The Louisville Cardinals Men’s Basketball team, and the university at large, have more on their minds than basketball as the season nears. Nearly three weeks ago, Louisville received a notice of allegations from the NCAA Infractions Committee ,charging the Cardinal coaching staff with various violations. The most glaring charge holds Head Coach, Rick Pitino, failed to monitor the program. However, the committee did not allege a lack of institutional control, which could have led to serious consequences for the basketball program. At this point, it is unknown rather the basketball programs will face farther violations after imposing a post season ban last year.
The NCAA did impose penalties on former Director of Basketball Operations, Andre McGee, with a Level I violation and a five-year show-cause penalty. The school has not been told of any subsequent infractions and will not face others actions. Pitino however, could face future discipline for failure to monitor his employees. Athletics Director, Tom Jurich has pledged support for Pitino saying, “We will appeal any decision made against Coach Pitino.
The allegations against Pitino stem from a book written by former escort, Katina Powell.In the memoir, Powell alleged that McGee arranged for prostitutes and strippers to be at parties where recruits and their families were present. Powell also published records showing she received payments from McGee over a period of several years.
Pitino is no stranger to controversies of this nature. The Louisville head coach was involved in an extortion case several years ago stemming from an affair with Louisville resident Karen Sypher. For her Involvement, Sypher was sentenced to seven years in prison for lying to the FBI and extortion. While Pitino was not charged in the incident the issue is a pattern of behavior. There is no questioning Pitino’s coaching ability, the man has two national titles and took three different schools to the Final Four. However, at what point is the pattern of behavior enough? If Pitino is assessed other penalties it may be time for the Cardinal to look for a new head bird.