Normally who does or doesn’t attend conference media days isn’t big news; it’s usually the head coach and a player (or players) of his choosing with expected key contributors usually getting the nod. But in the case of Louisville, with an ongoing investigation regarding the paying of escorts to entertain recruits and players to deal with, the fact that head coach Rick Pitino won’t be in Charlotte for ACC Media Day next Wednesday is news.
Louisville announced this decision via press release Friday afternoon, citing advice from its legal counsel as the reason why the Hall of Fame coach won’t accompany players Damion Lee, Trey Lewis and Mangok Mathiang.
“I do not want the allegations we are facing to negatively impact the other 14 institutions on what should be a great event to talk about the approaching basketball season,” Pitino said in the release. “I realize that while many would like to question me on the allegations, the NCAA does not permit me to speak on the subject.”
This move is the opposite of what happened at last year’s ACC Media Day. Both Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and North Carolina’s Roy Williams showed up, even with their respective programs dealing with NCAA investigation questions. While there clearly are questions Pitino would be wise to not answer at this time, not going with his players even if it’s to simply say “no comment” or “I can’t comment on that” repeatedly is a move that will draw criticism.
This news comes on the heels of former staffer Andre McGee resigning from his assistant coaching position at UMKC earlier Friday. Also on Friday the former escort at the center of this investigation, Katina Powell, appeared on “The View” and once again stated that McGee told her that Pitino “knew everything” about the arrangement.