Bobby Petrino Opens Press Conference by Responding to Papa John Schnatter’s Criticism of Louisville Athletics

Bobby Petrino opened his press conference this afternoon by praising AD Tom Jurich in a response directed at “Papa” John Schnatter.

Schnatter delivered a scathing criticism of the Louisville athletics department and Jurich earlier this week.

Check out Petrino’s response:

In case you missed it, here’s what Papa John had to say a few days ago:

“We’re getting ready to put $60 million in a stadium – by the way, it’s my stadium – and we’re $5 million over budget and we’ve got 10 days of cash. This is crazy,” Schnatter told trustees. “We need some redundancy. We need to be more prudent with our dollars. By the way, I mean, I win on the stadium, but it’s not healthy for the university, and that’s just wrong.”

The athletic department operates under its own budget separate from the university, and the stadium expansion is being paid for by private donations, sponsorships and ticket sales. The athletic department announced two months ago it already has $47 million raised for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, the university is facing a $48 million budget shortfall for the next year, and U of L is set to announce the findings of a forensic audit of the University of Louisville Foundation, whose finances were heavily scrutinized under former U of L President James Ramsey.

Schnatter also called athletic department leadership “invisible,” seemingly referring to athletic director Tom Jurich or his staff providing information to the university board about the athletic department’s activities.

“My issue is I think this is a three-legged stool,” Schnatter told trustees. “I think you have the foundation, the trustees and the athletic board. … The athletic thing scares me, because I’ve met with (interim U of L president) Greg (Postel), and he goes, ‘The leadership is invisible.’ And I said, ‘Well, get them in front of the trustees so we can know what they’re doing.’ And he goes, ‘Good luck. He’s invisible.’ So how do we put that third leg of the stool on notice?”

Schnatter also said the athletic department needs to be “fixed” though it wasn’t immediately clear exactly what he was referring to.

“Until you fix athletics, you can’t fix this university,” he said. “You have to fix the athletics first. I mean, I’ve looked at this eight ways to Sunday. You’ve got to fix the athletics first, and then the university will get in line.”

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