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Friday, September 29, 2017

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


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 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.


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.


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.


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. 


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


  1. Great story. Really enjoyed it. I don't like either of the guys but I didn't see all the good they did up close like Louisville fans did. Those outside the market couldn't understand how Pitino ever kept his job but its easy to be hypnotized by the man. He's persuasive and a master communicater. The two articles today were fabulous.

  2. I think I like this Postel guy if it's true he really did attempt to get Jurich to fire Pitino several times prior to the 27th. He was damn serious about the culture stench even before this little escapade. Tons of respect for the man.

  3. Jeff, keep them pumped up. I'm going to agree with Wade. Keep Postal. I also think Scotty Davenport would be a great coaching hire. Your thoughts, Cardinal Couple?

    Your friend,

    David Watson

  4. The Bird Lady9/29/2017 3:00 PM

    Great column Jeff! I agree, Ramsey and Jurich started with good intentions. Ramsey lost his way and Jurich, as you said, didn't get much diverse input and lost perspective. Loyalty is fine. Blind loyalty, well ... is just blind.

  5. I agree with much of this. Surprise, huh. But I also might add that this is what happens when college sports sees only the bottom line and it becomes big business and nobody does that more the Louisville. It always seems to the money. It has a big corrupting influence on otherwise nice people.


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