How parties with strippers and escorts could cost Louisville its 2013 national title
The NCAA levied stiff penalties vs. the Cardinals after a lengthy investigation of the sex scandal
The NCAA's Committee on Infractions unveiled its findings and levied its sanctions against the Louisville men's basketball program on Thursday. The case has centered around years worth of escort-laden parties that were primarily organized by a former U of L director of basketball operations, Andre McGee.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has maintained from the beginning that he had no knowledge of McGee's actions. Nevertheless, the NCAA is holding Pitino accountable and suspending him for the first five games of ACC play in 2017-18. Pitino is appealing that ruling.
In light of the news, and amid Louisville officials' passionate rejection of the NCAA's punishments, let's clear up what has happened, what could happen, and what punishments will stick. Here are the basics of what you need to know, and why this case could be historic.
Did Louisville lose its 2012-13 NCAA national championship banner?
No. Not yet. But it could if it doesn't win its appeal of the NCAA sanctions. And if it doesn't win, it will be the first time in men's basketball history that a collegiate national champion in that sport has a national title vacated. Most recently, Syracuse avoided this kind of punishment (it won the 2003 national title) but had heavy punishments elsewhere. North Carolina's academic fraud case is ongoing, and the Tar Heels -- potentially -- could lose their 2005 and/or their 2009 banners.
In regard to the 2013 Louisville NCAA Tournament title, here's what will come next: Louisville and the NCAA will work together in the coming days and/or weeks (there is a 45-day deadline; that's July 30) to determine which games Louisville won and had ineligible players involved. The NCAA said on its Thursday conference call with the media that "it's the NCAA's process to go through the analysis after the decision is released, so that the institution and the NCAA will determine [which games are vacated]. It's standard process."
According to Chuck Smrt, a compliance consultant working at Louisville, there are 108 regular-season games and 15 NCAA Tournament victories that will fall under review. Louisville could also vacate its 2012 Final Four appearance.
Louisville's sex scandal
Who are the ineligible players?
That has not been publicly disclosed. However, this is potentially what could get the 2013 title vacated: Pictures exist of former Louisville stars Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrrell allegedly at one of the infamous parties. If that is indeed corroborated, then the title will in effect be vacated because the players could retroactively be ruled ineligible. The timeline of this case begins in December 2010 and concludes in July 2014.
Does Louisville have any chance to win this case and keep its title?
Yes. Louisville has stated it will appeal all of the NCAA's punishments that were dropped Thursday.
"The penalty exceeded our expectations," Smrt said at the press conference. Louisville's interim president, Greg Postel, said the school is going to appeal "all aspects of the penalties."
Rick Pitino also expressed his dismay, stating it was "over-the-top severe. ... Personally, I've lost a lot of faith in the NCAA with what they just did."
The reason Pitino and Louisville are so taken aback by the punishments is because Louisville self-imposed a 2015 postseason ban and was proactive in punishing itself. In the past, often, schools under investigation have taken this course and subsequently dodged other potential, major sanctions.
If Louisville loses the 2013 national title banner, does that mean Michigan is the retroactive champion?
It does not. NCAA bylaws merely opt to not award a winner. Yes, it's fairly silly. But the vacating of wins and championships is one of the only ways to retroactively punish a program without harming current players and/or staff that had nothing to do with the infractions.
McGee has a 10-year "show-cause" but what is that?
A show-cause penalty does not prohibit a person from being employed at an NCAA institution, but for all intents and purposes, it's a banishment. In order for McGee to be employed by another men's basketball program, that program would have to meet every six months with the NCAA and "show cause" for why the person in question should no longer be under NCAA sanctions. Since McGee is not employed by an NCAA institution, this is the NCAA's only way of effectively punishing him, since the organization cannot technically impact his employment or living wage.
Will Pitino have to sit out five games for sure?
It is almost a definite. Why? Consider that Jim Boeheim, Larry Brown and Jim Calhoun -- like Pitino, all Hall of Famers -- had to sit out nine games apiece for infractions that happened under their watch.
What is the timeline going forward?
Louisville has 15 days to formally tell the NCAA it is going to appeal. From there, it has 30 days to file its response in paper form. The NCAA has 90 days to reply to that response and land a final verdict. We should have complete resolution on the case come the fall.
What is the total list as of now for the NCAA's punishments against Louisville?
- 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 to 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).
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