Cardinal Athletic Finances: Strong & Inexplicable

I love Charlie Strong. I’ve said it before and I repeat it now.

Despite a second season that is mired in muck, I’m glad he’s the coach of my favorite college football team. He’s a genuine guy, a man of character and a great ambassador for my alma mater. His PR gaffes regarding the Clint Hurtt  and Mike Sanford situations are unfortunate, but not fatal. I trust he’ll deal with such future situations with more savoir faire.

All that said, I find today’s announced raise and contract extension, well, strange.

The guy’s been here a season and a half. The intangibles are in place, it would seem, for future success.

But still a 44% raise from $1.6 million to $2.3 million, plus a five year extension to 2018 is simply odd.

I know there’s a lot I don’t know about the financial aspects of big time college sports. Yet . . . yet . . . yet this is just weird. Weird in timing. Weird in scope.

But, hey, good for him.

And, for those of us who are going to be paying that salary . . . well read on for another inexplicable move by Cardinal Athletics.

* * * * *

Here’s the exact wording of an email sent to Cardinal basketball fans today from the Cardinal Athletic Fund:

Greetings Cards Fans,
Tip-Off for the 2011-12 Louisville Basketball season is upon us! We are looking forward to hosting the best non-conference schedule in the country, and the always formidable BIG EAST schedule with teams like Memphis, Vanderbilt, UConn, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse coming to the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cardinal Athletic Fund would like to provide you with the opportunity to purchase premium Terrace Seats for these terrific home games.Choose from our newly developed (5) and (4) game packages listed below.The price includes the cost of your ticket for each game and a $25 donation for each seat.

Plan #1 (5 Games)
Games Included:Tennessee Martin, Long Beach State, Memphis, Georgetown, & South Florida
Price:$305 per seat
Plan #2 (5 Games)
Games Included:Lamar, Vanderbilt, IUPUI, Rutgers, & Syracuse
Price:$300 per seat
Plan #3 (5 Games)
Games Included:Arkansas State, Farleigh Dickinson, Western Kentucky, Villanova, & Pittsburgh
Price:$300 per seat
Plan #4 (4 Games)
Games Included:Ohio, College of Charleston, Notre Dame, & Connecticut
Price:$240 per seat
This will be the best opportunity to secure premium seats for UofL Men’s Basketball in the KFC Yum! Center this season, there are a limited number still available.
(Emphasis added.)

Here’s the exact wording of an email I received from a reader who is a U of L alum, long time season ticket holder and, with seats in the upper reaches of the Yum!, tried to improve his seat location to the Terrace Level through the school’s designated process:

Let’s see. All four packages comes to $1,145 per seat or $2,290 for two. I’m paying about $2,500 for my upper bowl seats. Last I heard or was shown when I did my seat improvement, Terrace Seats required a $10,000 donation. WTF?

What the fuck, indeed??????????????

– Seedy K

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