College basketball observers expect questions about Rick Pitino's character to complicate the University of Louisville's recruiting after the public learned details this week about the coach's extra-marital encounter with Karen Sypher.
In noting the likelihood of what's known in basketball parlance as negative recruiting, analyst Brick Oettinger said, "For some people, obviously, it would be a factor because it raises questions of character about the person mentoring your son. So you know it's going to be used against them."
Oettinger, who works for the Prep Stars recruiting service, said such a widely circulated story would inevitably be a part of recruiting.
"Some people basically use anything they think could be an edge," he said. "It would be used against them even if not in a straight-out direct way. It's going to be there in the minds of everybody anyway."
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Jerry Meyer, an analyst for the Rivals.com recruiting service, said U of L's competitors would have to be careful in using the information.
"It would be an implied thing," he said. "They'll talk of the virtue of their coaching staff. ...
"Negative recruiting can easily backfire. If I start slamming Rick Pitino, I don't look good. (Negative recruiting) goes on in subtle forms."
Sonny Smith, the former coach at Auburn University and Virginia Commonwealth University, agreed that Louisville will have to deal with the story in its recruiting.
"Whether true or not, it will be used," he said. "It can hurt your program. ... The No. 1 thing is throwing doubt in parents' minds."
But Smith saw Pitino being able to weather the fallout of the immediate headlines, which include charges of extortion as well as illicit sex and an abortion. Pitino's history of success in winning games and producing NBA players can make the current controversy "a little blip on the road," Smith said.
Oettinger saw the story as more a problem to be dealt with rather than a mortal blow.
"I wouldn't say it'll kill recruiting because he's a good recruiter and his NBA ties are there regardless," the analyst said. "But it can't help. No way it would help with anyone. The only question is how it will hurt him."
Meyer speculated on the type of player it might hamper in Louisville's recruiting.
"It could make it tough to recruit a kid whose family is strongly pro-life," he said.
Oettinger saw the lure of Pitino preparing players for the NBA as outweighing any negative fallout.
"There are going to be some players more concerned with their chances of getting prepared for the NBA than they are anything else," he said. "If you see the issue of money in the pocket, that's going to supersede a potential character issue involving the coach.
"Money takes precedence for a whole lot of people."