Dr. James Ramsey, who has been the President of the University of Louisville since 2002, has stepped down effective immediately, according to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who held a news conference in Frankfort.
Bevin said in the news conference that "we are going to start putting that house in order." He also announced that he is reorganizing the Board of Trustees at U of L, noting he will appoint an interim board that will serve for the next two weeks.
"There is, I think, pretty much uniform agreement among all people with whom I’ve had conversation that the board as it exists right now is not particularly functional," he said. "Its dysfunction has precluded it from what it’s responsibility is."
The three-member interim board includes Louisville businessman and former U of L basketball player Junior Bridgeman, Dr. Ron Wright and attorney Bonita Black. They will serve for two weeks until a permanent board is in place.
The Governor's office also released a copy of the resignation letter from Ramsey, who said he "appreciated" a recent conversation with Bevin.
"As a result, I am writing to reaffirm what we discussed," Ramsey said in the letter. "The University of Louisville is absolutely critical to the health and economic and social well-being of our community and state. For Kentucky to grow and prosper as a state, it is important for Louisville to be successful as a community; for Louisville to prosper it needs a great research university.
"As I said to you, the members of a restructured board compliant with state law should have the opportunity for a 'fresh start,'" Ramsey wrote, adding "upon a legal restructure of the Board of Trustees at the University of Louisville, I will immediately offer, to the newly appointed board, my resignation/retirement as president of the University of Louisville.
"Again, I thank you for your support and commitment to addressing significant issues that are important to moving our state forward."
Bevin said he had not been in contact with anyone at U of L about athletics and noted the "athletics side has not driven my concerns." U of L's basketball program is currently under investigation by the NCAA for allegations that a former Rick Pitino staff member pair for and arranged escorts for players and recruits in Minardi Hall.
"Some have had to do with academic things," Bevin said. "Some have had to do with administrative things and some have had to do with athletic things. I don't think there has been a person watching this that would disagree with that."
Bevin said he is asking counselor of post secondary education to provide him with names of candidates for the board. The current board has 17 members on it, while the new board will have 13 members. He will appoint 10 of the 13.
In a statement from U of L, athletic director Tom Jurich thanked Ramsey for his service.
"I would like to thank Dr. Ramsey for the years we have worked together," Jurich said. "My wife Terrilynn and I love this city and the University of Louisville. We will support the governor and will continue to be committed to our university."
Jurich is out of the office and unavailable for further comment at this time. U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino is on vacation and also unavailable for comment.