By Sam Draut–
After the announcement of a self-imposed postseason ban for men’s basketball Feb. 5, the university announced additional self-imposed sanctions today.
The men’s basketball team will reduce its scholarships by one for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Though the NCAA investigation is ongoing, the university investigation team led by Chuck Smrt has proactively collaborated with the NCAA in an effort to comply with standards.
Along with scholarship reductions, U of L will decrease recruiting opportunities and official visits. The numbers of days the coaching staff can recruit will be decreased by 30 days effective immediately and official visits will be reduced by two.
“Like the decision on the post-season ban, the decision to impose these penalties was difficult and reach through a collaborative process,” U of L said in a statement. “President Ramsey has received input from its NCAA compliance and infractions counsel Steve Thompson of Nixon Peabody LLP; its lead investigator and NCAA consultant Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group; the University’s special investigative committee; Director of Athletics Tom Jurich; and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Pitino.”
“After much deliberation, the university believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate. While the university could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do and may advance the university’s goal of expediting resolution of this matter,” Thompson said.
U of L’s special investigative committee is not able discuss the investigation or the facts developed to date stemming from the allegations made by Katina Powell and her book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” The book alleges that Powell, along with former director of basketball operations Andre McGee, hosted parties with strippers and paid prostitutes at the men’s basketball on-campus dorm Billy Minardi Hall from 2010-14.
Read the full statement here.
Former DuPont Manual High School star and 2015 Seventh Region Player of the Year Dwayne Sutton is transferring to the University of Louisville after playing one season at UNC Asheville. The 6-foot-5 guard committed to Louisville on Friday and accepted a preferred walk-on spot for Rick Pitino’s roster.
Sutton will sit out the 2016-17 season after averaging 12.7 points and 7.7 rebounds at UNC Asheville this season. He earned Big South tournament Most Valuable Player honors and helped UNC Asheville reach the NCAA tournament. Sutton will have three years of eligibility remaining after he sits out next season.
With the 2015-16 college basketball season officially ending last week, numerous pre-season rankings for the 2016-17 were released following Villanova’s 77-74 win over North Carolina. Though uncertainty remains around the program because of the NCAA investigation and the status of Chinanu Onuaku return, Louisville was ranked in the top-10 by several preseason polls.
Pitino loses his two leading scorers from this season, Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, but a large portion of the production returns for next season. Three freshmen, Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Ray Spalding showed promise throughout the year. Rising junior Quentin Snider and graduate-transfer Tony Hicks make up a competent backcourt.
ESPN’s “Way Too Early Top-25” ranked the Cardinals fifth behind Duke, Kentucky, Villanova and Kansas, siting Louisville “will be a force” if Onuaku spurns the NBA draft and sanctions aren’t levied by the NCAA.
SB Nation also ranked Louisville fifth in its pre-season poll if Onuaku returns and the program avoids any additional sanctions, predicting Louisville will “bee right back in the national championship mix.”
CBS Sports ranked the Cardinals 20th in their “ridiculously early preseason poll.”
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal