Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino believes the school should consider taking legal action against the NCAA after the governing body ordered the vacation of the Cardinals’ 2013 men’s basketball champion as part of sanctions for a sex scandal.
Louisville announced on Tuesday that the NCAA had denied its appeal of sanctions that included vacating 123 victories and the return of about $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments. The school later removed banners of the 2013 championship and 2012 Final Four appearance.
Pitino said Wednesday from his attorney’s offices in New York that the NCAA’s decision was unfair. The former coach did take responsibility for assistant coaching hires such as Andre McGee, who an escort said hired her and other dancers for sex parties on campus with players and recruits and leading to the NCAA investigation.
But Pitino said once again that he did not know anything about the sex shows that took place in the dorms.
Asked about legal action, Pitino said he was defenseless in this instance but that Louisville’s Board of Trustees should consider legal action.
“I don’t know if this Board of Trustees will do that,” he said, “but they should because the players deserve it.”
The sex scandal was not the reason Louisville fired Pitino, who has sued the university over his dismissal.
The school fired the Hall of Famer in October after acknowledging that the university was being investigated for allegations that the family of former recruit Brian Bowen was bribed in an effort to get him to Louisville. Bowen has since transferred to South Carolina.
Pitino also issued a statement saying that he was cooperating with federal authorities in its investigation of corruption in college basketball.
Pitino is not named in the court complaint but said in the statement he received a grand jury subpoena last September and that his attorneys have met with U.S. attorneys in the case.
“I knew nothing about any agreement to make improper payments,” the statement said, “and had no reason to suspect any illegality in the recruitment of any athlete in my programs.”