Kragthorpe won't discuss off-field issues yet

For the first time in a decade, Louisville probably won't be bowling this season. It's been a disappointing season for the Cardinals and first-year head coach Steve Kragthorpe, who last week placed partial blame for his team's woes on "off-field" issues. Monday, Kragthorpe said now isn't the time to discuss those problems.

For the first time in a decade, Louisville probably won't be bowling this season. It's been a disappointing season for the Cardinals and first-year head coach Steve Kragthorpe, who last week placed partial blame for his team's woes on "off-field" issues.

Last week, Kragthorpe was forced to address rumors that he was an active candidate to replace Phil Bennett at SMU. During his press conference last Wednesday in which he re-affirmed his commitment and desire to remain the Louisville coach, Kragthorpe said that "there have been some challenges that I did not anticipate with some off the field situations."

During his weekly press conference on Monday, Kragthorpe declined to specifically discuss the off the field issues he says he's had deal with this season.


Kragthorpe placed partial blame last
week for his team's disappointing
season on off-field issues.
"I think we'll probably get into that more after the season because I want to focus on what is important and that's getting ready for Rutgers," Kragthorpe said. "I think after the season those will be questions that we'll be able to answer but I really don't want to cloud this week, particularly with it being senior week."

Kragthorpe has been criticized by some U of L fans this season for being less than forthcoming about his team's problems. Since last spring, Kragthorpe has suspended or dismissed several players from the team, creating a perception of disciplinary problems throughout the program. That's something Louisville fans weren't accustomed to the previous four years with Bobby Petrino, whose in- your-face style seemingly kept players in line and out of trouble.

Without offering specifics or reasonable insight to the off-field issues he's dealt with this season fans have turned to speculation on message boards and talk radio to express their frustration with the situation. Kragthorpe explained Monday that he's limited in what he can legally address about the off-field issues.

"There are only so many things that I'm allowed to say because of legalities," Kragthorpe said. "I feel like I've been as forthright as I possibly could. But there are certain things that I cannot say whether it's due to injuries or off the field situations. There are certain things that I would lose my job if I were to divulge them. So I can't do that."

"It's certainly been a challenge in terms of things that I inherited," Kragthorpe added. "But that's the situation I'm in and I have to play the hand I'm dealt. I work hard every day to try to reflect a positive attitude and I'll continue to do that every day."

Now Kragthorpe hopes his team can end the season Thursday on a positive note with a win over Rutgers. While last week's situation with SMU created a buzz locally, Kragthorpe said he didn't think the situation would be a distraction heading into the season finale against the Scarlet Knights.

"That's what I was trying to do was put everything to bed and let everyone know exactly where I am, what my mind set and my stance is on my tenure here at the University of Louisville," Kragthorpe said. "Like I said before, I want to be here for the rest of my career. I certainly understand that I have to win games to do that.

"I felt like the (situation) had spun out of control. I just wanted to put an end to the speculation and end any rumors and innuendo and just let everybody know that my mind set hasn't changed. Just because we haven't had a successful season doesn't change me or what I want to do. And that is to be at Louisville."

During last Wednesday's press conference about the SMU rumors, Kragthorpe didn't take any questions from reporters. When asked Monday about the situation, Kragthorpe declined to answer whether or not he had contact with SMU officials about the Mustangs vacant coaching position.

"That's something that we really don't need to go into because it puts either them or me in a bad situation," Kragthorpe said. "So we'll just move on."


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