The NCAA Appeals Committee on Infractions announced on Tuesday that it has upheld the initial ruling from the Committee on Infractions to force the Louisville men's basketball program to vacate wins during the 2011-12 through 2014-15 seasons -- including the 2013 national title -- because student-athletes competed while ineligible during those academic years.
The Appeals Committee also upheld the Committee on Infractions penalty requiring the university to return the NCAA money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships.
The ruling marks the first time in NCAA history that a men's basketball national title has been removed from the record books.
"I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong," said UL Interim President Greg Postel in a statement. "We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case - based on NCAA precedent - that supported our argument."
The initial ruling from the NCAA stems from a scandal within the program involving a former Louisville director of basketball in which he committed "serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation," according to NCAA findings. "The violations in the case resulted in some men's basketball student-athletes competing while ineligible."
Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 in the 2013 championship game coached by now ex-Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, who was ousted last fall for his alleged involvement in a separate scandal relating to the nefarious recruitment of a five-star high school athlete.
Postel said that while the school doesn't agree with the NCAA's decision to uphold the ruling, Louisville will strive to improve and move on from this chapter.
"This dark cloud has hung over our heads for more than two years, and it has had a negative impact on our athletics program, our fans and the entire university family," Postel said. "While we disagree with the NCAA's decision, it is time for the university to close this chapter and move forward with a stronger commitment to excellence on and off the court."