NCAA suspends Rick Pitino for 5 games; Louisville will appeal to save 2013 title
The Cardinals will not be banned from future NCAA Tournaments but the 2013 title is in jeopardy
The NCAA Committee on Infractions has ruled that Louisville coach Rick Pitino failed to properly monitor his men's basketball program and suspended the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season.
Louisville will not be banned from future postseasons. So that's a win. But the NCAA announced Thursday that Louisville must vacate all "basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 [to] July 2014." That suggests Louisville's 2013 national championship is in jeopardy, which is something Louisville consultant Chuck Smrt subsequently confirmed. At a press conference, Smrt said that players the NCAA has deemed ineligible did play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and acknowledged that Louisville's 2013 NCAA Tournament championship will be vacated unless the ruling is overturned on appeal.
No school has ever been forced to vacate a men's basketball championship.
Greg Postel, Louisville's interim president, said in a 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.
Louisville's NCAA case dates back to August 2015.
That's when a self-proclaimed escort named Katina Powell alleged in a book that former Louisville staffer Andre McGee -- whom the NCAA hit with a 10-year show-cause penalty on Thursday -- paid for dances and sex on behalf of Louisville players and prospects. Louisville immediately launched its own investigation that resulted in the school self-imposing penalties in February 2016 that included a postseason ban for the 2015-16 team that finished 23-8 and ranked seventh at KenPom. In October 2016, the NCAA charged Louisville with four Level I violations. The case went before the Committee on Infractions in April. And now, two months later, the ruling is in.
Timeline: Louisville sex scandal
Here is the entire list of penalties announced by the NCAA on Thursday:
- Public reprimand and censure for the university.
- Four years of probation from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2021.
- A suspension from the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season for the head coach. During the suspension, the head coach may not be present in the arena where the games are played and have no contact with the student-athletes or members of his coaching staff. The head coach also may not participate in any activities including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study and team meetings.
- A 10-year show-cause period for the former operations director from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2027. 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.
- A one-year show-cause order for the former program assistant from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2018. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him can schedule an appearance before a panel of the COI to determine whether he should be subject to show-cause provisions.
- A vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014. The university will provide a written report containing the games impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
- A reduction in men's basketball scholarships by two during the 2016-17 year (self-imposed by the university). Additionally, the university must reduce men's basketball scholarships by four over the probation period. The university may take the reductions during any year of that period.
- A prohibition of men's basketball coaching travel during the April 2016 recruiting period, which resulted in a reduction of men's basketball recruiting opportunities by 30 (self-imposed by the university).
- A reduction of recruiting travel during the July 2016 recruiting period by six days (self-imposed by the university).
- A reduction in the number of men's basketball official visits to a total of 10 during the 2015-16 year. Additionally, the university will have no more than a total of 16 visits during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years (self-imposed by the university).
- During the probation period, men's basketball prospects on unofficial visits may not stay overnight in any campus dorms or school-owned property.
- A disassociation of the former operations director (self-imposed by the university). The public decision describes the details of his disassociation.
- A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university). The university must also return to the NCAA the money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships. Future revenue distributions that are scheduled to be provided to the university from those tournaments also must be withheld by the conference and forfeited to the NCAA.
- A postseason ban for the men's basketball team for the 2015-16 season (self-imposed by the university).
Read the full NCAA report on Louisville
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