Ex-Louisville coach Rick Pitino again claims he had no knowledge of recruiting scandal

Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino appeared Wednesday on ESPN where he claimed that he had no knowledge of a payment being made from a Louisville assistant coach to the family of former five-star recruit Brian Bowen, a Cardinals freshman.

In the interview with Jay Bilas that came days after his firing, Pitino cited a lie detector test he took earlier in the month as proof that he was not aware of nefarious activities despite apparent FBI evidence to the contrary.

"I was asked two questions," Pitino said. "And I said, 'I want you to ask me if any other recruits in my tenure were ever given anything.' And he [the polygraph examiner] said, 'That's not what we're here for. We're here for: Did you have any knowledge of the Bowen family getting any money? Did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?'

"I answered 'absolutely not' on both questions and passed the lie detector test. So I had no knowledge of any of this."

The FBI announced last month that 10 people, including four college basketball assistant coaches, were charged with crimes related to an ongoing investigation into corruption and bribery. And while neither Louisville nor Pitino were explicitly named, interim president Greg Postel later confirmed the school was part of the probe, and CBS News identified Pitino as "Coach-2" in the documents -- an individual who allegedly assisted in funneling money to the Bowen family.

In the wake of the FBI's findings, Pitino said he was asked to resign from his post -- which he refused to do. But the bombshell information in the court documents ultimately led to his ousting.

Pitino remained adamant Wednesday that Bowen's commitment came as happenstance despite the optics of the situation.

"I have no factual information on the statement I'm going to make right now: I don't believe Brian Bowen knew a single thing about this," Pitino told Bilas. "I'm totally of the belief that the mom knew nothing about this because of the text message she sent me. Brian Bowen is a terrific young man.

"He fell into our lap in recruiting. Obviously, now with the circumstances behind it, there's more to it than meets the eye. But I believe Brian Bowen chose the University of Louisville because he loved the visit, he loved his future teammates and he wanted to play for me. I don't think he's involved in this in any way. Now, am I being naïve? I don't know. I just believe in that young man."

Pitino filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Adidas -- which terminated its personal services contract with him Monday. He is alleging the company intentionally damaged his reputation and is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

"This lawsuit is about more than just money; it is coach Pitino's vehicle for proving that he had nothing to do with Adidas' outrageous, wrongful and illegal conspiracy," the lawsuit says.

You can watch the entire interview with Pitino in the video below.

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