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University Of Louisville President Resigns, With $690,000 Payout

James Ramsey has resigned as the University of Louisville's president, ending weeks of uncertainty over his status.
Timothy D. Easley
James Ramsey has resigned as the University of Louisville's president, ending weeks of uncertainty over his status.

Amid two troubling investigations at the University of Louisville, school President James Ramsey resigned Wednesday. The university is facing scrutiny over separate scandals that involve allegations of financial misdeeds and sex parties for athletes.

Ramsey will receive a $690,000 settlement and has agreed not to sue the school, as Kate Howard of member station WFPL in Louisville reports. His exit comes months after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced Ramsey was out — and that he was appointing a new lineup to the school's board of trustees.

Howard runs down the big problems Ramsey faced at the school:

"An executive vice president at the university is under FBI investigation for possibly misusing federal funds. The NCAA is investigating the men's basketball program over allegations a former employee paid for strippers and sex for players and recruits. And Ramsey's compensation, upwards of $2.8 million in 2014, has drawn widespread scrutiny for being much higher than comparable institutions pay."

Ramsey had pledged to resign as soon as the new board of trustees was installed — but two weeks ago, that body's first meeting came and went without him stepping down.

The new deal emerged from hours of negotiations between Ramsey and the board of trustees; Howard quotes board chairman Junior Bridgeman as saying, "Well, in the end it was just a decision on both sides. It was just what everybody thought was best for the university, including Dr. Ramsey."

During his 14-year tenure at Louisville, the school has undergone many changes, including joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in the summer of 2014.

But his time in office has also brought some embarrassments, such as an incident around Halloween last year in which a photo emerged showing Ramsey, his wife and more than a dozen school staffers "dressed in sombreros and stereotypical Mexican garb" at his mansion, as member station WFPL reported.

In addition to the ongoing investigations, other matters are also unsettled at Louisville. As WFPL's Howard reports, the state attorney general is seeking to block an order by the governor that dissolved and then reorganized the school's board. "If that happens," Howard writes, "the old version of the U of L board would be reconstituted."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.