YOU’RE FIRED! Finally! From the Bird’s Nest
Finally, a scandal that stuck to Teflon Rick.
A federal investigation into bribery and corruption into college basketball has cost Rick Pitino his job.
The University of Louisville today announced Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich have been "placed on administrative leave" in the wake of yesterday's announcement, which talked of a plan to funnel $100,000 to a family of a prized recruit who wound up at Louisville. Jurich's leave is paid. Pitino's is not.
Louisville interim President Dr. Greg Postel made the announcement at a press conference. According to the contracts, in order to be fired for cause (that is, without having to pay), the two must be given ten days notice of any intent to dismiss, but the firings are a foregone conclusion, according to reports.
It's not the first time Pitino and his program have come under scrutiny. But this time, the denials and his portrayal of himself and his program as victims fell on deaf ears.
In 2010, Pitino admitted to having had sex with a woman in a closed Louisville restaurant back in 2003.. He said he was the victim of extortion and a jury agreed, sending Karen Sypher to prison. It should be noted that Hugh Freeze was fired at Ole Miss, not for having sex with a woman outside of marriage, but for calling escorts, which was a violation of the morals clause in his contract.
Oh, and he gave Sypher $3,000 for an abortion. He claimed he thought the money was for counseling.
Pitino either had no such morals clause or the school just didn't care enough to do anything about it.
Then, just a couple of years ago, the NCAA found Pitino complicit in the hiring of strippers and prostitutes to entertain recruits. Pitino disavowed any knowledge of the scandal, which he totally blamed "rogue assistant" Andre McGee, who received a ten year show cause penalty by the NCAA.
But the governing body of college athletics said Pitino did not properly monitor his program and hit him with a five game suspension at the start of this ACC season. They also ordered Louisville to vacate over 100 wins, including their 2013 National Championship.
Predictably, the Teflon Man railed against the NCAA and played the victim, again. And, his school backed him, again. They appealed the NCAA ruling. That appeal has yet to be ruled upon.
Jurich had to go as well. The AD stood by Pitino throughout all of the mess and, of course, hired Bobby Petrino as his football coach, not once, but twice, the second time after a scandal at Arkansas.
Yesterday was the last straw, for both.
Even yesterday, after the sleazy details of the federal investigation were revealed, Pitino remained defiant and in denial. "These allegations come as a complete shock to me," he said in a statement.
And, finally, the only person who believed Rick Pitino was Rick Pitino.
But then he continued:
"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," he said. "Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.
Sure, Rick. And next month when he's released from prison, O. J. Simpson will resume his quest to find the "real killers."