Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino: ‘I’ve lost faith in NCAA’

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Louisville head coach Rick Pitino issued a statement on Thursday afternoon, highly critical of the punishments handed down to him and his program by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

“For 35 some odd years, I’ve had a lot of faith in the NCAA and have reacted that way accordingly as a head basketball coach; in the belief of their rules,” Pitino said. “I’ve thought that in the recent past they’ve made some great adjustments to the rules that have helped players along the way. I feel now like everybody here that not only is it unjust, unfair, over-the-top severe, but I’ve personally lost a lot of faith in the NCAA and everything I’ve stood for in the last 35 years with what they just did.”

Pitino would go on to say he is putting his faith in the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee.

Currently, Pitino is suspended for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season. However, the program has to vacate 108 games during the span of Dec. 2010 through July 2014. That would include the 2013 national championship victory over Michigan.

Louisville will appeal the committee’s ruling.

Video: Rick Pitino gets buckets in old man’s league

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Rick Pitino gets buckets.

The Louisville coach and Hall of Famer provided some offensive firepower and a whole lot of internet #content Tuesday by playing in a 55-and-over men’s league in Coral Springs, Fla.

Pitino, 64, said he hasn’t played competitively since he was the head coach at Kentucky, when Billy Donovan and the rest of his staff there would get 90 minutes of run in starting at 5:30 a.m. Stops in Boston and with the Cardinals saw that practice come to an end, though.

Now, he’s playing in a tournament in Florida, spotting up for corner 3s and putting points on the board nearly 45 years after his collegiate career at UMass came to an end.

For being on the shelf for 20 years, Pitino’s shooting form looks pretty solid, if his release is a bit slow. Didn’t see a whole lotta hustle back to the defensive end of the floor, either. Plenty to work on, and plenty for his players to needle him on when they all get back to campus this summer.

Report: NCAA affirms its Louisville allegations

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The NCAA continues to hold the position that Louisville coach Rick Pitino failed to properly monitor the program amid the scandal surrounding a former staffer and illicit parties, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

Louisville received the notice of allegations from the NCAA in January, and In its response, Louisville did not deny the NCAA’s findings, but argued that Pitino should not have been seen as failing to monitor Andre McGee, who is alleged to have organized the gatherings at Minardi Hall on the Louisville campus.

McGee is alleged to have paid for women to dance for and perform sex acts on Cardinals recruits.

The NCAA stated that Pitino “did not uphold his duties as head coach and in doing so, failed to discover” McGee’s actions and that if he “saw no red flags in connection with McGee’s interactions with then prospective student-athletes, it was because he was not looking for them,” according to ESPN’s report.

The original allegations were made by Katina Powell in a book that was published in 2015.

Louisville self-imposed a 2016 postseason ban and scholarship reductions as part of the scandal, but was looking to avoid further punishment on Pitino, who could be subject to suspension.

 

Report: Pitino, Louisville respond to NCAA notice of allegations

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Rick Pitino asserts he should not be charged with failure to monitor while Louisville argues it should not be subject to Level I NCAA punishment stemming from the sex scandal that was exposed at the school in 2015, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

“The enforcement staff has overreached in this case,” Pitino’s attorney wrote in the document that responds to the NCAA’s notice of allegations. “Pitino should never have been charged.”

According to the NCAA notice of allegations, Pitino failed to monitor staff member Andre McGee, who allegedly hired escorts for recruits on visits to campus. In its response, Louisville argues it should be subject to less harsh Level I, mitigating, penalties rather than Level I because the activities did not have a major effect on its recruiting efforts nor did the level of benefit “equate to a large amount,” according to ESPN.

Pitino’s attorney wrote that the NCAA enforcement staff “has not identified one red flag that put Pitino on notice of McGee’s illicit activities.”

Louisville’s self-imposed sanctions include a scholarship reduction and an 2016 postseason ban.

 

Rick Pitino responds to Calipari’s comments on NCAA investigations

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Last week Kentucky head coach John Calipari raised some eyebrows with his comments on a podcast hosted by Mike Lupica. During his appearance on the show Calipari alluded to the NCAA investigations at Louisville and North Carolina, stating that “if it happens on your campus, and it happens with your assistants and those people, you probably have a pretty good idea of what’s going on.”

