LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - He did not take questions from reporters, but University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey had a lot to say Thursday afternoon about recent controversies that have put himself, and the school, in the headlines.
From two university executives under FBI investigation to an NCAA probe of the men's basketball program, it certainly appears those controversies, combined with several others, are weighing heavy on Ramsey.
After weeks of avoiding the subjects, Ramsey was surprisingly vocal Thursday when giving his State of the University speech to the Louisville Rotary Club.
"Don't give up on the University of Louisville, we are moving forward and moving forward aggressively," he said.
That despite several recent controversies, which Ramsey dubbed "noise."
His talk to the Rotary Club began by touting last year's fundraising: $237 million. Next, he talked about 83 students winning Fulbright Scholarships.
"That's more than every other school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky combined," he said.
Ramsey told the crowd that even with the "noise," a $22-million gift will soon be announced and also said UofL applications are up 13 percent.
It was clear that everything Ramsey hasn't been saying in recent weeks, he was ready to talk about Thursday. Included among the topics he touched on were: diversity issues, including a Halloween costume gone wrong, accusations of not having enough minority board members and a "minorities only" job advertisement put out by the university; the NCAA and internal investigations of the men's hoops program brought about by Katina Powell's book; high-ranking administrators under scrutiny, including two who were investigated by the FBI; and two Board Trustees publicly withdrawing their support for him.
"Two trustees didn't support me? I'm surprised it wasn't more than that," Ramsey quipped.
Ramsey says he's human and he makes mistakes, as do the school's 6,000 employees.
"Forrest Gump said sometimes things happen we wish didn't happen, but they happen in all organizations," he said.
Promising transparency, Ramsey says his faith is getting him through this time in his life.
"I'm 67 years old and I don't know how much longer I want to have all this fun," he said. "That's all I am, Jim Ramsey from Fern Creek, Kentucky, and that's all I will ever be."
Ramsey thanked those who've supported him, while criticizing those who have covered the controversies. He did so by referencing his dogs.
"The pugs, they are always glad to see me at the end of the day. They don't read the paper they use it, they do use it for other purposes," he said.
Ramsey did answer a Rotary Club question about the NCAA probe. He said the investigation is moving very slow and said UofL's own investigator is determined to find out whether more than one individual was involved, and if money was involved or not.