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UofL Board Sent Strong Message with Ramsey’s Contract Extension: State of the News

The University of Louisville board has voted to extend president Dr. James Ramsey‘s contract until 2020, giving him a standing ovation after the vote. The Courier-Journal’s Chris Otts joined us to talk about the story, saying the board wanted to send a strong message that they want Dr. Ramsey to stay on with the University for as long as he is willing to.

He also talked about a lawsuit that is making public some details of Sullivan Universities profits and growth.

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Fischer Says Pressure on U of L to Preserve Reproductive and End-of-Life Health Services Will Continue

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says University of Louisville Hospital has a lot to lose if medical services are compromised in a pending merger with a division of Catholic Health Initiatives.

Under the merger agreement, both University Hospital and Jewish Hospital will follow Catholic medical directives. That puts a number of services related to reproductive health and end-of-life care at risk of being stopped.

“The purpose of the university is to provide public health, not theologically-driven health,” says Fischer. “So all the health services that are available at a public institution need to be available at University Hospital.”

U of L officials insist that the School of Medicine—which is not part of the merger—will continue to provide services such as vasectomies, birth control counseling and emergency contraception for rape victims. Fischer met with U of L President James Ramsey last week to discuss the merger, since the city gives the hospital $7 million a year for indigent care.

“Well there’s a lot of issues at work for them: the accreditation of their medical school; their support from the state; the financial support from the city,” says Fischer. “They recognize this is a big issue and they’ve assured me they’re going to have a solution for it. Now we’re all going to be watching for that solution and we trust that one’s going to be in place. If not, we’ll continue to give them the feedback that it needs to be in place.”

University Hospital receives $61 million from the state. A group of state lawmakers has asked Ramsey to address a General Assembly committee about the merger. He hasn’t yet announced whether he will do so.

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Pitino Apologizes For Sexual Tryst

University of Louisville men’s basketball coach has apologized to his family and the university for an extramarital affair he had six years ago. Pitino apology1

In an interview with police that was made public this week,  Pitino acknowledged that he had sex at a Louisville restaurant in 2003 with Karen Sypher, who has since been charged with trying to extort money from Pitino.

At a Wednesday press conference, Pitino said he’d already apologized to his family for his “indiscretion” and wanted to apologize to his extended family at the university.

He said he wants to continue coaching at U of L “for as long as they’ll have me.”

“I  love the game, love my players, love this university as well as this community.   I want to coach nowhere else and I don’t believe in anything as much as I believe in this university and this state,” Pitino said.

University president James Ramsey said in a statement that he’s disappointed with Pitino’s error in judgement, but the coach did the right thing in admitting his mistake.

Pitino’s entire statement can be heard here.

Listen to Stephanie Sanders’ feature story on the Pitino sex scandal.

Statement from Dr. James Ramsey, University of Louisville President:
Rick Pitino is the University of Louisville’s basketball coach. He has been a role model for countless young people and a positive influence on this community.

Regardless of the truth or falsehood of specific actions that have been attributed to the coach, he’s clearly made errors in judgment that have come under intense public scrutiny. We can’t ignore these errors in judgment, and they have saddened and disappointed me. As we try to teach our students, when you make a mistake, you admit it and right it as best you can. Coach has done that today.

It’s not an easy thing to come before the university community and all of you to admit mistakes and commit to do better. I know this has been difficult on the coach, it’s been difficult on me, and difficult for our university. But as Coach Pitino and I discussed earlier today, this was the right thing for him to do.

We hope this closes this chapter; we’re all ready to move on. Our university is recovering from a flood that shut down a large portion of our campus, preparing for the start of classes on August 24th, and getting ready to welcome the most academically talented freshman class in our history. We need to get back to our job of educating the next generation of Kentucky’s leaders.

Statement from Tom Jurich, University of Louisville Vice-President and Director of Athletics:

As I said yesterday, Coach Pitino has been truthful with us about this matter all along and we stand by him and his family during this process. He’s been diligent in his work as our men’s basketball coach, despite a number of false rumors, reported inaccuracies and the difficulties this personal matter that happened six years ago has placed on him and his family. I’m a million percent behind him. I have great confidence in the federal court system that this matter will be addressed appropriately. I expect Coach Pitino to be the head coach at the University of Louisville for a long time.

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Ramsey To Meet With AD On Pitino Disclosure

University of Louisville President James Ramsey had little to say publicly early Wednesday afternoon regarding basketball coach Rick Pitino’s admission that he had a brief affair with a woman who’s now charged with trying to extort him.

The Courier-Journal published details of a July police interview with Pitino in which he acknowledged having a sexual encounter six years ago with Karen Cunagin, now Karen Sypher, at a Louisville restaurant. Pitino also denied her allegation of rape; prosecutors last month declined to bring charges against him.

According to the report, Pitino also gave the woman three thousand dollars after she told him she was going to obtain an abortion and didn’t have insurance. His attorney says the coach believed the money was for medical insurance.

U of L President James Ramsey declined to comment Wednesday beyond a statement released the previous night.

“I have not had the opportunity to talk with anyone else. the athletic director was out this morning.   I’ll try to arrange to meet with him and talk with him and others,  Ramsey said during an unrelated press conference.

Ramsey said in his statement that he was “surprised” by details surrounding Pitino’s acknowldgement of the encounter but that his thoughts were with the coach’s family.

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U of L Panel To Investigate Doctorate Award

University of Louisville President James Ramsey has appointed a committee to look into allegations that a doctorate degree was improperly awarded to a student under the direction of former Education Dean Robert Felner.

The school says information surfaced that student John Deasy was awarded a doctorate in 2004, after just one semester of coursework at U of L

It was also reported this week that Deasy had earlier helped Felner land a large contract to conduct a survey at a California school district.

The university typically requires at least two years of coursework for a PhD.

Spokesperson John Drees says any degree earned otherwise could be made invalid.

“If the committee found that the degree was granted inappropriately the ramifications could be up to and include rescinding the degree,” Drees said.

Felner is currently under federal investigation for his handling of grant money.