University of Louisville fans abandon the comfort of homerism in wake of FBI scandal

Jeffrey Lee Puckett
Courier Journal
Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich (left) poses with head coach Rick Pitino (right) in celebration Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center of Pitino's 400th win against Texas Southern on December 10, 2016. (Photo by David Lee Hartlage, Special to The Courier-Journal) Dec. 17, 2016

Local sports radio in every city is a bastion of homerism, that phenomenon where reporting and objectivity happily part ways.

Fans expect hosts and announcers to function as fellow fans, and the only times that criticism is tolerated is, of course, after a loss. But only for a few minutes.

Great homers throughout history include Harry Caray, a Chicago Cubs fan who just happened to also be an announcer, and Tommy Heinsohn, who will not tolerate a bad word spoken about the Boston Celtics.

Louisville has some proud and admitted homers, and that's fine! But homerism took a beating this week as University of Louisville fans made it clear that they've lost their taste for red Kool-Aid.

On Wednesday, University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel suspended athletic director Tom Jurich and basketball head coach Rick Pitino, citing the basketball program's role in an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into pay-for-play schemes that break federal law.

More on the University of Louisville basketball scandal:

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Following the suspensions, which many feel will end in termination of both men's contracts, Twitter was a hotbed of hot takes. The majority were surprising. 

Television and radio personality John Ramsey, a vocal supporter of Louisville athletics, tweeted on Wednesday that fans should deluge Gov. Matt Bevin with requests to retain Tom Jurich.

Instead, he was deluged with the opposite.

Ramsey wasn't swayed, however.

"In regard to Tom I am on the right side of history," he told the Courier-Journal in a text message. "My personal friendship has allowed me to see him behind the scenes and his commitment to integrity on the job and after 5 pm.

"I think much of the negativity is driven by (University of Kentucky fans) but there were a few shots taken by UL fans. I think their short term memory is puzzling. His accomplishments and ability to perform at a high level are visible."

Veteran radio personality Terry Meiners, who has made no secret of his friendships with Pitino and Jurich, did no blatant cheerleading on Twitter. His posts could best be described as "neutrally supportive" but the responses were anything but neutral.

Paul Rogers is probably the most beloved sports radio announcer in the University of Louisville's history. He is the official Voice of the Louisville Cardinals, but he was not immune to fans' collective disgust. 

Reporter Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at 502-582-4160 and