Today Louisville University let go of longtime basketball coach Rick Pitino in wake of the investigation of fraud and corruption in college basketball by the FBI. This decision by the university comes just one day after Pitino’s attorney released a statement claiming total innocence and condemning ‘a few bad actors’.
Reporters crowded Rick Pitino as he left a meeting with the University of Louisville’s president at Grawmeyer Hall following this week’s fraud scandal. Remarkably, Pitino survived 15 seasons coaching, survivingboth a scandal between Pitino and the wife of his team’s equipment manager in 2009 and the 2015 scandal with strippers and prostitutes for players & recruits.
This time, however, Pitino could not save his job from the allegations arising from the FBI probe into fraud and bribery charges against coaches paid to influence NCAA athletes. The same investigation left over 10 coaches arrested and an Adidas executive.
The investigation showed that Adidas had been steering top level recruits to major universities. In the case of Louisville that included $100,000 to McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Brian Bowen for commitment to their program. Plans to secure payment for another unnamed player were also uncovered.
The 65-year-old coach initially expressed surprise at the allegations, but Louisville found Pitino ultimately culpable for the six-figure payments to athlete’s families to steer top recruits to the school. An assistant of the coach aided one such scheme, and university officials expressed disappointment and decisiveness: he is “effectively fired.” Tom Jurich, Louisville’s athletic director since ’97, is on paid administrative leave.
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