By Kyeland Jackson —
Not everyone is thrilled for athletic director Tom Jurich’s interim replacement.
U of L named Vince Tyra, a businessman and member on the University of Louisville Foundation’s board, acting athletic director Tuesday. Tyra was reportedly approached about the job when he went to the president’s suite for a beer Saturday.
Ricky Jones, chair of U of L’s Pan-African Studies department, questioned Tyra’s appointment and the university’s transparency. Jones said the move recalls questions on whether the university’s playing “inside baseball.”
“You have now a businessman and a member of the foundation board, with all of its history of shady deals, be appointed to the position of interim athletics director. If that doesn’t raise red flags, I don’t know what does,” Jones said. “I wonder if the next president will just go into a suite or a board gathering for a beer and come out with the presidency … It’s out of control.”
Jones also questioned whether race was involved, as Senior Associate Athletic Director Marvin Mitchell, a black man, did not get the position. It’s unclear whether Mitchell was offered the position and Mitchell was unavailable at the time of this post.
“I really do wonder if any black professional, any black higher ed. professional, could’ve walked into that suite just for a beer and walked out with a job like that,” Jones said. “Meanwhile, they’re forcing underpaid and underappreciated, fatigued faculty members to jump through hoops and loops just to take sabbatical. This is the world we’re dealing with right now.”
Tyra was appointed the role Tuesday, citing his business successes and ties to the athletics department among his qualifications for the position. Tyra said he will resign from U of L’s foundation to accept this new job.
“I’m not going to be a lame duck,” Tyra said at his press conference Tuesday. “Because when I’m done and it’s time for me to slap hi-five with someone else, I intend to stay around and offer as much guidance as I can.”
His appointment capped fallout from an FBI investigation alleging U of L’s basketball coaches partnered with Adidas to bribe recruits into joining the program. Since the announcement, Jurich and head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino have been placed on leave, one player has been suspended and the university’s $160 million contract extension with Adidas is in question. In the letter placing him on leave, Postel criticized Jurich for the Adidas deal, saying Jurich did not adequately notify or discuss the deal with Postel or U of L’s board.
The university began the process of formally firing Pitino Monday, but Postel said Jurich could be reinstated to his position with the university board’s approval.
File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal