The Louisville Cardinal

John Schnatter resigns from athletics board

By Kyeland Jackson —

Papa Johns CEO and major university donor John Schnatter resigned from the U of L Athletics Association Board.

Interim President Greg Postel said Schnatter offered his resignation without reason.

“He (Schnatter) gave no reason in his resignation and he wished the University of Louisville Athletics Association well,” Postel said.

Schnatter is still a trustee on U of L’s board.

U of L trustee Jim Rogers replaced Schnatter’s position April 21, but three vacancies remain on the athletics board. Postel asked the athletics board nominate replacements by June.

Schnatter’s resignation comes weeks after he criticized athletics, saying its leadership was “invisible” and “sucking the lifeblood” of U of L.

Athletics Director Tom Jurich defended athletics during the April 27 meeting, citing athletics’ transparency and work.

“It’s been very very disappointing to hear all the bantering that’s going on. All we’ve been trying to do is do our jobs,” Jurich said, claiming athletics argued for 20 years to see how its funds were used by U of L. “For anybody to think (there) has been a closed door amongst this board, you’re sorely mistaken.”

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Miller echoed Jurich, saying athletics’ transparency gave forensic auditors new information. Miller estimated U of L and its students provide $7.3 million in benefits to athletics. Athletics, he estimated, account for $30.6 million in room and board, tuition and books.

Athletics board member Bill Stone said Schnatter is a big part of U of L’s success, but his comments were wrong.

“I have no idea what the hell he (Schnatter) was talking about,” Stone said. “I don’t think athletics has any serious issues, but I think there are bigger issues within the university.”

Stone answered questions on athletics pay globally, questioning universities who pay coaches more than presidents.

Jurich was to earn $6 million in deferred compensation packages, if he’s still athletic director by 70, thanks to an agreement with former U of L President James Ramsey. Athletics’ board considered cancelling those payments, citing the U of L Foundation’s decision to halt deferred compensation. A decision was tabled, but may be finalized in June.