As reported in a recent ESPN article, Louisville’s Rick Pitino continues to escape the long arm of the NCAA law. As you will recall, a year ago (Fall 2015) a book was published, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen by Katina Powell which reported Louisville basketball staff offered recruits, fathers and their guardians “special favors” if recruits committed to Louisville. These favors were delivered on campus and involved financial exchanges between the Louisville coaching staff, players, and female entertainers.
So, how is Louisville faring under these difficult circumstances? Quite well, actually
Although Louisville’s self-imposed sanctions include eliminating one scholarship for 2017 and 2018, and 30 fewer days to recruit, Pitino reports the investigation hasn’t hurt the school on the recruiting trail. The Cardinals will welcome their first high school All-American since 2011 in 6-7 guard/forward V.J. King.
Slick Rick chirps, “We haven’t had any resistance (recruiting) whatsoever, and we’re off to a great start.” And of course, Pitino continues to receive his annual $7.5 million salary.
Rick denies any accountability. “We want to get everything behind us,” Pitino said. “It was a very difficult year emotionally, it was a very difficult year for all of us, and we’d like to put every single thing behind us. Sometimes you cherish the past, and other times you’d like to forget the past.”
Louisville has spent over $300,000 on their own investigation and the NCAA seems to be in fear of Louisville – the NCAA’s most valuable basketball franchise (Forbes) because they have dragged out their part of the investigation as well.
To even the uninitiated eye, the evidence seems plentiful, corroborated and demonstrates a clear lack of administrative control.
Pitino avoids all blame and confesses to waves of grief and anger. The tortured Pitino decided to throw his former assistant under the bus as well as rival Kentucky: “If I could just get Andre McGee (the assistant accused of doling out the cash to strippers) in a room for 10 minutes, I would say to him: ‘Why would you do this? What purpose did it serve? We didn’t need this to get recruits,'” Pitino said. “We’re not Kentucky, where we’re recruiting the one-and-dones. We have a different way we recruit. It didn’t make any sense what was going on. How these women infiltrated our program is very disturbing to me.” (Pitino was caught having sex with a women after hours in a restaurant in a court case several years ago).
When you are Louisville, you operate under a different set of rules.