By Tate Luckey
After five years, five coaches, four university presidents, three athletic directors, and lots of questions, the Louisville men’s basketball program received the details of its punishment from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). The IARP is responsible for reviewing select complex infraction cases within Division I. Their Nov. 3 decision detailed what penalties the University would face for its alleged involvement with Adidas and improper recruiting practices.
In May of 2020, the NCAA accused U of L of committing a Level I violation dating back to 2017, in which Adidas recruited Brian Bowen in part by paying his family $100,000 if he attended U of L , and then signed with Adidas after going pro. There are additional Level II violations, that can be found here.
The IARP panel could not find sufficient proof Adidas was acting in U of L’s interests, or that the University played any role in Adidas’s actions.
According to the 105-page decision, the NCAA argued that former head coach Rick Pitino was “too strict on compliance for it to be effective.” The IARP rejected the argument, stating Pitino had fostered an adequate atmosphere of compliance.
Major penalties include a $5,000 fine, a two-week ban on unofficial visits during the 2022-2023 academic year, a seven-day reduction in recruiting days for the 2022-2023 academic year, and a two-year probationary period, in which Louisville is to develop a “comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation designed to instruct…with recruiting responsibility.” Former head coach Chris Mack also avoids any punishment.
The full list can be found here. IARP decisions cannot be appealed.
“A step in the right direction”
U of L Athletic Director Josh Heird emphasized in a press conference Thursday to “not forget [the impact] the allegations have had on the fanbase.” He and Interim President Lori Gonzalez are focused on moving past this era of athletics, instead focusing on rebuilding the enthusiasm of the fanbase. Both consider this outcome a check off of the many items on their to-do list.
“If you’re a U of L fan and don’t feel better after today, then I’m not sure you’re a fan,” Heird said.
“You can’t forget the last five years- the millions of dollars that have been spent, the millions of dollars the program has lost, and opportunities that have been lost for our athletes to compete. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter.”
Students, alumni, and fans alike can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that this era of Louisville Basketball can finally be pushed behind them.
So…will that 2013 banner be raised?
When the IARP’s penalties were revealed Thursday morning, reactions from fans were swift. Former player and current Cleveland Cavalier Donovan Mitchell sent “BANNER UP” on his social media, and Barstool Cards tweeted a simple “Hang it.”
But with this case finally resolved, does that mean anything for this important piece of University of Louisville sports history?
For context, the 2013 title was vacated due to a separate 2017 investigation that uncovered a stripper and sex-related scandal involving former players, former director of basketball operations Andre McGee, and Pitino. The now Iona Gaels head coach stated in a Zoom call Thursday that he believes in the character of the NCAA, and that the vacated 2013 National Championship banner will be hung again.
“You cannot take championships away. We won the 2013 championship. If the IARP was involved in looking at that case, that banner would still be hanging today,” he said.
“I’m not going to make any promises, but if there’s an opportunity to do something along those lines, we’re going to do it,” Heird said. “I’d have to have more conversations with the NCAA- it’s not as simple as rolling down to the arena and raising it.”
This is a breaking story, and as such will be updated.
File Photos // GoCards.com //