More than half a century after he attained All-American status at the University of Louisville, basketball star Butch Beard has asked to be disassociated from the university.
In a letter emailed to university president Neeli Bendapudi on Wednesday, Beard requested his name and accomplishments be "removed from any existing or future mention," citing the athletic department's hiring history and the school's response to the death of Wes Unseld as signs "the university’s commitment to young black men is far from what it should look like in 2021."
"The university has been remiss and negligent in its hiring practices within the athletic department," Beard wrote. "No black role models exist for the student athletes playing men's basketball or football. You may think assistant coaches in these sports are sufficient, they are not. Players need and want head coaches to confide in on real life issues on and off the court. Respect comes from the top; the head coach."
Bendapudi responded to Beard's concerns with a conciliatory statement Wednesday afternoon, and her office arranged a phone call with him for Wednesday evening. An hour and a half after the expected call, Beard said he had not yet heard from Bendapudi.