cheered, but I still something was missing.  I just didn't feel it with Pitino.  

And then something happened- the 2012 Big East tournament. Pitino made some remark about having fun.  It was like a switch.  I watched him throw up his hands and shake his head at Russ.  A smile flashed on PeyPey's face, and then Gorgui's.  The camera panned to Pitino and he was laughing. Suddenly, I saw him having fun, enjoying this great beautiful thing that is Louisville Basketball. That is what had been missing! Had it been there the whole time and I missed it?  Or was there a change in Pitino?  I don't know and I am not sure that I care. I just know I was happy. The mojo was back.

They weren't supposed to win it. They were ranked 7th.  But they smiled, and they laughed, and they played loose. And they won. And Pitino, at long last, seemed to be having fun.  That carried into the NCAA. When Louisville, unexpectedly made the Final Four, I just knew we were going to win.  In short and bitter fashion, Kentucky crushed that dream, but even losing to our arch-rival couldn't stifle my renewed passion.  

I had taken a 2nd job working at the KFC Yum! Center.  I could never afford MBB season tickets so I worked every game I could the next season. There were games I was assigned as a ticket scanner where I never saw even a second of the game, but I was there, feeling the energy.  Soon I found my niche of working as a "stacker", the person out front welcoming fans, chasing scalpers and managing lines to get in. The best part was I finished work as soon as the crowd was in, early in the half and almost every game someone would give me a ticket they couldn't use.  The morning of the UK game I had to leave my brother's funeral and rush to Yum! to help with the large crowd. With no prospect for a ticket I doubted I would see the game but being there was something else.

At the last minute a friend, Dan Farmer, a UK fan (they aren't all bad), said when I got off work I could use his ticket to show my boss so he would let me staying the building (Glad, the boss never asked to scan it)  I got to watch the 2nd half of the game where Pitino finally bested Calipari.   I bought my Final Four tickets that night.  The game was fun again. The best part was the way Pitino talked about his players throughout the season.  You could tell he loved those kids like Denny loved his team.  I found myself feeling the same way about Luke, Gorgui, SVT, Russdiculous, Trez, Tim, Kevin, all of them as I did about Darrell, the McCrays, Jerry, Roger, Wiley, Derek, Tony, Poncho and the whole '80 team.  We all know what happened. That banner waves in KFC Yum! Center. (For now)  

A piece of the Final Four floor hangs in my house as the center logo hangs in Yum!  No one can take those memories away.  It happened. I was there.


But the feelings of elation were short lived. The scandal broke in Fall of 2015.  It was bad.

Strippers, players, recruits, and prostitution were all paid for by assistant coach, Andre McGee. The sanctions, the appeal were tough.  The idea that the banner could come down breaks the spirits of fans and all of our hearts.




If you have read this far, I hope you stick with it.  I don't know if this is what happened but at worst you'll get to see how my crazy mind works.



And now a lot of conjecture:


I don't think Pitino had a clue what McGee was doing.  Whether other assistants did or not,
my guess is at least some other staff knew.  Pitino was truly blindsided.  I believe he really was broken up about Damion and Trey missing their only shot at a NCAA tourney.  All of those feelings felt genuine. The process took its toll.  Pitino looked skinny and gaunt.  He aged years in a very short period.

The shoe dropped (foreshadowing pun) and we were going to lose the banner.  Yeah, we were appealing, but no one realistically thought we could save it.  Once Ramsey was ousted Jurich lost his ally to keep Pitino. The new board wanted Pitino's head on a platter.  Interim President Pinto didn't really seem to have the interest in tackling the whole scandal and got out of town at the first opportunity when the University of Cincinnati presidential position became vacant.  (I don't blame him.) 

In comes Greg Postel.  He wants the full time gig.  He has to make his mark to get it.  It is reported to me he has high morals and integrity and is disgusted by the scams and high payouts to Ramsey and his cronies, including Tom Jurich.  The university is in serious financial trouble due to the shenanigans.  Jurich didn't play a part but he benefited greatly.  That ticked off Postel even more.  Add in the fact that athletic department, the richest basketball program, was flush with cash and ever expanding while the university was forced into layoff and even eliminating already reduced funding to the student paper.

Postel and Jurich strained to present a working relationship but it was obvious a lower struggle between 2 alpha males.  It made me think we should be called The Ducks, calm on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath.  Postel strong-armed money from athletics for the KFC Yum! Center refinancing.  Jurich does a very Jurich thing and one up a him with the new $160 million deal with Adidas with no notice or approval from Postel.  Both say it was his deal to make but both know it was to show Postel up.

