By Shelby Brown and Kyeland Jackson —
Rick Pitino’s time as the head men’s basketball coach is up.
U of L’s athletics association unanimously agreed to begin the process of firing Pitino “for cause” Monday. Pitino, an embattled coach, faced controversies via a high-profile affair and a sex-scandal involving the men’s basketball program. But a day after an FBI investigation said his coaches partnered with Adidas to bribe recruits into joining the school, Pitino was placed on unpaid leave.
“The decision to exercise rights for cause in an employment agreement at a university is an extremely difficult decision no matter who the person is,” Postel said. “The fact that he has the accomplishments he does is really unrelated. It’s important that we be fair and follow the agreement and do this right for any employee of the university.”
Asked why Pitino was fired without formal FBI charges against him, Postel said a letter explaining the decision would be released this week.
That letter would expand on his Sept. 27 letter, which placed Pitino on unpaid leave after news of the FBI investigation spread. In the Sept. 27 letter, Postel said the FBI’s findings represent a breach of Pitino’s contract and said his unpaid leave would continue until the FBI investigation ended or by April 30, 2018. After, the university would decide whether to fire him or not.
Postel said he did not ask for Pitino to be fired.
Tom Jurich, the school’s athletics director, was put on paid leave after news of the investigation broke too.
After Jurich was put on leave, letters asked Postel to keep Jurich and university coaches reportedly held a meeting to express unanimous support for Jurich. Postel said the administration would meet with coaches throughout the week.
“Athletics is important to me and the University of Louisville, we’re going to make sure these coaches are supported,” Postel said. “It’s going to take everyone a little while to adjust as the circumstances here continue to change.”
An interim replacement for Jurich is expected to be named tomorrow. Postel said it’s possible Jurich won’t be fired, but said it’s unclear whether that may happen.
Asked whether Jurich or Pitino should stay in a TLC poll, 42 percent of respondents said both should be fired. Thirty-four percent said only Pitino should be fired.
File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal