pulls out of Wooden Award ceremony
issues 'heads up' on new spearing rule ... Huggins ouster
speeds up Cincy AD's departure
Moore sole Carolinas player on Butkus list ... New BCS
voters panel already in for shakeup
destination has well-worn path to ECU ... NCAA adds extra
year to Gamecocks' probation
nets suspension for ECU's Flournoy ... Cincinnati will enter
Big East without Huggins ... VPI poised to pony up to keep
Virginia announces halt to ECU ticket sales ... Polling
company unveils official BCS voters list
West angling for clearer path to BCS
Press preseason college football poll
signs $1.7 million per year deal with UVa
West tidying up postseason deals
1070 touts Pirates, Panthers, new shows ... Fort Worth Bowl
embraces Mountain West, TCU... NYC schools reap windfall
from NCAA-NIT deal
News Nuggets, 08.29.05
— — — — —
NOTES FROM ECU AND BEYOND...
Previous Day Nuggets...
Next Day Nuggets...
Compiled from staff reports
and electronic dispatches
New home offers lavish new
perks for Louisville
LOUISVILLE — Big money. Big time. Big
This fall, Louisville plunges into the
conference it has pursued for years and takes aim at opportunities that
seemed impossible less than a decade ago.
The fast-rising football program can
capture the biggest prize of all: an automatic bid to the Bowl Championship
Series and a multimillion dollar payoff Louisville never had a chance to win
The women's basketball team gets to rub
elbows with national powers Connecticut, Notre Dame and Rutgers, and the
men's basketball team enters a 16-team mega-league expected to be one of the
best in history.
``It's all out in front of us now. The
sky is the limit,'' said Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich.
The new league gives Louisville
exposure in nine of the nation's 33 largest media markets. It also expands
the school's recruiting range for all sports into the Northeast for the
And then there's the money. Louisville
officials know the school is going to cash in, but no one is sure how much.
Making the BCS would net the school
millions but Kevin Miller, who oversees Louisville's athletic finances, has
money questions beyond football. Among them: how the Big East will
distribute revenue from its national TV contract, how the league handles
NCAA disbursements and how much the school will spend on travel to more
distant venues in more expensive cities.
``We're going to have added money we
did not have before, we know that,'' Miller said. ``To put a number on that
right now, I can't do that.''
Louisville failed in its first
overtures to the Big East in the mid-1990s. The school was two years into
its Conference USA membership when Jurich arrived in October 1997.
After he sized up Louisville's
problems, Jurich realized C-USA was about the best league the school could
attract. The men's basketball and women's volleyball programs faced NCAA
investigations, the football team was midway through a 1-10 season and a
Title IX expert had recently ripped the school for gender equity
``We were in no position to look at any
conference,'' Jurich said. ``We had to try to be a good citizen within
Conference USA. That was a very good fit for us at that point.''
Early in the rebuilding process, Jurich
called Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and began explaining how he
planned to reverse Louisville's fortunes.
``I was always trying to share our
story with Mike and the members of the Big East, telling them what our
vision was and where I wanted us to go,'' Jurich said.
Jurich added softball, rowing and
women's golf to remedy the gender equity problems. He also hired John L.
Smith, who quickly turned the football team into a high-scoring, TV-friendly
New facilities were conceived, mostly
funded by private donations. In 2000, Louisville unveiled $14 million
Cardinal Park, a collection of fields for the softball, women's track, field
hockey and soccer teams. In April 2005, Louisville christened a $10 million
baseball stadium. A $12 million natatorium will open later this year, and an
$8 million football practice facility is under construction.
But none of Jurich's moves impressed
Tranghese more than hiring basketball coach Rick Pitino in March 2001.
Pitino became Tranghese's friend and a star in the Big East coaching
Providence in the mid-1980s.
Pitino immediately started working with
Jurich to sell Tranghese on Louisville. But when Pitino asked his old friend
what chance Louisville had of joining the league, Tranghese said it would
Within months of their conversation,
Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech left the Big East for the Atlantic
Suddenly, Louisville skyrocketed to the
top of Tranghese's wish list.
``When we lost people and sat down and
talked about it for the first time, Louisville was always part of those
conversations,'' Tranghese said. ``A big reason why was how much they seemed
to want to be here with us.''
Louisville accepted an invitation to
join the league in November 2003, along with fellow Conference USA defectors
Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette and South Florida. Louisville appears to be
the readiest of the newcomers, led by its flagship football and basketball
``They're very ambitious,'' Tranghese
said. ``They're not coming here just to be a part of this league, they're
coming to be a significant factor.''
In addition to football, Louisville is
expected to contend for Big East titles this year in volleyball and field
hockey. Since Jurich arrived, 15 of Louisville's 21 sports have had teams or
individuals reach the NCAA postseason.
Now, though, the competition will be
stronger. The Big East has won 24 national championships in six sports since
it launched in 1979. In men's and women's basketball alone, the league has
captured eight NCAA titles since 1999.
``We're very hungry to be the best in
the league,'' Jurich said, ``but I don't think they're going to throw us out
if we're not.''
News Nuggets are
compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data
published by ECU, Conference USA and its member
schools; and reports from Associated Press and
other sources. Copyright 2005
Bonesville.net and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.