Since the beginning Postel and the new board have pushed to get rid of Pitino.  His "sexcapades" and scandals have embarrassed the university and are poised to cost millions in returning tournament money and fines. Jurich resists every appeal from them to fire Pitino.  He is loyal.  Loyal to a fault we have come to find.  

Pitino knows Jurich is protecting him, but he knows once the appeal is lost all bets are off.  He also can't stand the thought of losing that championship.  He begins to realize the only thing that can save face and quite possibly his position is to win it all now.  He has the pieces, the players to make a run, but a run won't do it. Much like watching the full eclipse we recently witness, the difference between 99% and a full eclipse is literally night and day.  It must be a championship.  In order to win, his players must be inspired or challenged to work harder than they ever have.  In particular, Ray Spalding has to make that jump, or we need another talent, another spark.  With a scholarship open and late in the process there are only a couple blue chip players not committed.  He loses out on one to another school.

Playing it straight just doesn't work since the shoe companies have been money players in the AAU/college game

He needs that championship.  He is tired of the look of fire in Postel's eyes, the disappointment by Jurich despite his loyal defense.  He wants to feel what I described above, utter joy. I believe he even feels he owes it to the fans.  I know, pie in the sky, but I do think he loves the fan base even if he feels above us.  And so the overtures made to him by certain people to put blue chippers in Adidas and grab more of Nike's market share suddenly becomes a necessary evil.  Part of him even feels like he is being persecuted for something he didn't do so why not.  Everyone else is doing it. All the excuses everyone uses when they justify doing wrong.  He needs to replace that banner.  He needs to have one more success to wash away these scandals.

And so he goes down the rabbit hole.


Julie "J.C." Sullivan

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Jeff McAdams catches us up and weighs

OK, yes, I'll share my thoughts on the big UofL happenings of this week, though I really don't want to, but first let's run down the weekend schedule

Swimming


Swim Swam News just came out with their power rankings for the season and UofL swimming landed in 6th place, the same place their finished off last year in the national rankings.  They sang the praises of Mallory Comerford, of course, and with good reason, and spoke of the young sprinters also on the team and hinted that they would be getting more visibility this year.

They will be in exhibition action with an intra-squad meet starting at 3 today at the Ralph Wright Natatorium.  It continues tomorrow with an 8 am start

Softball


Softball finishes up their fall exhibition play this weekend with a 4 pm start at Ulmer today and a
noon start tomorrow.  We're hearing word of a bulked up pitching staff and some great offensive firepower joining the squad.  I haven't been able to make it to any of the fall play, thanks to the hectic fall sports schedule otherwise, but I'm looking forward to the spring.

Tennis and Golf


The men racket Cards are participating in the Commodore Scramble all day, today and through the weekend...I'm presuming that's at Vanderbilt.  While Men's Golf are in action at the UofL Golf Club (ULGC) out in Simpsonville for the Cardinal Challenge, again through the weekend.

Mark Beckham takes the Women's Tennis squad to Miami (OH) today, tomorrow and Sunday as well.

Field Hockey


As is typical for Field Hockey, the Friday game is in-conference, this week against Syracuse, and because it's ACC Field Hockey, we need to check on what the opponent is ranked...because they will be...and sure enough, The Orange are sitting in 7th.  The Cards did move up one spot after a couple of good wins last week against Wake Forest and James Madison, both ranked teams, and sits in 12th.  This one starts at 3:30 this afternoon with the usual ACC Network Extra coverage.  There's a coin flip chance of hearing former basketballer and all-around great person Cortnee Walton on the call as she has been doing a number of the ACC Network Extra events this year, building her film roll as she works her way into the field.

The Sunday game should give the Cards a little bit of a breather, but emphasis on little.  Central Michigan comes calling with a 1pm first pass-back, also available on ACC Network Extra.  C Michigan is unranked, but always dangerous.

Soccer


The Women get it started at Lynn with a 7 pm first kick against Duke.  The women are still looking to climb their way to .500 in conference, and hopefully beyond, but Duke, sitting at 3-0 in conference play, looks to be a real challenge.  Should be a beautiful night, maybe take a light jacket as the sun goes down, at Lynn to cheer on the Soccer Cards.

