Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Out at Louisville
Head basketball coach Rick Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich have officially been relieved of their duties at the University of Louisville, per sources at ESPN.
The dismissal of the iconic basketball coach of the Cardinals and Athletic Director comes in the wake of a federal investigation into recruiting violations for fraud and corruption.
Earlier this morning there was a meeting between Pitino, Jurich and interim President Greg Postel. The conclusion from that meeting? That there would be a press conference where the two men would not be present.
There was a huge announcement out of the NCAA by the FBI following a three-year investigation into charges of fraud and corruption against 10 men associated with college basketball as a whole. Those included were named as, assistant coaches Chuck Person (Auburn), Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State), Emanuel "Book" Richardson (Arizona) and Tony Bland (USC). In addition, James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas; Merl Code, a fellow Adidas employee; Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent; Munish Sood, who's a financial adviser; Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative and program director of the Adidas-sponsored 1 Family AAU program; and Rashan Michel, a former NBA official who founded Thompson Bespoke Clothing, creating custom clothing for athletes.
After these allegations came about on Tuesday Pitino was quoted as saying, "These allegations come as a complete shock to me."
He also went on to elaborate a bit, "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville," Pitino said. "Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."
Rick Pitino has seemingly put this program in a bad way since he's been here but specifically of late. In 2015, the NCAA was involved in launching a full fledged investigation into a sex-for-pay scandal involving the Cardinals basketball team. This scandal wasn't organized by Rick Pitino but by former Louisville assistant coach Andre McGee. This scandal tainted the Cardinal basketball program that could force them to vacate their 2013 national title and many victories.
The reports are that Pitino would be facing more allegations for violations and felt that he would not be able to get around these unscathed. So, instead of putting the program through the ringer yet again, he and Athletic Director Tom Jurich have stepped away from the program to avoid further complications.
Pitino was very successful in his time at Louisville. Since he had taken over in the 2001-02 season, his Cardinals had a .744 winning percentage (sixth nationally), 28 NCAA tournament wins (ninth) and three Final Four appearances (tied for sixth).