Trouble in Louisville
In a time where there is constant pressure on college sports programs from fans, donors, alumni and the university. Coaches and recruiters do everything they can to bring in players that will help the team win. The Louisville basketball program overstepped their bounds and will face sanctions from the NCAA for doing so.
In the summer of 2015, the University of Louisville was informed that a book called, “Breaking Cardinal Rules” existed, which was written by an adult escort, Katina Powell. In the book, Powell talked about how former UL basketball staff member Andre McGee, paid her $10,000 for her and others to perform and have sex with current and prospective basketball players. Thus, the NCAA launched an investigation.
The investigation recently concluded, finding that Powell’s claims were correct and that 15 prospects, 3 current student-athletes, two coaches and others were involved, 7 to 10 of which were minors. The NCAA deemed that head basketball coach Rick Pitino, was at fault because he allowed McGee to interact with the prospects in their dorms. Sanctions from the investigation include: wiping all basketball records from December 2010 to July 2014, forfeiting four scholarships, a $5,000 fine, four-year probation for the basketball program, and Pitino being suspended for the team’s first 5 ACC games this upcoming season. Wiping basketball records during that time frame would include 108 regular season games and 15 NCAA Tournament wins, which could include their 2013 National Championship.
Greg Postel, University Interim President, was quoted saying the school was “saddened by what took place, but the penalties went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable” which is understandable considering the university placed a 2016 post season ban on the basketball program. In a news conference, Pitino said he believed that sanctions were “'over the top'. It’s to the point where it’s not even conceivable what I just read. We believe we will win the appeal because it’s right and it’s just”.
As Pitino mentioned, the University will be appealing the NCAA’s ruling. While I think the program’s punishment is just, I also believe Pitino himself got a slap on the wrist. With recruiting and other various scandals for college sports programs occurring more frequently, you would think the coaches that run the programs would get more severe punishments. A five-game suspension is nothing, considering one of Pitino’s staff members paid for escorts to have sex with prospects who were minors. I hope the program recovers from the sanctions but I think the punishments should stay as they are.