The Men also play Duke this weekend, but this one is down in Durham and Saturday at 7pm.  It also will be carried on ACC Network Extra, as will the women's match up tonight.


Volleyball


A tall task on order for the wide-net Cards tonight as Florida State comes to town.  The only ranked team in the ACC, the Seminoles are sitting in the 21st spot, down a couple of places from last week.  Again, ACC Network Extra has the call on this one, for the 7pm first serve at Cardinal Arena.

The visits from Florida continue Sunday with Miami being the guests at Cardinal Arena.  A 1pm start for this one, also on ACC Network Extra.  Another challenge for The Cards with Miami being undefeated on the season, and, yet, not ranked, though they are receiving votes.


Football


Murray State comes to PJCS with a 3:30 start on the Raycom Sports Network, which probably means a Fox Sports channel of some sort. Murray State beat Louisville 120-0 back in the 1930's . That won't happen tomorrow. 

Radio


The 3:30 start for football gives Paulie and Case enough time to do the radio show and still head over to PJCS to make it to the game, so check us out this week on Crescent Hill Radio for our weekly round-up of sports coverage.  We usually focus on women's sports, in line with our mission, but I suspect a fair amount of the time will be taken discussing the events surround Men's Basketball this past week.

Jared has his duties with his job that actually gives him a paycheck, imagine prioritizing that over Cardinal Couple, I just don't get it, but there's no drop-off in our sub rotation with Cardinal Couple as we've got Daryl Faust joining us.  I look forward to hearing her thoughts on this whole mess as well.


The Elephant in the Room


OK, I guess I have to share my thoughts.  Bear with me as this may be a bit jumbled and random.

I've always been a sports fan, but I've never been the sort of sports fan that intertwines their emotional well-being with the ups and downs of the teams that I cheer for.  Some of this is just a natural result of my tendency to be pretty even-keeled in my response to things (that's not always a good thing, folks, but it works for me in situations like this).

The latest discussion on this whole works is, "Is Pitino Coach-2?"  I don't know, and frankly, I don't care.  The culture of an organization comes from the top down.  Businesses are wise to keep this in mind, but so are university athletic departments, and even universities as a whole.  There has been, and continues to be (witness the parade of leaders with the word "Interim" in their titles) a great deal of turmoil and turnover at the top ranks of UofL as a whole.  James Ramsey, certainly a nice guy with a great vision for the university, departed under less than ideal circumstances, and in hindsight it seems, while his motives were probably good, he surely played fast and loose on the running of the university.  That creates the culture.

I similarly think Jurich has and had the best of motives for the UofL Athletic department, but I have always had this nagging feeling that he has been willing to "play the game" a little bit.  While I don't want to call into question, at all, the qualifications and effectiveness of any members of the Jurich family, the large number of people with the last name of Jurich in positions of significance in and around the university athletic department has always seemed ever so slightly unsettling.  Mark, Hailey, and others have, by all accounts, been supremely competent in their positions, and I have no reason to question their capabilities, or their qualifications.  The presence of so many people with the same last name, however, does tend to tamp down on contrary opinions being expressed, puts a damper on the ease of comfort of people in the environment to sound a word of caution.  This continues the culture.

Pitino is a fantastic coach, without any question.  From day one, however, I have had a similar sort of unease about his position.  Without any personal interactions with the man, and based purely on his public persona, the string of personal, and now professional, scandals are certainly off-putting.  Professionally, I believe his motives, like those of Jurich and Ramsey, were good.  Personally, that's a little harder to say.  I defended him after the Porcini's incident because he came clean about a personally embarrassing situation, and he studiously worked to avoid, even before it became public, involving the university and UofL Athletics, beyond merely his position as coach at the institution.  There was not even the slightest hint of impropriety from the perspective of NCAA regulations or even at the university.  This was purely a personal scandal, and honestly, I don't really care about his personal life any more than I care about the personal life of any other random person I might meet on the street.  Which is to say I wish him well, good health and happiness, as a fellow member of the human race.

