University of Louisville skewers Tom Jurich in firing letter - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville skewers Tom Jurich in firing letter

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Tom Jurich, who became U of L's athletics director in 1997, engineered the school's ascent into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jurich was fired Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. Tom Jurich, who became U of L's athletics director in 1997, engineered the school's ascent into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jurich was fired Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel blasted Tom Jurich in the formal letter firing the longtime athletics director last week.

“(Y)our own willful misconduct has also been demonstrated through ineffective management, divisive leadership, unprofessional conduct, and a lack of collegiality best characterized as intimidation and bullying that extends from student government to the University's senior leadership,” Postel wrote. “This has caused substantial damage to the University.”

In the letter, Postel accused Jurich of a “consistent and willful lack of supervision of head coaches” and noted “multiple compliance lapses occurring in multiple sports.”

WDRB obtained the letter, dated Oct. 20, in a public records request.

In a response Tuesday afternoon, Jurich’s legal team called Postel’s letter an attempt to “smear the reputation of Tom Jurich” using “untrue, unproven allegations.”

They also hinted that legal action is expected.

"Tom Jurich’s legal team will vigorously defend his rights under his long-standing contract with the University of Louisville,” according to Jurich’s response. "It is unfortunate that President Postel and Board (of Trustees) Chair (David) Grissom have chosen to attempt a character assassination of a man who has done so much for Louisville."

Jurich was fired Wednesday “with cause” by the U of L board of trustees, who found he failed to live up to his employment duties.

The trustees voted 10-3 to end Jurich’s two-decade career in which the school’s athletics program made giant leaps forward but also became mired in back-to-back scandals involving men’s basketball.

The trustees who voted to oust Jurich did not publicly explain the reasons for their decision. 

But in the letter, Postel wrote that Jurich created a culture that "culminated" in the FBI investigation made public last month, in which at least one U of L basketball is implicated in a scheme to funnel $100,000 from Adidas, the school's apparel sponsor, to a prospective player in violation of NCAA rules.

He also accused Jurich of breaching his fiduciary duty to the school by entering into "multiple purported agreements or understandings" with former U of L President James Ramsey for Jurich's own benefit. Postel adds that Jurich had the "intent of concealing" those agreements from the campus and the public.

Postel did not list those agreements, but WDRB has reported that Ramsey, who resigned in 2016, amended Jurich's 2007 contract several times over the years by memos that sweetened terms or added benefits.

For instance, in 2011, Ramsey wrote a "memorandum of understanding" entitling Jurich to a year's compensation even if he is fired for cause. Postel's letter indicates that U of L will not honor that agreement, saying Jurich has forfeited "all unearned and unvested compensation" as of his firing.

WDRB first revealed last year that Ramsey used the school's foundation to promise Jurich up to $6 million in additional incentive compensation, while obligating the athletics association to pay for the benefit -- all without the approval of any university board. 

But Jurich's representatives said the agreements between him and Ramsey were subject to discovery through public records requests, and had been, in fact, extensively reported in the press.

Jurich had been promised for four years that his contract would be restated in a more straightforward structure, according to his response, but U of L has not followed through. 

Read Postel's letter and Jurich's response:

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