My response to @danielle_lerner about her Courier-Journal Story about @mark_jurich

3 min readMar 10, 2018



I just read your article on Mark Jurich. Several facts, information, and innacuracies were reported including:

-you cite this was Mark Jurich’s first professional job. He spent 5 years playing professional baseball before taking a position at UL. Does that not count as a job?

- the timing of Mark’s employment at UL. As you are aware, Mark Jurich is a two-time All-American baseball player and a graduate of UL and a soon to be MBA graduate. He is one of UL’s own who after playing professional baseball returned to his alma mater to begin a career in sports administration. Mark arrived during the Foundation capital campaign and at a time when the goals of the campaign changed by the Board of Trustees from $500 million to $1 billion. Under the terms set for the campaign, all athletic dollars raised during that time were counted toward the $1 billion. This is material because in general advancement or fundraising of the University typically does not include athletics, they are kept separate as ULAA is an affiliate of the University whereas the Foundation is a distinct legal entity.

Some background information on how UL’s fundraising efforts are funded is essential. UL’s development or advancement office is funded 100% by the Foundation. A formula in place at that time allocated 1.5% of ULF’s endowment spend rate mostly to this budget, which equated to approximately $10 million per year. It was logical to hire Mark through the Foundation to support his salary at the time of the capital campaign and to place him in lines of reporting to avoid nepotism in compliance with UL’s then nepotism policy.

What did Mark and the rest of the development team at Athletics contribute to the campaign? Their contribution was over $275 million, which represented more than three times its budgetary representation. While some of the overall capital campaign’s money count was “in kind” gifts or current use funds, the athletic department dollars raised was overwhelmingly actual cash and reflects combinations of scholarships and facilities. The scholarship monies go directly into UL’s overall budget annually from the Cardinal Athletic Fund adding necessary tuition revenues to UL. There are a significant number of donors who contribute to both athletics and the University so the combining of the efforts for a capital campaign made sense. You will also notice Mark’s departure from in part ULAA’s budget occurred post capital campaign which also makes sense. I am surprised that the efforts that you went to research for the article did not unearth this key information.

- It wasn’t just fundraising that was successful during Tom and Mark Jurich’s tenure, a point your article missed. Fundraising joined other key performance indicators (scoreboards in their own right) of championships, graduation rates, volunteer hours, GPA, and financial success. Perhaps you are unaware but as the untimely termination of Tom Jurich was occurring, ULAA reported record financials and a balance sheet well over $30 Million in reserves. The 20 year leadership of Tom Jurich set a tone including a culture of humility within the department that provides the rationale of individuals not taking credit for donations but rather a collaborative effort. You specifically cite in support of this:

Mark Jurich said the Cardinal Athletic Fund kept a “scoreboard” of how much money the staff raised in total each week. The results of the scoreboard, indicating whether or not the staff met its goal, were sent out electronically to the development office. Individual contributions were not listed.

but instead of applauding an environment of teamwork, you insinuate the University supplied records in fundraising shouldn’t be attributed to Mark, when your own research shows that he never personally took credit for anything. I really believe you missed the real point of the exemplary culture of the program in sharing accomplishments.

- lastly, did you ever consider reporting comparable salaries for Directors of Development or similar positions held by Mark Jurich of other ACC schools or peer group athletic departments? It would have demonstrated his compensation at every level was at or below market rate but of course that would have brought much needed facts and anchoring to the article.

I hope you consider edits and additions to your article.