The more recent scandals, however, suggest some problems on the professional side of things.  With evidence that Pitino knew about the goings on.  There is certainly a question about should he have known if he was providing appropriate oversight.  The newest scandal at the very least doubles down on the lack of oversight concern, and while the allegations so far, as I understand them, don't implicate "Coach-2" inherently in any wrong-doing, they suggest some, and now we also have the suggestion that "Coach-2" = Pitino.  Evidence is getting a might bit circumstantial, here.
the Katina Powell to-do, there still hasn't been any credible

All of that, however is about the "legalities" of all of these problems (using "legalities" somewhat loosely to include NCAA regulations), the bigger problem, however, comes back to the culture.  The culture created here, and again, it flowed down from Ramsey, through Jurich, and to Pitino, is a culture of trust and loyalty.  Now, that sounds weird to put it in that way, as trust and loyalty are generally considered positive traits.  Taken to an extreme, however, they become a problem as they start to interfere with good decision making.

That's what I think has happened here, and that's why I agree with those who say it's time to clean house.  I think, however, that process of cleaning house started some time back with the replacement of Ramsey.  Again, let me be clear that I don't question the motives of anyone, here.  I believe everyone involved at all levels wanted what's best for UofL, and wanted to do things "right".  So Ramsey was removed from his position and we now have Greg Postel in an interim position.  He gives every indication of working to change the culture to one where this is more accountability, and a less, but appropriate, level of trust and loyalty.  It's unfortunate that it took such a crazy scandal to force such a change in the culture of athletics and specifically within the Men's Basketball program, and we don't know for sure that that's really what will happen, here, but we can hope.  Do similar changes need to happen within other programs?  I haven't the foggiest, but as culture does flow down from the top, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it is needed.  Let's hope that culture change can be accomplished in a less drastic fashion and allow the current staff to adjust to a new way of doing business and retain their roles.

-- JMcA

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Louisville Basketball -- SHOCKED. THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



(EDITOR NOTE: TODAY'S ARTICLE BY JARED ANDERSON IS A LOT OF HIS OPINION BUT HE STARTS IT OFF WITH THE BACK STORY AND FACTS. A VERY FINE PIECE OF WRITING TODAY FROM HIM. -- PAULIE) 


Shocked.

It's the pone most word that seems to be most common right now. With the fan base, media, observers. Not just Louisville, either

Shocked.

Everyone is shocked about what happened. It's the biggest news ever to hit the college basketball world and it has sent things spiraling out of control. 

The country is shocked. 



"DeJuan...you ain't gonna believe this $#!*"
Tuesday Morning will be a day we remember a long time. The FBI went public about an investigation that they have been doing for the past three years on college basketball regarding bribes and corruption. Although the investigation is ongoing, they did release information that 10 people, four assistant basketball coaches included, have been a major part of the investigation. There is more to come. The FBI says they have the"playbook." After all this time, they also probably  have the football, ticket rights, keys to the locker rooms, right to hire the officials and their own scorekeeper. 


Chuck Person (Auburn). Emanuel Richardson (Arizona). Lamont Evans Oklahoma St.) and Troy Bland (USC) will be known as the original "Filthy Four" and are the assistant coaches that have now found themselves faced with the distinct possibility that they'll be going from the hardwood to the prison yard. 

The allegations state they they took cash bribes to send talented basketball recruits in the direction of certain schools. And agents. 

The FBI and US Attorney's Division also stated that there were schools involved with "sportswear companies" and large payments were directed to recruits. The University of Louisville is not directly mentioned in the original allegations. It was, however, later confirmed that UofL was the school that gave a then-unnamed player $100,000 to come play basketball. It didn't take rocket science to figure out it was five-star recruit Brian Bowen...who, as of yesterday, was still on the Belknap campus and seen going into the YUM! Practice Facility .

In a press conference Wednesday, UofL interim president Greg Postal reported that Rick Pitino is on unpaid administrative leave and Tom Jurich is on paid administrative leave. Why the difference? Because of the difference in the nature of their contracts with the University. Postal said yesterday that he hoped to have an interim head basketball coach and an interim athletic in place within 48 hours. That time frame would make it sometime Friday afternoon. 

BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER...please note that everything here on out is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of UofL nor the staff and writers here at CARDINAL COUPLE. 



First, let's look at and talk about the recruits. These kids don't even have driver's licenses the first time a college basketball coach shows interest in them. They're still living the high school life under their parent or parent's roof. If I were in their shoes and someone offered me $100,000 plus a full ride to go play basketball at any school, I wouldn't hesitate in saying "YES". That money can go a long way for family -- especially for those that are less fortunate. And, most of the recruits don't know any better, anyway. I can't put the blame on them. After all, they are just kids. 




