A transcript of remarks from U of L athletic director Tom Jurich after today's news conference announcing a partnership with Maker's Mark for a new academic center for U of L athletics . . .
Q: How are football season ticket sales?
A: We're going to sell out. We're excited about it. The suite sales are all good. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Q: What do you make of the preseason expectations for your football team?
A: Personally, I haven't followed what the expectations are. I expect we'll have a good team. I know we're still going to be a young team, but we're a young team with experience, and not many teams can say that. And that's good. That's what you strive for. Expectations are great if you manage them properly. That's what I've always told our staffs.
Q: You have a lot in place -- facilities. Is there anything...that you still want to add?
A: We want to do some things to the stadium itself, at the Schnellenberger Athletic Complex. We'd like to add on that. We'd like to grow the weight room. We need to grow the training room a little bit more, and the locker room needs to expand. So that'll be another project that's on the horizon.
Q: Mark (Jurich) did this deal. He hasn't been on the job long, but has landed some big deals for you . . .
A: You talk about expectations: I've got the highest for him, so he better get it done. He's working hard, and that's what he's supposed to do. He's got a lot of love for this university and that's one of the reasons I'm glad he's back with us. He's got incredible passion for the place.
Q: On the weight room, are there specific plans right now?
A: Yes. They're being drawn up right now. What we'll do is take that north end of the complex and continue to go out on the grassy area toward the Trager Center. So it's kind of an easy expansion, an easy drawing and all that. So they're putting that together now.
Q: Is there a timeframe for it?
A: No. We'd like to go as soon as possible, just like anything else we do.
Q: Did you like the move to let Syracuse and Pitt go early?
A: Yeah, I do. You've got to move forward. It's good for them. And it's not great for the league to have two members who don't want to be there. The one thing that I did learn when we went down for the Big East meetings in May . . . is the excitement of those seven schools that are coming in is very much parallel to the excitement we had when we came in 2005, and what all that did for us. So right now, that's where we are. We're a Big East member, we want to be the best Big East member we can, and we'll certainly keep all our options open.
Q: With all the uncertainty around conference issues, is non-conference scheduling any trickier?
A: It's always tricky in scheduling because you have so many different philosophies. Some people with their non-conference games want to make sure they're all home games and all wins. We don't do that. We want to play two very, very good BCS teams. We will play a I-AA school because we do have a big mortgage on that stadium and need home games to keep that paid. But we want to have a great schedule.
We'd like to take on all comers, but we also want to make sure -- I've said this for many, many years, and it will be a staple that I always have -- we want to have a home-and-home. Because once you do those 2-for-1 deals, you'll eat your program alive.
Q: Given the kind of conference limbo Louisville is in do you worry about the impact on recruiting?
A: I don't worry about that because I look at the personnel who are recruiting for us. I looked at John L. when he first came here, he was recruiting to Conference USA and might have put together the best team that was ever at this school. Bobby got the advantage of it, absorbing a lot of those athletes, but John L. got them to campus. But I also don't view it as limbo. Limbo is when you don't have a conference. Limbo is not having a place to play. We have a place to play. We play in great cities, we play against great teams in a fantastic conference. I saw Phil Steele ranked us over the ACC. So the Big East was ranked over the ACC in football strength, so I think those kind of things will keep coming out. Does that mean we're in concrete, absolutely not. I've been up front with everybody. We will look at all of our options -- if there are options. But there have to be options before you can look at them.
Q: How important is it to get a Big East commissioner in place and get him quickly?
A: The most important thing is to get the right guy. I'm not so big on quickly. Just get the right person, and I'm sure they'll do that. There's a lot of interest in this job, and that's exciting to hear.
Q: If you were suggesting a candidate for Big East commissioner, who might you suggest?
A: Probably Eric (Crawford). He'd be good. He's moving around jobs. He's available. No, there's a lot of good names out there. There's people out there that I've shared with the league but I won't get out there publicly. I just think it needs to be somebody who has a lot of energy and a lot of passion for the league, like I do, who believes in the Big East and believes in its growth. There's a lot of roadblocks out there, but there's a lot of roadblocks for every league.
Q: Does it need to be somebody with television network background?
A: In my opinion, no. Because you can go out and hire those consultants. What we need is a very well-rounded, comprehensive person who understands the culture of college athletics and where we want to go. We have a big benefit, that no other conference in the country has, we have the biggest media markets. We control the most television sets of any league, so that's something that's attractive that we have to go after and market.
Q: What about (Jay) Bilas?
A: He's wonderful. But I've never talked to him about it. And I'm certain Rick (Pitino) hasn't either.