John Schnatter resigns University of Louisville athletics board - WDRB 41 Louisville News

John Schnatter resigns University of Louisville athletics board as Tom Jurich decries "bantering in the community"

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Papa John's International founder and CEO John Schnatter at a meeting of the University of Louisville board of trustees, of which he was a member. April 26, 2017 Papa John's International founder and CEO John Schnatter at a meeting of the University of Louisville board of trustees, of which he was a member. April 26, 2017
University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich at the ULAA board meeting, April 27, 2017. University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich at the ULAA board meeting, April 27, 2017.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s International, has resigned from the board of the University of Louisville Athletics Association two weeks after he publicly criticized longtime athletics director Tom Jurich and said the department needs to be “fixed.”

Schnatter, who remains a member of U of L’s board of trustees, resigned from the athletics board on April 21 with no explanation, U of L interim President Greg Postel said Thursday.

A spokesman at Papa John’s headquarters in Louisville did not respond to a request for comment.

On April 12, Schnatter told the board of trustees he was “scare(d)” by unspecified problems with athletics, adding that Jurich is “invisible” to the trustees, who govern the university. Schnatter has rebuffed multiple requests to elaborate, scooting past a horde of reporters at a trustees meeting Wednesday.

Without mentioning Schnatter, Jurich launched into a broad defense of the department – which he has led since 1997 – during Thursday’s meeting of the athletics board.

“I want to make sure these points get on the record because it has been very, very disappointing to hear all the bantering,” Jurich said.

He said the athletics association has no shortage of oversight, as Schnatter had implied.

“The scrutiny we are under, the microscope we are under, it’s unbelievable,” Jurich said. “But that’s what we signed up for. I came here to win.”

Jurich added that he has only rarely been asked to attend trustees meeting – a response to Schnatter’s charge that Jurich couldn’t be ordered to appear before the university’s governing board.

Jurich noted that U of L has ascended from Conference USA to the Atlantic Coast Conference under his watch, and he said “it’s time” for the association’s board members and staff to be “recognized” for the accomplishment.

“We’re an easy target for everybody. We understand,” Jurich said. “But we are going to continue to put our nose to the grindstone and continue to grow.”

Jurich told reporters Thursday that he hasn’t spoken to Schnatter about the explosive comments. Asked for his reaction to Schnatter’s charges, Jurich said, “none.”

“He’s entitled to his opinion,” Jurich said of Schnatter, one of the university’s biggest donors and the namesake for the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Asked about his relationship with Schnatter, Jurich said: “I think it’s fine. Haven’t given it much thought.”

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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