RICK PITINO


Rick Pitino, you must go. Your time has come and gone. Thank you for your 16 years of dedication with the Louisville men's basketball program. However, I do not thank you for three scandals. In fact, your rear end probably should have been gone after the Sypher affair. But, you were successful. Tom Jurich stands behind his coaches. 

I will give Pitino the benefit of the doubt on the Katrina Powell/Andre McGee issues where you pleaded ignorance. Evenif I find that hard to believe. But another major scandal involving huge sums of money and you are pleading ignorance again? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I'm not buying it this time. You were the head coach for a highly successful basketball program with a rich and proud heritage and history. You've been known to micromanage. There is "no way in hell" you knew absolutely nothing about this. Please stop threatening to fight this or sue UofL. If you are truly a Louisville First guy, then you should open your eyes and see what's best for this University and just go. No fighting, no whining. After all, you are getting a $4 million buyout. 

I umpire baseball. Rick, three strikes and you are out. Go back to the dugout and no lip, please. 

TOM JURICH



Tom Jurich...my best guess is that you are gone also and I support that decision. Giving Pitino chances two and three was ultimately your downfall. You've been known to give out multiple chances before (see Football and Lacrosse). At times, I agree that people deserve a second chance. Bobby Petrino has seemingly turned over a new leaf. Our beloved CARDINAL COUPLE leader Paulie speaks glowingly and positively on the culture and attitude Kellie Young has brought to Lacrosse. They changed and we have benefited from it.

In Pitino's case, though, it's nearly destroyed the reputation of the school. 

There's a huge part of me that wants to thank you. Thank you for what you've done for this university. What you've done for UofL's Athletic Department is a true fairytale story. When you first put on the Red and Vlack in 1997, football was in shambles and was nervously building a new stadium with a sub-par coach at the helm. 

In the twenty years that you've been here it's unreal how drastically things have changed, mostly for the better. Under your leadership we saw the finishing of Papa John's Cardinal stadium plus two expansions.

We saw the renovation of Owsley B. Frazier Cardinal Park. Ulmer Stadium. The Bass-Rudd Tennis facility, Trager Field, the Ralph Wright Natatorium, the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium, Jim Patterson Stadium, Lynn Stadium, the YUM! Practice Facility, Cardinal Arena renovation, the University Club, the University of Louisville golf club, the boathouse on the Ohio River for rowing, playgrounds, walking tracks, a new student-athletic facility on 4th street and the move from Freedom Hall to the KFC YUM! Center. Have I missed anything? 

The way Tom Jurich has built this athletic program is unbelievable. Beside the facilities above (and it's been said that if there's not a crane in the air, Jurich is in despair.) we have seen nothing but the best coaches for each of our sports and not just the big ones. 

Paulie tells the story of the early days when he was thinking about a website that features UofL women's sports. He went to two people back in 2008 and asked their opinions. One is no longer a part of UofL athletics but thought it had some merit. You, Tom, gave Paulie a big "thumbs up" and told him that you would be there for him if he ever needed anything. He hasn't ever had to play that "ace in the hole" card -- but it meant and still means a lot to him. 


With Cardinal Couple being a UofL women's sports media organization, I do want to especially mention how he helped build women's basketball, field hockey, volleyball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and swimming into well-respected programs. You took a chance on a assistant from Maryland who stuttered a lot and was color-blind to guide the WBB program. You brought in established and well-respected coaches to build softball and lacrosse programs from the ground up. Currently, there are 12 Division I women's programs at UofL. They compete in one of the premier conferences in college athletics. We've gone from the MVC to the ACC. 



But, Tom -- it's time for you to go, too. It is unclear how guilty you are in the matter or if you are just the sacrificial lamb or scapegoat in the whole situation, but we need to do what's best for this university and that is...

Cleaning the house thoroughly. 

You gave a lot of coaches and players a second chance over the years. You stood by them. Will the administration and board give you the first second-chance you've ever required? Probably not. Your fate rests in the hands of others...something you haven't had to endure in a very long time. 



THE FANS

Ah, the fans.


This is the trickiest for us. Beside the student-athletes, we're also getting screwed. As fans we had nothing to do with any of this but it feels like we're being punished the worst. Stress, humiliation, shock, confusion, uncertain, rage and disillusionment. Maybe we need a three-hour therapy session (free admission) in Papa John's in the near future. With an open bar. 

