Louisville had one of the best seasons in its programs history in 2016. Lamar Jackson ran away with the Heisman trophy early (but was subsequently caught from behind by the field after some ugly Cardinals losses, but we’ll ignore that), Louisville was a serious contender for a College Football Playoff spot for most of the season and they were obviously a program on the rise.
With stadium renovation already underway, generous donations to the program after its exciting success this year have made way for an accelerated time of completion for the project.
Today the Cardinals announced that, thanks to large donations by Pepsi and Norton Healthcare, the stadium is expected to be ready by the start of the 2018 season. The donation was worth $5 million and had the brass at Louisville buzzing:
“We are extremely appreciative for Norton Healthcare’s generous gift to allow this project to forge ahead,” said Tom Jurich, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Louisville. “They have always been a tremendous partner for our department, and this major gift certainly strengthens their commitment. The project is moving along steadily, and I’m very grateful for everyone who has contributed to the future of this program. Their gifts have enabled us to move up the completion date.”
The planned renovation will add 10,000 seats to Papa Johns stadium in the north end zone.
All this will be for naught if the Cardinals aren’t able to build on their success, though. Lamar Jackson will be NFL-bound after this year, and they will need to parlay their updated stadium and powerful football team into top-tier high school talent. For now, it is a happy day in Louisville, but if they look like they did in the second half of 2016, it will be short-lived.