LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will now be called just Cardinal Stadium.
University of Louisville president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi made the announcement at a news conference Friday afternoon.
"We said (the name change is) effective immediately," Bendapudi said. "I don't know how quickly that will be, but it's to move very quickly."
The decision was made 48 hours after Forbes magazine reported that Papa John's founder John Schnatter used the N-word during a conference call with company executives and a marketing agency. The report prompted a same-day admission from Schnatter, and then his resignations from the boards of Papa John's, the University of Louisville and the UofL Foundation.
"I want to remind all of you that Papa John's the company ... there's 120,000 employees whose livelihoods depend on what's happening," Bendapudi said. "I really hope each of us distinguishes between the individual and the company."
Bendapudi also said that despite Schnatter's slip, she still believes Papa John's remains a company in good standing in the Louisville community.
"I trust the company, that they want to do the right thing," Bendapudi said.
There will be no new title sponsor, at least anytime soon, Bendapudi said.
Thursday, several current UofL football players tweeted that they supported a name change. And Friday, even former UofL basketball star Donovan Mitchell, now a member of the NBA's Utah Jazz, weighed in on Twitter:
MORE ON WAVE3.COM
+ Papa John's is pulling founder's image from its marketing
+ Papa John's to pull founder from marketing
+ UofL football players, president react to Schnatter's racial slur
+ Schnatter admits using N-word, resigns as Chairman of the Board of Papa John's Pizza
+ John Schnatter to step down as Papa John's CEO
+ JCPS drops Papa John's $1.2 million pizza contract
Bendapudi said Schnatter himself supported the decision to take the Papa John's name off the stadium.
"He was very supportive of our taking the name off," she said. "(He) said that he really wanted to do this for the students, and did not want it to be a distraction."
Schnatter's name will also be removed from the Center for Free Enterprise at the UofL business school. Similarly, business programs funded by Schnatter at the University of Kentucky have cut ties with him.
When asked about fears donations would be pulled by the pizza mogul in response to the business school decision, Bendapudi said he was in favor of removing his name.
"I spoke to Mr. Schnatter and he was actually very much in favor of that," Bendapudi said.
She said she understands there are some legal risks associated with dropping the Papa John's name from the stadium and the related naming rights contracts of $14 million put forward by Schnatter and $6 million by the Papa John's company.
"I've often joked that pizza is the great equalizer in our society," Bendapudi said. "No matter who you are, everybody gets pizza. So, please remember. There are 120,000 people and their families and their livelihoods associated with it. We in Louisville of all places are to understand that."
As mentioned previously, the University of Kentucky announced they are completely cutting ties with Schnatter. UK President Eli Capilouto said the pizza mogul would not be recognized in the programs he helped create on campus.
The John H. Schnatter Family Foundation made it clear it was a mutual agreement with UK to cut ties.
Papa John's CEO Steve Ritchie released a statement regarding the controversy surrounding Schnatter and the pizza chain's brand late Friday.