RAW VIDEO | Tom Jurich will sue University of Louisville if settlement not reached, attorney says
Attorney Sheryl Snyder defended Jurich's record in the wake of a scathing termination letter.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich will sue the school for breach of his employment contract if U of L doesn't agree to a "satisfactory" settlement, an attorney for Jurich said Wednesday.
Sheryl Snyder, an experienced litigator and partner at Louisville firm Frost Brown Todd, declined to say how much money Jurich demands or set any deadline for bringing a suit.
Snyder addressed the media a day after U of L released a scathing termination letter in which interim President Greg Postel criticized Jurich’s "ineffective management, divisive leadership (and) unprofessional conduct" and twice described Jurich as a bully.
"The university has no interest in engaging Mr. Jurich’s attorneys on personnel matters in the media," U of L spokesman John Karman said on Wednesday. "Mr. Jurich’s termination letter, released yesterday, serves as our statement."
U of L’s board of trustees voted 10-3 on Oct. 18 to fire Jurich, 61, "for cause" -- meaning he failed to live up to the terms of his employment contract.
The school's athletic program made giant leaps forward during Jurich's two-decade tenure but also became mired in multiple scandals involving men’s basketball starting in 2015.
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 coach was implicated in a scheme to funnel $100,000 from Adidas, the school's apparel sponsor, to a prospective player in violation of NCAA rules.
But the termination letter makes no allegation that Jurich was directly involved in any wrongdoing related to the bribery investigation, Snyder said. He said the absence of such an allegation is a "concession that that is, in fact, not true."
Snyder sidestepped a question about Jurich's duty to oversee subordinates and ensure compliance with NCAA rules.
When asked if Jurich still bears responsibility for transgressions committed within the department, even if Jurich didn't know about them, Snyder said the board of trustees could have handled Jurich's dismissal in a "business-like" manner by terminating him without cause and giving him a payout.
"A lot of us can understand if you want fresh faces and that sort of thing, but that’s not termination for cause," he said.
Snyder also said there is nothing in Jurich's personnel file or a recent employment evaluation substantiating Postel's claim of "bullying" behavior.
"The gratuitous allegation that Tom is a bully is simply over-the-top and not true," Snyder said.
Snyder also cited statements he said were made by Postel earlier this year praising Jurich's meticulous adherence to NCAA regulations as evidence against claims in the termination letter that Jurich has tolerated a culture of non-compliance for years. Snyder called such a claim "demonstrably false."
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