Maya Moss, a sophomore nursing major at the University of Louisville, says she grew up cheering for the men’s basketball team — but she almost enjoyed watching head coach Rick Pitino on the sidelines more than the players on the court.
“It sounds weird, but it’s watching him that I find joy in,” Moss said.
But Moss and other students say the corruption allegations made yesterday by federal prosecutors against some college basketball assistant coaches — including two at U of L — have them questioning whether they can still take pride in the university.
Especially, Moss says, since the team is already on NCAA probation over a sex scandal involving prostitutes and recruits.
“Should I take respect in the school still?” Moss said Wednesday. “Should I be weary about it? It is just causing a lot of issues outside of athletics.”
Other students, like Solomon Belkin, shared their disappointment in Pitino.
“I feel like it is a disgrace to U of L,” said Belkin. “He is a big part of U of L athletics and people grew up watching him and all the basketball. Say he got fired, a lot people would have a piece of their heart missing.”
Sources close to the program were reporting late Wednesday morning that U of L had fired Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich; the university has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m.
That news hits some students, like Connor Elston, pretty hard.
“It just kind of makes me feel bad as a fan because I’ve been watching them since I was a little kid and I grew up and I looked up them as role models to base myself off of,” Elston said. “And it was all kind of a lie, basically.”