We’ve talked about Louisville basketball a number of times. Mainly, would the NCAA have the courage to penalize Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals – the most valuable collegiate basketball program in the nation.
Well, the penalty came out Thursday and it is harsh. Of course, Louisville plans to appeal (again).
According to the NCAA report:
“A former Louisville director of basketball operations (Andree McGee) acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules when he did not monitor the activities of his former operations director.”
So what were the penalties?
- The NCAA issued a public reprimand and censure to the university.
- Coach Rick Pitino is receiving a five-game ban in 2017-18 ACC play
- The program is placed on four years of NCAA probation. Louisville will not be banned from future postseasons.
- Louisville will lose 4 scholarships over the next four years.
- Louisville will have to vacate all wins from 2010-2014 for using ineligible players. This could mean that the Cardinals’ 2013 national championship banner will be removed. (No school has ever been forced to vacate a men’s basketball championship.)
- The university will have 45 days to submit a report that details what games ineligible players were used, and no decision from the NCAA is expected for now on the team’s 2013 national title.
- Former assistant coach Andre Magee will be restricted from coaching for a period of 10-years. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the former coach must restrict him from holding any athletically related duties and from having any contact with prospects and their families.
- During the probation period, men’s basketball prospects on unofficial visits may not stay overnight in any campus dorms or school-owned property.
- All of these penalties are in addition to prior self-imposed penalties Louisville placed on their basketball team reducing scholarships and recruiting visits.
Pitino released a statement on Thursday afternoon, denying that the NCAA discovered anything he could have done to stop assistant coach Andre McGee, who Louisville framed as a rogue actor, embarking on this striptease-and-sex party scheme alone and in secret. But an assistant coach made a comment to the team that it had practiced poorly “because y’all had strippers in there all night,” one prospect told the NCAA. And another prospect said the activities were “common knowledge,” though not every single player on the team knew about them.
Pitino and Louisville are appealing the NCAA’s findings — despite the fact that the NCAA accepted the school’s already self-imposed postseason ban, and that a five-game suspension for a head basketball coach is barely a slap on the wrist — likely because they don’t want the 2013 national championship vacated.
Greg Postel, Louisville’s interim president, said in a public statement Thursday that the penalties — which additionally include scholarship reductions, recruiting limitations, four years of probation, fees, etc., — are “excessive” and go “beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable.” Postel added the university will appeal all of the NCAA’s sanctions that were not self-imposed.
“Personally, I’ve lost a lot of faith in the NCAA … with what they just did,” Pitino said. He was victimized by one bad apple.
Well done NCAA – it just took too long.