Education Sports

A day after the University of Louisville men’s basketball program was implicated in a wide-scale corruption scheme in college basketball, interim president Gregory Postel announced head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich would be placed on leave pending review of their positions at the university.

Pitino said in a statement Tuesday night that the allegations came as a complete shock to him — a sentiment he’s shared in response to a previous scandal, too.

Since taking over as head coach of the Cards in 2001, Pitino has been involved — and survived — some high-profile scandals. 

Here’s a refresher of what led up to today: 

April 2009

Pitino is implicated in an extortion scheme by Karen Sypher, the estranged wife of a U of L equipment manager. Sypher claims Pitino raped her. Pinto denies the charge but admits to having sex with her. He also admits to paying Sypher $3,000 to have an abortion.

Pitino goes to the FBI and later testifies against Sypher in a federal case.

Sypher is sentenced to seven years in prison for trying to extort cash, cars and a house from Pitino. Sypher is released in 2017.

Pitino makes a public apology for having sex with a woman outside his marriage and said he planned to remain at U of L until retirement.

October 2015

A criminal investigation is launched following the publication of the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” in which author Katina Powell claims she was paid by former basketball staffer Andre McGee to provide strippers and prostitutes to U of L basketball players and recruits.

Pitino maintains that he had no involvement in the scandal and was unaware of McGee’s actions. 

“I questioned everybody, if anybody has even a little knowledge or hearsay or seen anybody. And everybody, to the person, over 15 people, said they had no knowledge of anything, never seen anything.”

In May 2017, a Jefferson County grand jury declines to return an indictment in connection with the sex scandal.

June 15, 2017

The NCAA suspends Rick Pitino for five games following its investigation of the sex scandal involving former Cardinal staffer Andre McGhee. Other punishments: a vacation of wins between 2010-2014, including the 2013 National Championship.

Pitino is in the process of appealing his suspension.

Following the NCAA’s report, attorney Scott Tompsett issues a statement on behalf of Pitino:

“The finding against Coach Pitino is one of the weakest I’ve ever seen against a head coach.

“The original allegation was that Coach Pitino failed to monitor by not actively looking for and evaluating red flags. But throughout the entire investigation and the nearly twelve-hour hearing before the Committee on Infractions, not once did either the enforcement staff or the Committee ever identify a single red flag. And today’s decision does not mention the phrase “red flag” a single time.

“Instead, the decision hinges on a vaguely-worded rationale about creating an environment in which the violations eventually occurred, alleged delegating of monitoring to assistant coaches and Coach Pitino’s failure to train Mr. McGee.

“But the decision does not identify a single specific thing that Coach Pitino should have done, that he wasn’t already doing, that would have either prevented or detected the illicit activities. The secret and deliberately hidden illicit activities certainly did not occur because Coach Pitino did not properly train Mr. McGee.

“Today’s decision breaks with established head coach control precedent and imposes a standard of strict liability.

“Coach Pitino intends to exercise his right to appeal the finding and the penalty.”

September 26, 2017

U of L is implicated in a widespread college basketball corruption scheme.

Federal court documents implicate university and amateur coaches, officials with Adidas and sports money managers.

Court documents imply that the University of Louisville was part of the investigation, which includes a secretly recorded meeting in which one university coach allegedly discusses illegal payments to a recruit’s family.

U of L’s interim president, Gregory Postel, confirmed the school’s involvement in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Pitino released a statement through his attorney:

“These allegations come as a complete shock to me. 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. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.”

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.