LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Rick Pitino’s attorney has told the Louisville Athletic Association that it should not fire the coach of the men’s basketball program because his client “could not have known” about activities alleged in a national federal investigation of the sport.
Steve Pence made his case Monday while the ULAA was meeting to discuss whether to fire Pitino nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged the program’s involvement in the investigation. The association board is still meeting and has not announced its decision.
Association, a separate body that oversees Louisville’s sports programs and comprised of trustees, faculty, students and administrators, on Oct. 2 authorized university interim President Greg Postel to begin the process of firing Pitino for cause after Postel placed him on unpaid administrative leave Sept. 27.
Pitino, 65, is not named in court complaints in the federal probe but Postel said in a disciplinary letter that the allegations violated his contract.
Pence has contended that Louisville rushed to judgment and made his case before the board for 45 minutes on Monday.
He said Pitino should be retained and noted, “The coach did not engage in any of this activity, he didn’t know about the activity. I think we made a very compelling case to the board, I think they listened attentively and we’ll just have to wait and see what they say.”
Pitino has coached 16 years with the program, a run that included winning the 2013 NCAA championship but was tarnished by several embarrassing off-court incidents.