Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino Suspended 5 Games
The University of Louisville basketball program has found itself in some hot water, and now head coach Rick Pitino being punished. The Division I Committee on Infractions announced on Thursday that Pitino will be suspended for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season for failing to monitor his program during an alleged sex-for-pay scandal.
The committee issued a slew of punishments, and it’s currently unknown whether the team’s 2012-13 national championship will stand. The committee issued “a vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014.” Per the NCAA, Louisville must provide a list of games impacted by this ruling within the next 45 days.
The NCAA determined that Pitino “violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules” by allowing Andre McGee, a former assistant, to hire strippers to entertain players and potential recruits. One of the former escorts, Katina Powell, alleged that McGee paid her $10,000 to perform 22 shows at Louisville dormitories from 2010 through 2014.
“Without dispute, NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts for prospects, enrolled student-athletes and/or those who accompany them to campus,” said the NCAA panel.
Louisville to Appeal
Louisville won’t go down without a fight. The school’s interim president, Greg Postel, issued a statement shortly after the ruling came down that said the school plans to appeal the decision. Louisville believes the NCAA “went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable” in its actions.
For his actions, McGee received a 10-year show cause penalty. The committee determined that 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.”
The NCAA will not yet say whether Louisville’s 2013 title will be impacted, though that’s the way the wind seems to be blowing. The school will also face scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions as well as a $5,000 fine and a forced forfeiture of any money received through revenue sharing from the 2012-2015 NCAA Tournaments. The committee also accepted Louisville’s self-imposed postseason ban enacted last season.
Pitino will not be allowed contact with his team over the course of his five-game suspension. It is a similar penalty to that paid by former SMU coach Larry Brown and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim for comparable violations in years past.
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