Louisville is coming off a game in which they were outscored 66-31 and allowed the second-most rushing yards in school history. They are 2-4 at the halfway mark of the 2018 campaign. The normally high-flying offense can barely move the football.
All of which is to say, the fan base is very unhappy with Bobby Petrino. Just not enough, apparently, to open up the purse strings and send the embattled head coach packing.
“The university is not in a position to buy him out,” Tom Meeker, a Louisville Athletic Association board member, told the Courier Journal.
At issue: Petrino’s buyout has been pegged at roughly $14 million if he were fired after or during this season, to say nothing of the cost of getting rid of the rest of the current coaching staff. That figure is not too far off the $15.4 million owed to Texas’ Tom Herman or the $16 million amount owed to Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy for some context.
Perhaps of bigger concern for Louisville than the play on the field for the Cardinals is the fact that the slumping football team is causing sharp decreases in the amount being donated to the program. The Courier Journal reports that the school’s athletic administration fund is down more than two-thirds in the past year thanks to the hire of a new basketball coach and a settlement with former athletic director Tom Jurich. Donations are down considerably and there’s still construction debt and pending lawsuits to deal with as well.
In short, even if everybody wanted to hit the reset button, there’s probably not the money left to do so.
“We have half a season left, so I don’t intend to speculate on Bobby’s future, only support it as we take on Boston College this week,” current AD Vince Tyra told the paper.
Of course, it doesn’t help the school that mega donor Papa John has gone through a very public divorce with the program after racist comments he made led to his ouster from the pizza company of the same name.