LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – "Over at our campus, we are tired of it. We're tired of all the rhetoric," U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich said about the proposed amended funding ordinance for the Yum! Center up for consideration with the Metro Council.
He let loose in a Saturday radio interview with WLOU's 'D&D Spill the Tea.' "They changed the whole conversation to blame it on the University of Louisville and I think it's criminal," he said.
The ordinance would rework how his department would help pay off the Yum Center's construction. He was against moving the basketball teams’ downtown and he told the hosts he felt baited by the city.
"We said we'll help in any problem that they have there, but I don't want to be the only one that helps," Jurich said.
Arena Authority Chairman Scott Cox told Metro Council members last week it likely will have the $23 million needed to pay its bond share in 2020 partially because of an underperforming TIF. Today, Cox told WHAS11 it is time to refinance.
"That could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in interest payments," Cox said.
Cox said any new plans would require more financial participation from U of L, who shares stake in the Yum! Center along with the city and the state. Jurich said the university already held up its end of the bargain.
"We had to sell the arena. We had to sell it out. We had to sell the suites. We had to sell the club seats. We had to sell the signage. We took all the risks in that arena," he said on the air.
However, some council members think those risks may not be enough and want U of L to make the first financial adjustments. "Seems like they don't have any skin in the game, but they are calling all of the shots," Councilwoman Mary Woolridge said.
Cox said he's talked to Jurich about a refinancing plan and the university is open to the idea - even hinting U of L's initial contract was written in their favor.
"He's basically being accused of negotiating a really good deal and that's not something to be criticized for," Cox said.
In the court of public opinion, people we spoke with say it would be a bad thing for U of L to pull its players.
"It just adds to nightlife to downtown," Yum! Center supporter Rod Mansilla said.
The city's budget committee will meet again Friday afternoon to review the ordinance. Cox said U of L is bound to play games at the Yum! Center for 30 years.