One thing I have always said is that "true fans are there through the best and the worst of times." It's great and so much fun to celebrate the "highs" but we also need to be there for the "lows". 

Welcome to the "Lows". And I'm not talking about the hardware store, either. 

As fans, we are needed now more than ever. There is a university with students, staff, faculty and athletes that are hurting. 



Here is my call to the fans. You, me, Paulie and all Cardinal fans. Support all of our athletes, not just men's basketball. They need you right now. Go to games. Go to more games than you normally do. Cheer harder. Cheer louder. It may not takeaway the pain entirely but this can help ease it. We must not give up on the University of Louisville. We are One. We are a FAMILY. WE ARE LOUISVILLE CARDINALS.


Go Cards!
Jared Anderson

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL SCANDAL -- MORE SPORTS...JARED ANDERSON ON WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



CARDS MEN'S BASKETBALL ROCKED WITH FBI INVESTIGATION

Update. 1:05 p.m.  Interim UofL President Greg Postal and the board have placed A.D. Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave and head basketball coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave. They are not fired...yet. They have different contract structures. They are waiting on more information from the FBI. The University expects to name an interim A.D. and interim men's head basketball coach within 48 hours...

Update. 11:50 AM. It is being reported that Rick Pitino has been let go and Tom Jurich also is gone. There is a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m. We will monitor and report on it. 

There's a giant elephant in the room down at the Louisville men's basketball program so let's just get right to it. MBB continues to dig a deeper and deeper grave. The program is still recovering from the Stripper Scandal and now finds it is the subject of an FBI Investigation. 

An assistant coach receiving money from Adidas. Another involved in taped conversations in Vegas.  A  top-flight player (Brian Bowen) suddenly committing to Louisville (after Adidas sinks $100,00 into his parents' bank account). 

This isn't conjecture or 'he-said, she-said' innuendo. This is the FBI saying to Louisville (and four other Universities): 

"We have your playbook." 

Felony crimes. Evidence from the top investigative agency in the nation. 

It is importnat to note that this does not directly involve the women's athletic programs we follow here at CARDINAL COUPLE. But the side effects, the spin-off and future damage is evident, real and a plain disgrace. 

I expect to see a boatload (or big Cardinal nest) of fines. I mean A LOT. And, this goes way beyond the NCAA at some point. Someone, somewhere in college athletics is going to find themselves behind bars at some point. I also expect a mass cleansing of the Louisville Athletic Program.


I can see Pitino...gone. I can see Jurich...gone. I can see penalties of the strictest measure placed upon the program. THIS IS, OF COURSE, JUST MY OPINION AND BEST GUESS. Paulie will have some editorial comments at the end my column today. 

In the mean-time, let's pick ourselves up off the mat, get back to the corner and try to come out for another round. We promore the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Let's go there...

Ayeshia McFerran, Louisville Field Hockey's goal-keeper, deserves a huge shout-out for being named the ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Week. The superstar net defender came up with seven saves in two wins over two top 15 opponents. The Net Stick Girls are now 6-4 and remain highly ranked in the NCAA DI polls. Has anyone played a tougher schedule that Justine Sowry's squad in the first ten games? They are home against Syracuse this Friday at 3:30 and Central Michigan on Sunday 1 p.m. 

They deserve your support. Head to Trager Field and cheer for them. Admission is free for all regular-season Louisville Field Hockey contests. 


Because I'm still hyped up over their win over Miami 1-0 on the Lynn pitch, a big congratulations to Louisville women's soccer. The Kickin' Cards get their first conference win over the year. Let's hear it for Wonder Women Emina Ekic...a Louisville native...and a freshman who leads the Cards in scoring with six goals. She is truly something special. 

At 7-4, Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes kickers still have a bit of work to do to reach Case's prediction of a 12 win season. That work continues of Friday with a 7:00 p.m. match against #4 Duke in Lynn. Ferguson-Dayes has a press conference (I guess it is still on) for today at 3:30 p.m. to talk about the match-up. Paulie will be there and report on it in his Thursday column. 

The Louigans are planning a "Red-Out" for the game. Come hear our chants, watch us bang the drums and you're invited to get rowdy with us down in the southeast corner of the seats. Women's soccer is a ticketed event...but well worth the admission price. $5 and kids under two get in free. A huge playground for the kids, berm seating and concessions for all. Be there. 


