Cleaning Up Corruption: University of Louisville

cbsnews Sep 27, 2017

Today Louisville effectively fired their AD and Men’s CBB Coach (CBS). Tom Jurich all but built Louisville athletics. And, Rick Pitino won two NCAA championships (1 with Louisville and 1 with Kentucky). Additionally, he took Louisville to two more final fours. All this appears to be fallout from an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

So, why do I care?

Do you remember James Ramsey? He was the ex U-of-L president. He had been there fore 14 years. Near the end of his tenure the scandals racked up at an obscene rate. I won’t list them all, but, here’s a list from the Courier-Journal.

That still doesn’t answer why I care though.

Maybe, you remember hearing Governor Bevin? He’s the man who wanted to appoint a new board of trustees for the University of Louisville. He got criticized heavily because of the threat of losing accreditation.

From the Washington Post (which promises to destroy democracy in their header):

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to appoint a new board of trustees at the University of Louisville set off alarms for the school’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This week, the head of the agency, Belle Wheelan, sent Louisville’s acting president Neville G. Pinto a letter clarifying SACS’s decision to sanction the university because Bevin has “considerable external control and influence” that “places in jeopardy board capacity to be ultimately responsible for providing a sound education program.”

I remember this time because Gov. Bevin was attacked so much. And, all I could think was that the University of Louisville was essentially operating without oversight and was (past tense?) full of corruption.

Two other points that don’t quite fit in: One, why didn’t SACS care about any of the other stuff happening at Louisville? And, two, the board was illegally filled, anyway.

Further in the article we find an explanation of Gov. Bevin’s actions:

Bevin (R) issued an executive order in June to reorganize Louisville’s governing board by appointing a new 13-member panel, with plans to fill 10 of those seats himself. He announced the decision alongside the departure of Louisville’s president, James Ramsey. At the time, the governor said he wanted to “give a fresh start” to the university, which has contended with a series of controversies surrounding its finances, sports program, board and president.

Moving on, as I stated, I was surprised how much Gov. Bevin was attacked. Here are some of the comments from around that time.

Aaron Vance (student body President, at the time) via Courier-Journal:

Gov. Matt Bevin is playing a dangerous game, and it is obvious that he is the only one who thinks the payout is worth the stakes. The accreditation of the University of Louisville is now on probation, and for the students of U of L, there is uncertainty and fear of what may happen next. It is, however, obvious to us at the university that this is not about us or the direction of our institution, it is about being right for the governor.

Antorney General Andy Beshear had this to write (WDRB):

“The governor is in denial,” Beshear said in an emailed statement. “The University of Louisville’s accreditation has been put on probation based solely on his reckless actions. He has driven the university to the edge of a cliff. I hope he doesn’t convince the legislature to push it over.”

So, to summarize. We have an extraordinarily corrupt institution. Governor Bevin, presumably, recognized the problem and wanted to fix it. The response was to claim “fear” and attack him as “reckless.” I wonder what that would look like on a much larger, much more corrupt stage?