Tag: Louisville Cardinals

Rick Pitino
Associated Press

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.

Louisville president issues statement supporting AD Tom Jurich

James Ramsay Tom Jurich
Associated Press
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With it being reported earlier Wednesday that one-time Louisville commit JaQuan Lyle “confirmed the gist” of what was written about him in the new book “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” things have gotten even more serious for Rick Pitino’s program than anticipated when allegations of former staffer Andre McGee procuring prostitutes for players and recruits began to surface on Friday.

On Friday both Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich stated that they had no knowledge of the activities alleged by Katina Powell taking place (Powell stated that Pitino did know). But even if this is true, in the case of Pitino having NCAA rules violations occur while in charge of a program can lead to penalties even if there is no knowledge of wrongdoing.

Wednesday afternoon Louisville president James Ramsey issued a three-paragraph statement on the current investigation of the basketball program. But while he was clear in stating his support for Jurich during this period, no such statement was made when it came to Pitino. Below is the full statement.

“As was stated last week, when we learned of the allegations toward our men’s basketball team, we immediately hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the alleged misconduct. Chuck advised us that we should also report these allegations to the NCAA so they could join our investigation.

“For the past 18 years, Tom Jurich has served as athletic director of an exemplary program at UofL. I fully support Tom as we work to identify the facts in this situation, and that is what we are doing. Tom and I are committed to the values that are fundamental to the success of Cardinal athletics.

“As I stated in the recent State of the University address, it is important that the university — all of us — stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding students with a world-class education. The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.”

Jurich has accomplished a great deal while serving as the school’s athletic director, and his work across all sports is arguably the biggest reason why Louisville finds itself in the ACC today. While showing confidence in his athletic director, Ramsey also appears to distance higher ups from what is alleged to have happened within the basketball program should the NCAA find enough evidence to levy sanctions.

Could that ultimately lead to the school parting ways with its head coach? It’s far too early to answer that question, but this statement gives Louisville some room to do so should the deem that to be the best course of action.

h/t CBS Sports 

Report: Former Louisville recruit Lyle confirms allegations to NCAA

The Spaulding Hoop Hall Classic
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With the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules” released over the weekend, the Louisville basketball program has some serious allegations to look into. Escort Katina Powell alleged that she was paid by then Louisville staffer Andre McGee to entice recruits through the use of prostitutes, with three being her own daughters. For the NCAA, an investigation into this would involve them looking to prove the validity of the allegations in the book.

MORE: Will Pitino be fired?

But without subpoena power the NCAA can’t force Powell (who said she reached out to the NCAA) to sit down for a conversation regarding the allegations made in her book. But they can interview current players who may have been involved, whether they’re at Louisville or another school. And Wednesday it was reported by Yahoo Sports that the NCAA has interviewed a former Louisville recruit regarding his alleged involvement in the scandal.

JaQuan Lyle, who in June 2013 committed to Louisville and whose name was mentioned in Powell’s book, was interviewed by NCAA investigators according to Pat Forde’s report. But according to the report an Ohio State spokesman said that they aren’t too concerned when it comes to Lyle’s eligibility. Here’s the excerpt in the book in which Lyle’s name appeared according to Yahoo Sports:

“Been a long time since we’ve been up to U of L to do a show. McGee texted me like, what’s up? He wanted me to bring three girls up there for a new recruit named JaQuan Lyle, he and his friend. I took (escorts) Rod-Ni, TooTall, Jazmine and Shay, who calls herself Sammi. TooTall made $100, Shay made $100, and Jazzy made nothing because she did absolutely nothing.”

(10/8 UPDATE, 11:06 a.m.: Louisville’s worst concerns reportedly came to fruition as Lyle has confirmed the allegations in Powell’s book, according to CBSSports.com.)

(10/8 UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: According to WDRB Louisville, a former Louisville player discussed with school investigators one occasion in which strippers were present in the players’ dorm, while also disputing some of the other claims made by Powell in her book.)

Lyle would eventually reopen his recruitment in November 2013, landing at Oregon where he wasn’t allowed to enroll in 2014. After spending some time at IMG Academy in Florida the former five-star prospect committed to Ohio State as a member of its 2015 recruiting class.

In order to get current players (LSU’s Antonio Blakeney has also reportedly been interviewed) to cooperate the NCAA can dangle the threat of a loss of eligibility in front of them. And unless those who can’t be forced to speak decide to sit down for conversations, this is the best way for investigators to acquire information. With the names of other players appearing in Powell’s book, look for more announcements of interviews with the NCAA to come in the days and weeks ahead.