Education Sports

The attorney for former U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich fired back Thursday, criticizing Jurich’s termination letter and threatening to sue the university.

Sheryl Snyder, Jurich’s lawyer, called the press briefing following publication of a blistering letter from U of L Interim President Greg Postal firing Jurich. Snyder said the letter disparaged Jurich and breached his contract, and Snyder threatened to sue if the university didn’t reach a fair settlement with Jurich.

“The gratuitous allegation that Tom [Jurich] is a bully is simply over the top and not true,” Snyder said. “Ultimately there would be a lawsuit filed for breach of contract if, between now and then, the university does not make us a satisfactory offer.”

Jurich was fired in the wake of a recruiting scandal that also resulted in the ouster of U of L’s men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Read Jurich’s termination letter here.

Snyder said he believes Jurich is entitled to “every penny” of his contract, but said they are in no hurry to negotiate a settlement with U of L.

The firm has up to 10 years to sue for breach of contract unless they file for tort actions. Tort actions would allege there was a civil wrong that caused Jurich loss or harm, and would give the firm a year to sue.

Asked whether there’s a chance Jurich could be reinstated as U of L’s athletic director, Snyder said “I don’t think anybody thinks that’s going to happen.”

Postel’s Oct. 20 letter slammed Jurich, claiming he failed his athletic director duties and bullied senior leadership. Postel went further in the letter, alleging Jurich negotiated agreements with former university president James Ramsey and hid the information to benefit himself.

“These undisclosed deals with Dr. Ramsey lacked approval by either the ULAA board or the university’s board of trustees and constitute repeated breaches of your fiduciary duty,” Postel’s letter read. “They have caused substantial damage to both ULAA and to the university.”

Snyder said those allegations are untrue, as Jurich’s contracts are open to the public through open records requests. Further, Snyder said Jurich’s firing by the board may have been personal, citing language in the Postel’s letter.

“Ramsey had full authority from the board of trustees and the ULAA board to retain Tom Jurich with those bonuses, and the evidence that will come out will demonstrate that,” Snyder said.

Under the termination details Postel outlined in the letter, Jurich was fired for cause and asked to forfeit all unearned and unvested compensation, benefits and other incentives promised in his employee contract. Snyder said Jurich’s contract includes a clause promising severance pay if he’s fired for cause.

Snyder said he didn’t know how much that promised severance pay was.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.