Pitino Recommends Legal Action to Reclaim Louisville’s National Title
The Louisville basketball team drama continues as former coach Rick Pitino asks the school to consider taking legal action to address the NCAA’s requirement that the team forfeit its national title. In February, Louisville appealed the NCAA’s decision that forced the team to forego its 2013 national title, as well as 123 wins dating back to 2011, and to pay about $600,000 in penalties. The Infractions Appeals Committee was unsympathetic to the team’s plea and affirmed the above sanctions. On February 21, 2018, immediately following the Appeals Committee’s ruling, Pitino took to a press conference in New York City to recommend that Louisville attempt to resolve the issue in court before permanently settling in on its title forfeiture. Despite that the team has already taken down its banner, he feels that this is not the end.
Pitino used the platform to publicly voice his frustration with the decision and to reiterate that he “had no knowledge of the reprehensible things that were going on in that dormitory.” Referring to former coach Andre McGee, Pitino stated that he simply “hired the wrong person for the job.” During this conference, Pitino noted his particular disdain for the outcome because it punishes the players for activities that he feels were unrelated to their victories. He has also offered that although the players should have exercised better judgment, they did not organize the events, and the benefits they received from the illicit activities did not bear weight on their success over the years. Pitino stated that the parties, which involved entertaining players with escorts and strippers, “did not enhance [their] players’ ability to win a national championship or go to a Final Four.”
Meanwhile, Pitino has likewise taken legal action against the University of Louisville, alleging wrongful termination. According to his claims, he is seeking an annual $4.3 million until June 2026, which would mark the end of his contract.
Unfortunately for Louisville, the basketball team will remain in the spotlight and crossfire of legal allegations as a separate bribery investigation is pending. Allegedly, the school played a part in the scandal involving Adidas executives making six-figure payments to the families of basketball recruits to incentivize attendance. Hopefully this will be the end of a series of turmoil for Louisville.