Without Tom Jurich, Bobby Petrino would owe less to leave University of Louisville

Justin Sayers Jake Lourim
Courier Journal
Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino shakes the hand of athletic director Tom Jurich after the public announcement of Petrino's seven-year, $30.65 million contract extension Thursday.

If suspended University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich never returns to his job, head football coach Bobby Petrino could save millions of dollars should he leave Louisville before his contract expires.

That's because Petrino's employment contract specifies that he has to pay a penalty if he leaves the Cardinals. The amount varies over time. This year, it would cost him $8 million. In 2023, the final year of the deal, the bill would be $5 million.

But there's a catch: The penalty drops by half if Jurich is not the athletic director.

More:Meet Vince Tyra, the businessman replacing Tom Jurich as Louisville's interim athletic director

It's not immediately clear why the clause was included. But it's also not uncommon for coaches and athletic directors to maintain a close relationship.

Other media outlets have reported outdated figures based off an older version of Petrino's contract.

Petrino and Jurich have spoken highly of each other in the past, including Saturday, when Petrino called Jurich a "real close friend" and said he hoped he'd be back.

This is all theoretical, of course.

Petrino has not publicly stated any desire to leave Louisville. When asked if the firing of Jurich would have an effect on his outlook at Louisville, he said he hadn't thought about it.

“What I’m focused on is our football team,” Petrino said. “I love our football team. I love the university. I love the city of Louisville. We’ve made plans to stay here and spend the rest of our career here. Right now, what we’ve got to do is focus on this game Thursday night and get ready for that.”

But Petrino has left the Cardinals once before — in 2007 for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

The witness stand:Could the FBI's unnamed Louisville player and coaches be called up?

Jurich and men's basketball coach Rick Pitino were suspended last week after the basketball program was snared in an FBI investigation of alleged bribery of basketball recruits to attend schools associated with apparel giant Adidas.

The university did not take any action on Jurich during a board of trustees meeting on Monday. He remains suspended with pay.

On Tuesday, Postel named Vince Tyra, a businessman and board member of the University of Louisville Foundation, the school's acting athletic director.

Reporter Justin Sayers can be reached at 502-582-4252 or Reporter Jake Lourim can be reached at 502-582-4168 or

More:Trinity star David Johnson withdraws pledge to play for Cards

Related:Tom Jurich's lawyer fights back, says University of Louisville official worked on Adidas deal

Read this:Tom Jurich’s replacement faces plenty of challenges ahead