After a round of damning allegations about its nonprofit foundation contained in an audit released last week, the University of Louisville agreed to extend the audit to attempt to answer additional questions.
The university’s board of trustees approved the extension on Thursday, agreeing to pay up to $200,000 to Alvarez & Marsal, the firm that completed last week’s audit. The university paid the firm $1.7 million for the first investigation.
Board Chair David Grissom would not say what more the trustees hope to find but said the board is committed to restoring U of L’s reputation after revelations of lavish spending and opaque business practices.
The foundation manages the university’s nearly $800 million endowment.
“There’s a need to refine further and glean even more information that already has been pulled together by A&M,” Grissom said. “It’s just a question of refining the audit further.”
The audit accused former president James Ramsey, who was also president of the foundation, and his administration of overspending, hiding information from the public and more. In response, the U of L Foundation created a committee to review the audit and bring governance suggestions to the board. Its chief financial officer was also placed on paid leave.
Trustees Tight-lipped On NCAA Response
Just before the meeting, the NCAA slammed U of L with punishments that interim president Greg Postel called “excessive.”
“It never should have happened, and that is why the school acted to severely to penalize itself in 2016,” he said in a statement. “Today, however, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable.”
Postel said U of L would appeal “all aspects of the penalties.”
Trustee and Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter declined questions on the NCAA’s ruling. Grissom declined at first but elaborated when pressed for a response.
“We’re going to prosecute the appeal and do the best we can to restore the reputation of the university from the athletic standpoint,” Grissom said.
Trustees Approve Budget
Trustees also approved the university’s budget, upholding a promise to keep tuition rates flat.
But the budget includes increases to housing and parking rates, and overall spending is $43 million less than last year to cover a shortfall. In the past, trustees have recommended keeping tuition flat for multiple years but did not revive the topic in Thursday’s budget discussion.