When Louisville athletics Tom Jurich stepped to the podium in April to announce a nine-figure apparel deal with Adidas, he had no idea his words would later prove to sound asinine.
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“The big winners from this deal are the people upstairs,” Jurich said. “This money is solely for the student-athletes and the athletic department.”
He was right. Louisville student-athletes benefited greatly — and will continue to benefit for years — from the 10-year, $160-million deal that would help pay for facilities, student-athlete welfare programs, student-athlete stipends and more. But, similarly to whether or not he or Rick Pitino knew two men's basketball assistant coaches were conspiring with the head of Adidas global sports marketing to pay a 2017 recruit $100,000 to sign with the Cardinals, the truth and intent behind those words are irrelevant.
All that matters now is that both Jurich and Pitino are unemployed for their repeated lack of oversight and leadership of a basketball program has battled multiple scandals.
"It’s great to have a partner like them," Jurich said of Adidas. "They believe in us and we believe in them. They’ve been incredible to me and this program. Loyalty is everything to me and they’re the epitome of loyalty.”
Clearly, Jim Gatto — the Adidas employee arrested on corruption and bribery charges — believed in Louisville, so much that he was willing to risk ruining his life in exchange for money.