LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.
Interim university President Greg Postel said at a news conference Wednesday that Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.
Neither Pitino nor Jurich attended the news conference.
“I’m more angry than embarrassed,” Postel said. “We will be looking for someone with integrity. There’s no reason this team can’t have a good season.
“It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior.”
Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.
It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions handed out in June following an escort scandal that unfolded nearly two years ago, which could cost the school its 2013 national title.
Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.
Pitino, 65, was 416-143 over 16 years at Louisville, including that 2013 NCAA championship.
In the latest investigation, federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn’t name the schools but contained enough details to identify one of them as Louisville.
Postel also said Wednesday that one student-athlete has been informed he will not practice or play for the university until investigation is resolved.
“This decision will protect the interests of both the student and the University of Louisville,” Postel said.
Pitino is not named in the federal documents, though the school acknowledged it is under investigation by the FBI.
“These allegations come as a complete shock to me,” the coach said in a statement Tuesday night. “If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office that…