By Matt Bradshaw —
From Rick Pitino to Papa John, U of L has experienced so many scandals in the last few years it’s hard to imagine simpler times. Inevitably, past skeletons continue to surface as more information regarding the scandals is discovered.
According to court documents filed earlier this week, ex-basketball coaches allegedly altered paperwork regarding the 2017 campus visit of five-star recruit Brian Bowen. The former Louisville commit was accompanied at the time by Christian Dawkins, a sports agent later arrested in the FBI’s investigation for corruption in college basketball recruiting.
Former assistant coaches Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair omitted Dawkins’ name from a form listing visitors, thereby concealing his presence from the school’s compliance department.
Why does this news matter and what does it mean for Cardinal basketball? Here follows a timeline of Bowen’s involvement with U of L, laying out all the names and moving parts involved.
May 2017 – Bowen visits U of L with Dawkins
When Bowen visited the University, the future of Louisville basketball seemed bright. As a McDonald’s All-American and the No. 13 recruit in the nation, Bowen would add a much needed fire to head coach Pitino’s team.
Johnson and Fair, assistants to Pitino, influenced the director of basketball operations to leave Dawkins’ name off Bowen’s “unofficial visit form.” Dawkins was later listed as Bowen’s “AAU coach,” still hidden from compliance as a sports agent.
September 2017 – Men’s basketball is potentially connected to corruption case
A FBI indictment accused coaches and Adidas executives of funneling money to influence players to go to certain universities. At the time of the release, U of L was strongly suspected but not confirmed to have funneled money to Bowen.
Dawkins, along with nine others, was arrested in the FBI’s investigation.
Shortly thereafter, Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave by the University, suspected of playing parts in the pay for play scandal. Bowen was suspended from all NCAA activity indefinitely.
October 2017 – Fair, Pitino and Jurich are ousted by the University
November 2017 – Johnson is fired, Bowen is banned from basketball
Following administrative leave in October, Johnson was fired after three years with the program. U of L athletics informed Bowen that he was prohibited from practicing or competing for men’s basketball.
January 2018 – Bowen transfers to South Carolina
Bowen enrolled with the Gamecocks and sought reinstatement from the NCAA.
February 2018 – FBI releases report, Connection is confirmed between U of L and Bowen
FBI investigators alleged that Dawkins, along with an Adidas executive among others, conspired to attempt to pay Bowen’s family $100,000 to steer him to Louisville. In return, Bowen would have hired Dawkins and signed with Adidas as a professional.
Present time – Bowen heads to Australia, Dawkins’ 2017 visit is discovered
After being told he was not allowed to play the 2018-19 collegiate season, Bowen signed a professional contract with the Sydney Kings in Australia. Through the move, Bowen looks to rehabilitate his draft stock in the hopes of becoming a future NBA first-round draft pick.
Upon release of the court documents this week, Pitino claimed he did not know Dawkins was a sports agent during the 2017 visit. Another cover-up is discovered and the hall of fame coach once again denies taking part in any wrongdoing.
For U of L fans, it might seem like the corruption of the past has no end. Does this new revelation change things for the current basketball program? Not necessarily, but unless the furthest extent of past crimes is both fully and definitively revealed, it remains difficult for men’s basketball to move forward into the future.
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Photo courtesy / Deadspin