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U of L Foundation Touts Turnaround, Courts Donors

The University of Louisville Foundation is touting its reforms and taking stock of how far it's come after several months of intense public scrutiny, a blistering state audit and a forensic investigation.

ULF Interim Executive Director Keith Sherman told the Louisville Rotary Club Thursday that the foundation has addressed all but one recommendation from the state auditor and auditing firm Alvarez & Marsal, which was to begin an internal audit of the foundation.

Sherman said that would be too costly for the size and budget of the ULF. He said the foundation is "focusing on making sure we’re continuing to do the right things."

“The donors that are so generous with their dollars at the foundation are really there to support the academics and we hope and trust that our donors will know that there’s great academic work going on, and they should continue to support us and continue to give," said Sherman.

Recommended changes made by the foundation, Sherman said, include barring university presidents from running the foundation, halting its deferred compensation plan, increasing the frequency of foundation meetings, approving its first line-item budget and limiting spending.

During his presentation to the rotary club, Sherman assured members that their donations would not fund U of L’s athletics department. The athletics department is in hot water in the wake of an FBI investigation into a widespread bribery scheme involving Adidas.

The university is moving forward with firing head coach Rick Pitino, athletic director Tom Jurich remains on paid leave, and basketball player Brian Bowen has been suspended.  Assistant Coach David Padgett was named interim men’s basketball coach last week and Vince Tyra was named acting athletic director on Tuesday.

Tyra was a member of the foundation's board of directors, but said he would resign. Sherman said the foundation is reviewing candidates to fill Tyra’s position.

Disclosures: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board member Sandra Frazier and former member Stephen Campbell have donated. 

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.