More than a year after dropping the Papa John’s name off its stadium amidst a high-profile controversy, the University of Louisville has reached a settlement with founder John Schnatter.
Louisville’s football stadium was known as Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium until last summer, when the university removed Papa John’s from the facility’s name after Schnatter admitted to using a racial slur during a conference call. Forbes reported last July that Schnatter used the N-word during a conference call a few months earlier, which he confirmed. Schnatter apologized for the remark, and resigned as chairman of Papa John’s.
In order to officially break off a naming-rights agreement that had another 23 years remaining, Louisville has reached a settlement with Schnatter. Under the terms of a settlement announced by Louisville athletics officials on Thursday, Schnatter will receive $9.5 million over a five-year period that begins immediately. Louisville will be shopping for a new naming-rights partner for what is currently known as Cardinal Stadium. More from the Courier-Journal:
Louisville athletics officials announced Thursday that the university has reached a five-year, $9.5 million settlement with Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, that ends his involvement with the football stadium’s name and opens the door for another company or organization to purchase the naming rights.
Schnatter will receive $1.5 million immediately. The remaining $8 million will be paid in installments of $2 million over the next four years.
Athletics director Vince Tyra said the university hopes to have a new sponsor in time for next season, but he did not provide specifics on the potential price tag associated with a new partner. He did, however, say that the $2 million yearly payments offer a good starting point.
“We wouldn’t have set the hurdle at a couple of million dollars a year if we didn’t think it was worth more than that,” Tyra told reporters following a university board meeting, where the move was announced.
Prior to this name change, Cardinal Stadium had been known as Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium since its opening in 1998.
Image, posted to Facebook in April 2018, courtesy University of Louisville Football.
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