Education Sports

University of Louisville Interim President Gregory Postel cited “a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior” in notifying basketball coach Rick Pitino his contract is being terminated.

The U of L Athletic Association authorized Postel to start proceedings to fire Pitino “for cause,” according to a letter dated Oct. 3. The letter, sent to Pitino’s attorneys, cited the escort scandal and the ongoing FBI investigation as evidence Pitino violated several clauses in his contract.

The letter also mentions a new finding: that Pitino failed to notify the athletics department’s compliance office about a May campus visit from Christian Dawkins — “someone known to have acted as an ‘agent’ for athletes.” Dawkins was indicted on wire fraud in the case announced last week.

“Your involvement in these recent scandals cannot be considered isolated events,” Postel said. “Instead, they are illustrative of a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior.”

Pitino’s hearing on the termination is scheduled for the ULAA board meeting on Oct. 16.

Pitino’s attorney Steve Pence said in a letter to the university, dated Sept. 29 but released by the university on Friday, that the school violated Pitino’s contract when it didn’t properly notify Pitino of his suspension or conduct an internal investigation. Pitino is invoking his own right to terminate the contract, the letter said, and the university has 30 days to restore him to full-time status. Otherwise, Pence said, U of L must pay him the rest of his contract.

The remainder of Pitino’s contract is worth an estimated $44 million.

Read the university’s letter here:

Kate Howard is a veteran investigative reporter specializing in government accountability and higher education issues.