After No. 12 Louisville hung on to beat Miami at home on Saturday afternoon, Rick Pitino openly questioned why Hurricane big man Tonye Jekiri was allowed to return to the game after suffering what Pitino believed was a concussion.
Miami’s athletic department did not take too kindly to those accusations. On Monday, athletic director Blake James spoke to the Associated Press, telling them that the decision to allow Jekiri to return wasn’t actually made by Miami.
“Our student-athlete was cleared to return to play after being examined not only by our trainer but by a team doctor for the University of Louisville,” James told the AP. “Ultimately, it was the Louisville team doctor who cleared our student-athlete to return to competition.”
“Our medical team and trainers at the University of Miami are among the very best in the country and any suggestion otherwise is way off base.”
Pitino was overly critical of how quickly Jekiri returned to the game.
“Here’s the ironic thing: Coach Larranaga walked over to the officials, all the way over to the other side,” Pitino told Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal on Saturday. “I’ve never seen that. I wanted to know what (Larranaga said). The official says, ‘Well, he wanted to let me know that the big guy has a concussion on that play.’ I said, ‘What motive do you need to know that? He’s back in the game.’
“So I called (Louisville football coach) Bobby Petrino — this is no joke — I said, ‘Get a hold of that Miami doctor because, in 15 minutes, a kid went from a concussion to playing and totally healthy.’ We’re sending a plane down to hire that doctor for football. We will never have a concussion ever again. He was back 3-4 minutes later. He walked all the way over there to tell him he had a concussion, then he was back in the game.”