Louisville places Pitino, AD on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS -

Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and ath­letic di­rec­tor Tom Jurich on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave amid a fed­eral bribery in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In­terim uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Greg Pos­tel said at a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day that Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on un­paid leave. The coach’s at­tor­ney, Steve Spence, told the Couri­erJour­nal that Louisville has “ef­fec­tively fired” Pitino.

Nei­ther Pitino nor Jurich at­tended the news con­fer­ence.

“I’m more an­gry than em­bar­rassed,” Pos­tel said. “We will be look­ing for some­one with in­tegrity. There’s no rea­son this team can’t have a good sea­son.

“It is vi­tal for this uni­ver­sity to strictly ad­here to the NCAA rules and of course fed­eral law. Fail­ure to do that would be a tacit en­dorse­ment of crim­i­nal be­hav­iour.”

Pitino’s exit comes after the school ac­knowl­edged on Tues­day that the men’s pro­gram is part of a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged bribery of re­cruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the in­dict­ment that re­sulted in the ar­rest of 10 peo­ple in­clud­ing four as­sis­tant coaches at other schools and an Adi­das ex­ec­u­tive.

It is the lat­est black eye for the Car­di­nals pro­gram. Pitino and Louisville are in the mid­dle of ap­peal­ing NCAA sanc­tions handed out in June fol­low­ing an es­cort scan­dal that un­folded nearly two years ago, which could cost the school its 2013 na­tional ti­tle.

Jurich has sup­ported Pitino through his trans­gres­sions dur­ing the ath­letic di­rec­tor’s nearly 20-year ten­ure at the uni­ver­sity.

Pitino, 65, was 416-143 over 16 years at Louisville, in­clud­ing that 2013 NCAA cham­pi­onship. Louisville men’s bas­ket­ball coach Rick Pitino ar­rives at Grawe­meyer Hall for a meet­ing with the uni­ver­sity’s in­terim pres­i­dent Greg Pos­tel yes­ter­day.

In the lat­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion, fed­eral prose­cu­tors say at least three top high school re­cruits were promised pay­ments of as much as $150,000, us­ing money sup­plied by Adi­das, to at­tend two univer­si­ties spon­sored by the ath­letic shoe com­pany. Court pa­pers didn’t name the schools but con­tained enough de­tails to iden­tify one of them as Louisville.

Pos­tel also said Wed­nes­day that one stu­dent-ath­lete has been in­formed he will not prac­tice or play for the uni­ver­sity un­til in­ves­ti­ga­tion is re­solved.

“This de­ci­sion will pro­tect the in­ter­ests of both the stu­dent and the Uni­ver­sity of Louisville,” Pos­tel said.

Pitino is not named in the fed­eral doc­u­ments, though the school ac­knowl­edged it is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI.

“These al­le­ga­tions come as a com­plete shock to me,” the coach said in a state­ment Tues­day night. “If true, I agree with the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice that these third-party schemes, ini­ti­ated by a few bad ac­tors, op­er­ated to

com­mit a fraud on the im­pacted univer­si­ties and their bas­ket­ball pro­grams, in­clud­ing the Uni­ver­sity of Louisville. Our fans and sup­port­ers de­serve bet­ter and I am com­mit­ted to tak­ing what­ever steps are needed to en­sure those re­spon­si­ble are held ac­count­able.”

Louisville was al­ready reel­ing from the sex scan­dal. The pro­gram has been or­dered to va­cate up to 123 vic­to­ries in which in­el­i­gi­ble play­ers re­ceived im­proper ben­e­fits - a pe­riod that in­cludes the 2013 ti­tle, its third - along with the 2012 Fi­nal Four ap­pear­ance. The NCAA also placed the school on four years’ pro­ba­tion and or­dered the re­turn of money re­ceived through con­fer­ence rev­enue shar­ing. McGee re­ceived a 10-year, show-cause penalty.

Pitino was or­dered to miss five un­spec­i­fied At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence games this sea­son.

The NCAA noted that Car­di­nal play­ers and re­cruits had re­ceived im­proper ben­e­fits and called the ac­tiv­i­ties in the dorm “re­pug­nant” in its de­ci­sion.

AP PHOTO

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