Rick Pitino suspended by NCAA and men’s basketball placed on four-year probation

By Dalton Ray–

The NCAA has suspended men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino for the first five ACC games of the 2017-2018 season and placed the program on a four-year probation. The sanctions result from the NCAA’s investigation into a sex scandal brought to national attention by Katina Powell’s book ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules’ in fall of 2015.

U of L also faces a vacation of basketball records for ineligible student-athletes competing between December 2010 to July 2014.

“The university will provide a written report containing the games impacted (by the vacation of records),” the NCAA’s release said, “to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.”

The NCAA is not discussing games impacted by the sanctions — which wins will or will not be taken away — because of “standard practice.”

Louisville faces a reduction in scholarships and recruiting restrictions during probation, a $5,000 fine and would return some money earned for its appearances in the 2012 to 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships.

Interim President Greg Postel said the university will appeal the NCAA’s decision.

“The entire U of L community is saddened by what took place. It never should have happened, and that is why the school acted to severely penalize itself in 2016,” Postel’s statement said. “Today, however, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable. We intend to appeal all aspects of the penalties.”

“The person responsible for these activities, Andre McGee, long ago left the university, and he has yet to cooperate with investigating officials. We are disappointed that he was not cooperative. In contrast, U of L did cooperate. We wanted the NCAA Enforcement Staff to uncover what happened. We have been open and transparent throughout this process.”

McGee, the former director of basketball operations, has received a 10-year show cause order and former assistant coach Brandon Williams received a one-year show cause order. A show-cause order bars McGee from all athletic-related duties and from interacting with possible students and their parents at NCAA schools. Williams could lose some or all athletic privileges like McGee, but the NCAA university employing him would decide.

“NCAA members agree that schools must provide a safe, healthy and positive environment for their student-athletes, not only academically, but in all facets of their lives,” the panel said. “The former operations director, the individual entrusted to keep order at Minardi Hall, created an environment that has no place on a college campus and was directly at odds with college athletics and higher education.”

By not cooperating, McGee and Williams violated the NCAA ethical conduct rules.

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal

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