Volleyball also heads to the floor...they'll bring in FSU Friday night 7 p.m. over at Cardinal Arena. They're coming off a road loss to UNC after they defeated Notre Dame...so they'll be expecting your support. I know I'll be at WSOC, Jeff will be at Volleyball...the question is where will Case and Paulie end up? 

Alex, give me women's soccer for $500, please. Paulie in the press box and Case in the seats. 

Finally, I will be out of studio for THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR on Saturday (work obligations) but Paulie has filled my chair admirably with Daryl Foust . The co-host of Kentucky Women Talk Sports and ACC Network Extra announcer should have plenty to say about the current situation going on at UofL. Also, funnyman Bryan Cohen will call-in with the second in his series craziness...Bryan Cohen Looks At The Sports World. 

- JARED ANDERSON - 


PAULIE WEIGHS IN ON BASKETBALL SCANDAL


PHOTO BY CHARLIE SPRINGER. UofL CARD GAME.
Someone (or someone's) down at the UofL Men's Basketball program need to re-enroll in classes at take Common Sense 101. 

- Why does a five-star, one-and-done basketball recruit suddenly call Rick Pitino out of the blue in June and tell him, "Hey, Coach! I'm coming to Louisville" ?. 

- Who had the brilliant idea to have a discourse with Adidas about getting money to Brian Bowen and a 2019 recruit? 

- Who authorized these reprehensible, heinous felonies? 

A recent (like 12 hours ago) poll had 70% of the respondents wanting Pitino gone. Rick, of course, is wondering "what the hell is going on?" It seems he doesn't know much about what's happening in the program he is head coach of these days. He's lawyered-up, also...never a good sign. 

Jurich is the athletic director, the Godfather...if you will...of the University of Louisville Athletic Program. Are his hands clean? Is there plausible deniability here?  Does Jurich get the boot as well? 


Stay positive, Louisville fans! 
Questions...yes, many questions. A nervous and, in many cases, disillusioned UofL fan base waits, wonders and worries. Are you one of them? Sound off in the comments section...if you like. We'll have a little group therapy. 

Meetings today with the interim president and the athletic department. Will heads roll? Whatever happens, I sincerely hope UofL doesn't hire a Chuck Smrt type to run interference in this issue. Take the medicine as prescribed. You and the other four schools. You screwed up this time, Lloyd. Time to pay. 

This is the FBI. These are felonies. 

In the words of The Talking Heads:

"Thos ain't no party, this ain't no disco...this ain't no foolin' around."  

VIDEO


paulie
xxxxx






Tuesday, September 26, 2017

CARDINAL COUPLE...Parts I and II Today -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE




PART I -- Radio and Anthems

We'll be coming at you in two parts today. 

I have an interview with Coach Kellie Young (Lacrosse) later this morning. I'll be posting that later...check back.


For the now, I'm readying myself for my Tuesday Morning chat with Howie Lindsey. WE review the weekend in sports....mostly, but not limited to, women's sports. Howie brings me on each week and it's worth getting up a little early for.

We air around 7:40 something and I get anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It's always a fun time and I'm glad that we can get a little information out there about how the UofL women are doing. You can listen at 790 WKRD or on the IHeart app. 

He may bring up the National Anthem controversy. I have mixed feelings about it. How do you feel about it? Give us your take in the comments section. Would you "take a knee"? How do you feel about that? 

We'll be back later this morning. Go out and get something done. Make breakfast. Go to work. Hit the gym or go to class in the meantime. Be productive...but if you need that extra rest or sleep, don't deprive your body. After all, it's the only one you'll get issued.

Listen here!   Louisville First with Howie Lindsey


PART II -- THE KELLIE YOUNG INTERVIEW

(THERE IS A LINK TO THE FULL INTERVIEW AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE) 
PRE-PRESS BOX LOOK

One of the most beautiful sites on the Belknap Campus is the view from Kellie Young's office. On a bright, sunny Tuesday morning I entered that office a little before 9 a.m. and just had to stop and revel in it a few seconds before Coach and I "got down to it". 

A sun splashed green, artificial turf...illuminated and the unmistakable Louie the Cardinal Bird logo at midfield. A new turf, and new Bird. Absolutely beautiful. In the distance, the South Side of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and the renovation cranes and stark, steel beams.

I have seen some wonderful things out of this window. On a cold and blustery day...former LAX great Nikki Boltja, by herself in an inch or two of snow...shooting a bag of Lacrosse ball at the north net. Going to gather those shots and repeating the process. The construction of the Press Box and spoofingly suggesting they name it The Cardinal Couple Memorial Press Box...since, prior to it, it seemed like Worldwide and I were the only two media representatives that regularly followed the squad. Sitting in the bleachers wth parents and Jeff's mom. I saw in my mind's eye Hannah Koloski running the field and taking passes from whomever she could get to go out there with her and firing them on the run at that north net first and then sprinting the length of the field to shoot and the south net. 

These eyes have seen many great, and a few tragic, things on that field. Upset wins. Faye Brust going down, in obvious knee pain and trying to return in the second half but unable.

I hope to see many more things there...and Faye's back! (We'll get to that....yes, the interview. Pardon me for waxing nostalgic a few paragraphs.)


Coach Young and I began our interview talking about fall practice. The squad, with nine freshmen, has been working very hard the last couple of weeks and she is seeing some great things from the newbies and the returnees. Of particular note...Lexie Ball at goalie and the freshmen Blalock twins. Seems they know a thing or two about face-off control at midfield. 

It's a big weekend for LAX. They'll face Marquette, Vandy and the alums on Saturday the 30th. Maybe a chance to hop over and see how they look while your tailgating at Football. Coach is excited about the chance to see the girls go up against some very talented competition. 

Nine freshmen in all out there. We also caught up on last year's standouts Hannah Koloski and Steph McNamara. Both are still on campus and pursuing academic and career training. We saw Steph at the recent Field Hockey game. Coach says she's seen her once, that Steph still has a hard time going back into the complex without getting quite emotional. That blur that flew past me as I walked from the lot to the Little Yum must have been Hannah. I can only assume she is preparing for the race against Jaz Jones, Jordan McNary and Minnie Mink to determine "the Queen of Speed" title. 

She's back! Cardinal lacrosse great Faye Brust is an assistant coach for Lacrosse. She embodies the spirit and culture that Young has for the program and she knows a couple of things about scoring as well. I chatted with "Fabian" very briefly after my interview with Kellie. Same ol' Faye...big grin and ready to roll. She was at Furman as an assistant when she got the call...and even brought a couple of grads from the Palladins program who have a year of eligibility left and are working in quite well with the chemistry of the squad. 

Kellie and I also touched on Sarah Blaylock's nice award during her senior year of high school and Elise Koehl's unique summer experience in Vietnam. Coach also provided her view on the National Anthem current controversy and....we have to add her to the list of those coaches without a GOLF CART! We discussed that, although she did mention that WBB has been nice enough to take her a few places in theirs. 

I learned (with a sigh of relief) that it was WBB assistant Coach Steph Norman driving and not Walz....

I'll have to double my efforts to get these nice ladies rides. I may take a knee in front of Kenny or Jurich's office. A short one...my tendinitis and bursitis won't let me stay down there long. The "GET WHEELS FOR THE COACHES" appeal is now gaining momentum.  

We learned with a sigh of relief that it was WBB assistant Coach Steph Norman driving and not Walz....


Name this coach for an entry in our $20 Panera
giveaway. Leave answer in comments section.
All too soon, our time was over. We said our goodbyes, lamented the fact that we didn't put asst. S.I.D. Nick Evans asleep during the eight minutes (he sat in with us) and let coach get to her 9:30 meeting. Nick showed me where the stairwell by Kellie's lobby went...it's a nice shortcut to the first floor that bypasses the basketball offices and puts you by the entrance to the practice court. You go through a few hallways and twists and turns...but it's functional.



They probably never should have given me a new route to plot and consider...

LINK to interview



FINALLY...

This result in from Paulie vs. the D.P.S. 

FINAL
D.P.S. 1
Paulie 0

I stopped by the D.P.S. office today after the interview and plunked down my $100 for a four-year handicap sticker. (They didn't know how much it would cost next year). IT DID NOT COME OUT OF CARDINAL COUPLE FUNDING...I shouldered the expense my-own-damn-self. 

After speaking with a few people who are paying $300 a year, I figured it was maybe my best option. 

Gotta hand it those those friendly robots in the D.P.S. office. No emotion, thank you or chatter....just give me your name, your show me your driver's license and fork over the $100. 

Or...as the late, great Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd sang...

"I got your drinkin' money...tune up your dobro." 

Guess I'll do THE SAFETY DANCE

PAULIE INTERVIEW WITH KELLIE YOUNG.


Paulie
xxxxx