- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Louisville announced plans Tuesday to build an $8 million academics center for student-athletes.
With the plans, the Cardinals join a growing number of schools with separate academic facilities for all their players to use. But here is the interesting part: the center will be funded, in part, by the sale of commemorative bottles of Maker's Mark bourbon featuring an image of football coach Charlie Strong.
“We are grateful to the Samuels family and Maker’s Mark for their involvement,” athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “It’s a crucial project for the development of our athletic program. Maker’s Mark is an iconic name in the Commonwealth and we appreciate their involvement in this great opportunity for our department.”
The state-of-the-art Academic Center of Excellence will be located at the south end of the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department. All student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building, and the center will feature tutorial areas, labs, office areas and classroom space.
Maker’s Mark produced 8,400 commemorative bottles, and they went on sale in Kentucky last week. Louisville is also offering an opportunity to get bottles autographed by Strong, Jurich and Rob Samuels, chief operating officer at Maker’s Mark.