University of Louisville Basketball is Embroiled in another Scandal

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Nathan Moore, Staff Writer

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On September 26, 2017 the University of Louisville men’s basketball team was reportedly being investigated by the FBI in a case regarding recruiting. The U of L program has been under the microscope with several allegations of recruiting infractions in recent years. The investigation quickly escalated and included many other schools who are sponsored by Adidas.

Allegations were brought against assistant coaches Chuck Person (Auburn), Tony Bland (USC), Emanuel Richardson (Arizona), and Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State). U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said Tuesday in a news conference that the assistants “took cash bribes” to push their elite athletes towards certain financial advisors and sports agents. The coaches were charged with bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Travel Act conspiracy. All of these charges could land them a maximum of 80 years in prison

The next set of allegations were against an unnamed “sportswear company” who was paying six figure paychecks to three players. The players would then receive payment after committing to certain college basketball programs. This lead to several unnamed players being suspended from their respective universities. Louisville was one of the universities named in the investigation.

The University of Louisville has been through several scandals during the Rick Pitino Era. In 2010, Pitino testified in a federal extortion trial which involved Karen Sypher. Ms. Sypher, Rick Pitino’s ex-mistress, went to prison after requesting money and gifts from Pitino in exchange for silence. In 2015, former Louisville assistant coach Andre McGee was under investigation for organizing a sex-for-pay scandal. Because of this, Pitino was to serve a five game suspension this season and Louisville could be forced to vacate their 2013 national title and several victories. This all came after the university self-imposed a 2016 NCAA tournament ban.

Ex U of L assistant basketball coach Andre McGee
Via cnn.com

Rick Pitino claimed he was in “complete shock” upon hearing that Louisville was one of the schools involved in a federal investigation involving the fraud and corruption in recruiting. Pitino then stated that he will completely comply with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable,” Pitino said.

Rick Pitino was not the only U of L employee to come under fire from the investigation. The University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was also a name used in the investigation. Both Head Coach Rick Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich have been placed on administrative leave. Jurich’s leave will be paid, while Pitino’s will be unpaid.

“When I heard the news I was completely surprised and I kind of had mixed feelings about it. It was probably the right move because I think they won’t be punished as bad, since they did fire Coach Pitino and the athletic director. It’s going to be weird not seeing him on the bench at games,” said MCHS student and Louisville Cardinals fan Collin Birge.

“The first thing I thought was, I never knew the FBI had a basketball team,  but they must have because ESPN said they eliminated Louisville from the NCAA Tournament,” said MCHS student Brick Boldery another L1C4 believer.

The University of Louisville’s board of trustees are supposed to have a meeting to discuss Pitino and Jurich’s future with the school. Interim Louisville president Greg Postel said the board of trustees are to meet on October 19, to make a final decision. The university also suspended one unnamed player indefinitely for receiving funds from the coaches.

The U.S Attorney’s office is still investigating several schools who are sponsored by Adidas. The federal investigation into the corrupt influence of money in men’s college basketball has also sent out a subpoena to Nike. The athletic apparel company will likely be next to be investigated on a large scale.

 

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