Ramsey: University of Louisville 'very close' on decision to exp - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ramsey: University of Louisville 'very close' on decision to expand Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

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Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (Courtesy: Dalton Main) Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (Courtesy: Dalton Main)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville President James Ramsey hinted Tuesday that an expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium – which the university has been mulling since 2013 – might soon materialize.

“We're very close on the stadium expansion. We'll probably make a decision soon,” Ramsey said during a presentation to the directors of the University of Louisville Foundation.

Ramsey's off-hand remark about the football stadium came during a slideshow overview of U of L's efforts to develop its main Belknap Campus.

In late 2013, the university's athletic association issued a request for a consultant to evaluate the feasibility of expanding the 55,000-seat stadium, specifically focusing on the unenclosed north end, according to Louisville Business First.

The study would include a market analysis, peer review and suggestions of the cost and methods of financing, Business First reported at the time.

In an interview after Tuesday's foundation meeting, Ramsey said the feasibility study is still not done, and there is no timetable for the university's decision.

“We're just hopeful, with the success we've had -- ticket sales and all of our past successes -- we want to keep moving forward… But we've got to let the process play out,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he expects the study to look at “whether there is a market (for more tickets) and what the cost would be (to expand).”

Kenny Klein, a spokesman for U of L Athletics, said Tuesday the department has not received the consultant's study.

 “We're just not there yet, in terms of making any decisions,” he said.

Ramsey's comments come a few weeks after Papa John's International founder John Schnatter – whose company bought the naming right to the stadium – suggested to reporters that an expansion is in the works.

“I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, because that's (U of L Athletics Director) Tom Jurich's thunder,” Schnatter said March 10 when asked about enlarging the stadium.

But Schnatter said he and Jurich recently attended a Dallas Cowboys game in the new, $1 billion AT&T Stadium at the invitation of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – an experience that “got Tom's wheels spinning.”

“And so, he has a vision,” Schnatter said. “Once Tom has a vision, watch out. He usually makes it happen.”
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