Who got hurt at UofL?

All Hail UofL?
… No.

Aw hell, UofL.

On the cover of The Courier-Journal on June 10, a damning story about the years-long, systematic, secretive abuse by ex-UofL President James Ramsey and his top officials… while on page 10, a story about UofL suspending its climate action and sustainability program because of budget cutbacks.

Award-winning manager of the sustainability program, Justin Mog, said of the cuts, “Sustainability is all about careful, thoughtful management of resources.”

How ironic.

A program rooted in proper management of resources is cut — about $300,000 — while the UofL Foundation was losing, wasting and hiding at least $42 million: losing money on bad investments; wasting money on marketing, personal benefits, UofL athletics tickets and athletics employee’s pay; and hiding “deferred” compensation.

The real crime is that the perpetrators prospered at the expense of others.

The findings of the recently-released audit tells a story of how Leader Ramsey’s actions cheated all affiliated with UofL: the donors, students, faculty, community and fans.

The Foundation has a tremendously broad scope of operations. Year after year, the foundation is supported by over 60,000 individuals, as well as local companies, charitable foundations and state and federal money. In 2015, that totaled nearly $240 million. The foundation distributes funds to support the university, its students, faculty, educational programs, athletic programs and facilities, as well as campus development and improvements. The possibilities are truly limitless…

All the while, as Ramsey and his top officers received pay raise after pay raise — even the public, transparent variety — student tuition continued to rise. From the time Ramsey took over, in 2002, until he was forced out in 2016, tuition for in-state students rose from $3,794 to $10,542.

Sure, tuition rates do rise over time — but $7,000?

According to a study by College Board, using data from National Center for Education Statistics, the average rate increase for a four-year public institution should have been only between 4.2 percent and 3.3 percent. UofL tuition should be around only  $6,100 today. Similarly, out-of-state tuition rose from over $10,400 to nearly $25,000.

Then there are the countless adjunct professors who have been refused full-time employment, in part because of… ya know… budget constraints.

Remember, Ramsey is the same guy who was paid more than two-and-a-half times the average Atlantic Coast Conference university president. And mostly in supplemented compensation from the Foundation. It even paid Ramsey on future taxes he would owe, and once reimbursed him when it underpaid his taxes for him.

Oh, the humanity.

And then there is UofL’s golden boy… Athletic Director Tom Jurich. Hey Tom, how you feeling about staying in the YUM! Center now? Don’t really like your chances of that on-campus arena?

Who would have thought that Jurich would have bigger problems this week than the NCAA sledgehammer that came down on UofL’s banner program. Oh, and speaking of banners… Jurich’s athletic department may have to pay back millions to the NCAA thanks to the basketball scandal that may end up costing UofL its 2013 championship banner.

Let’s see, the audit found that the Foundation propped up Jurich’s programs and facilities with over $15 million, nearly $5 million in employee compensation, almost $10 million in ticket donations and $800,000 per year in season tickets.

So when we see headlines such as one on the 2011 Forbes article, “Louisville Athletics Program Is A Winner Financially,” it’s now hard to believe Jurich & Co. are just that much smarter than everyone else.

According to The CJ, UofL has paid the firm that conducted the audit another $200,000 to find answers to questions raised by the audit’s findings. This is money well-spent. It’s also reported that the board of trustees will decide at its meeting July 22 whether to sue to recover money lost by the foundation.

Consider the extra $200,000 an investment in future recovered funds.

People owe more than apologies for what they have done to UofL.