Now Calipari didn’t refer to either Louisville’s Rick Pitino or North Carolina’s Roy Williams directly, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out the cases he was referring to in his comments. He also remarked on the NCAA’s enforcement of its rules, and the idea that some believe the governing body practices selective enforcement with the more powerful programs getting away with more.

Monday afternoon Pitino issued his reply to Calipari’s comments during his media availability at Louisville.

“Whether it’s Duke last month or us this month, these type of comments – we’re here to build up the image of college basketball, not tear people down,” Pitino said, making a reference to Calipari’s recruiting manifesto that many believed was a shot at Duke and its recruiting tactics.

“I don’t live in a glass house, and I don’t throw stones.”

Throughout the still ongoing NCAA investigation into the Katina Powell scandal that led to Louisville self-imposing a postseason ban, Pitino has stated that he personally knew nothing about the events that took place. Some may believe that while others remain skeptical

Per the Louisville Courier-Journal, Pitino also stated that he would look to see what Calipari meant by his comments should the two see each other at some point this summer. And with the two programs recruiting many of the nation’s top prospects, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which they don’t cross paths when recruiting reopens next month.

As investigations continue, Louisville’s Pitino looks ahead

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Rick Pitino raved about Louisville’s potential next season, suggesting Tuesday that the Cardinals’ length and speed mirrors the strengths of the 1996 NCAA championship squad he coached at archrival Kentucky.

That’s high praise for a team that must replace its top three scorers, but it’s a way for the coach to try and move past a tumultuous season of scandal that engulfed his program.

Several investigations are ongoing into escort Katina Powell’s book allegations that former Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee paid her and other strippers to perform for recruits and players from 2010-14. The school has self-imposed several penalties, including a postseason ban from last year’s NCAA Tournament and reductions in scholarships and recruiting visits.

Pitino has been mum about whether the NCAA has interviewed him as part of its investigation. But he talked about the scandal in the past tense Tuesday as he discussed next season’s bright prospects.

“It still bothers me, I’m not going to lie to you,” Pitino said. “It bothers me when a trust is broken, and I still have sleepless nights thinking (why) you did something like this. …

“You put it behind you by getting encouraged and excited about this schedule, the team we have and the potential to be a contender for a championship next year.”

There is so much potential, that Pitino foresees Louisville being able to show the same strengths as that Kentucky team that earned one of his two titles as a coach.

The group has a major void to fill.

Sophomore center/forward Chinanu Onuaku is entering the NBA draft along with graduate transfers Trey Lewis and Damion Lee, a trio that combined for more than 37 points per game in helping the No. 16 Cardinals finish 23-8.

Despite the departures, Louisville returns plenty of size up front with 6-foot-10 senior Mangok Mathiang, who’s progressing from a season-ending foot injury. He’ll be joined by Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman, two 7-footers, and forwards Jaylen Johnson, Ray Spalding and Deng Adel – whom Pitino said he expects “big things” from.

“I’ve been toying all spring because I’ve had time on my hands with a style that would fit this team best,” Pitino said, “but we’re going to try to play just like that basketball team. (By) no means do I say we have that type of talent.

“But we have that type of length, that type of quickness, that type of athleticism, so we are going to play like that team.”

Pitino named Mathiang and junior guard Quentin Snider (9.4 points per game, team-high 109 assists) as co-captains of a team that also returns dynamic guard Donovan Mitchell.

Though Louisville’s self-imposed sanctions include eliminating one scholarship for 2017 and 2018, and 30 fewer days to recruit, Pitino said the investigation hasn’t hurt the school on the recruiting trail. The Cardinals will welcome their first high school All-American since 2011 in 6-7 guard/forward V.J. King and 6-3 guard Frankie Hughes.

“We haven’t had any resistance whatsoever and we’re off to a great start,” Pitino said of recruiting, adding that he’d like to surrender the scholarships for this year if possible.

With a challenging schedule featuring neighboring Indiana, Purdue along with its usual Atlantic Coast Conference docket and annual Bluegrass showdown against Kentucky, Pitino suggested that looking ahead was the only choice.

“We want to get everything behind us,” Pitino said. “It was a very difficult year emotionally, it was a very difficult year for all of us and we’d like to put every single thing behind us. Sometimes you cherish the past, and other times you’d like to forget the past.”