Louisville has received its notice of allegations from the NCAA stemming from the FBI's sweeping investigation into college basketball recruiting in 2017. According to the NOA, which was released by Louisville on Monday, UL is facing one Level I allegation -- the most serious in nature -- along with three Level II allegations.
The Level I allegation stems from the improper recruiting benefits offered to the family of an "enrolled student athlete" -- believe to be former Louisville five-star signee Brian Bowen II. According to the FBI's findings, representatives of Adidas agreed to funnel $100,000 to Bowen's family in an effort to steer him to Louisville. The Level II allegationsof failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Additionally, Louisville is facing a Level II allegation for failure to monitor its staff. Two former coaches -- presumably Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair -- are also alleged to have provided impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact.
Below are the four violations Louisville is accused by the NCAA of committing:
- A Level I allegation that an improper recruiting offer, and subsequent extra benefits to the family of an enrolled student athlete; and a recruiting inducement to a prospective student-athlete's non-scholastic coach/trainer, were provided by certain individuals, purportedly identified and defined by the NCAA as "representatives of the university's athletics interests", none of whom had traditional connections to the University beyond their affiliation with Adidas or professional athlete management entities, as well as by a former assistant coach and a former associate head coach;
- A Level II allegation of recruiting violations by the same two former men's basketball coaching staff members in providing impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact in the context of recruitment-related activities;
- A Level II allegation that the institution failed to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete;
- A Level II allegation that the former head men's basketball coach did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance;
Bowen was immediately suspended by the school after the indictment. Pitino and longtime Athletic Director Tom Jurich were fired in the weeks following the news, along with Johnson and Fair.
Louisville is still on probation for its 2015 escort scandal, which forced the school into vacating 123 wins including the 2013 national championship. The Cardinals self-imposed a one-year postseason ban as a result, along with taking a reduction in scholarships and recruiting restrictions. Because of that, the university finds itself in a tough spot regarding potential punishment, the severity of which will depend on whether the NCAA's Committee on Infractions determines if the Level I violation is found to be aggravated, standard or mitigated. An aggravated violation could include a one- to five-year postseason ban. A standard violation could mean a one or two-year postseason ban. Athletic Director Vince Tyra said in a virtual press conference that he thought it was "highly unlikely that we would miss our opportunity to play in [the NCAA] tournament next year." The University does not plan to self-impose another postseason ban.
Pitino is also facing two aggravating factors that could shape a potential suspension: a history of major violations regarding an escort scandal in 2015 and a show-cause order at the time he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Pitino was Iona in March after a stint coaching overseas in Greece.at
These two potential aggravating factors don't bode well for Rick Pitino when the Committee on Infractions views his case. He's change with a Level II violation, but there's two potentially aggravating factors. (These will help guide potential suspension length.) pic.twitter.com/7tkPpgYRNC— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) May 4, 2020
In response to the allegations, Louisville released the following statement indicating that it won't roll over in fighting back against allegations it disagrees with. Tyra did not specify which allegation(s) the university plans to fight.
It is important to remember that these are allegations—not facts—and the University will diligently prepare a full and comprehensive response and, absent an unforeseen development, submit it within the prescribed ninety-day period. For those allegations that are proven to be factual, the University will take responsibility, as accountability is one of our core Cardinal Principles. However, we will not hesitate to push back where the evidence does not support the NCAA's interpretations or allegations of charges. U of L has a right and a responsibility to stand up for itself when faced with unfair or unfounded charges and will always act in the best interests of the institution. Our legal team has begun the process of reviewing the Notice and will prepare a thorough response on behalf of the University.
The university has 90 days to submit its response to the NOA. A final decision on Louisville's punishment likely won't come for another year.