Rick Pitino couldn’t survive another scandal as an angry interim Louisville president Wednesday placed the head men’s college basketball coach and his boss on administrative leave amid a nationwide federal bribery investigation that has rocked the sport.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rick Pitino couldn’t survive another scandal as an angry interim Louisville president Wednesday placed the men’s college basketball coach and his boss on administrative leave amid a nationwide federal bribery investigation that has rocked the sport.
President Greg Postel’s decision 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.
Postel didn’t stop with Pitino. Postel sidelined athletic director Tom Jurich, putting him on paid administrative leave. And though Pitino isn’t officially out of a job — he was placed on unpaid leave — the coach’s attorney, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.
“I’m more angry than embarrassed,” Postel said, adding that an interim coach would be announced within 48 hours.
Most Read Stories
Pitino has a 416-143 record over 16 years at Louisville, including the 2013 NCAA championship. But there have been continuing off the court issues.
Jurich, who has been at the school for nearly 20 years, has always supported Pitino through many embarrassing transgressions.
But Postel said, “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.”
The recent federal investigation is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program, which is already reeling from a sex scandal that unfolded nearly two years ago.
Pitino and Louisville are appealing NCAA sanctions handed out in June after a former basketball staff member who had played under Pitino hired prostitutes to entertain recruits and players in an on-campus dormitory.
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…