University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and Athletics Director Tom Jurich have been put on administrative leave, interim president Gregory Postel said Wednesday amid a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.
“The allegatons are serious,” Postel said in a release accompanying the news conference. “It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to NCAA rules and, of course, federal law. Doing Nothing would be a tacit endorsement of potential criminal and unethical behavior.”
Neither Pitino nor Jurich can be fired summarily, according to their contracts, but Postel said their continued employment would be reviewed by the university board of trustees. Pitino’s contract requires 10 days notice. His leave is effective immediately without pay. Jurich’s contract requires 30 days notice. His leave is effective immediately with pay.
When asked whether Postel was cleaning house, Postel replied “That should be obvious.”
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Board of Trustees chairman J. David Grissom said he and other trustees were in unanimous support of Postel’s actions.
Being placed on administrative leave means an employee cannot serve in their job capacity in any way. Postel said an interim head coach and athletic director would be named within 48 hours.
Tuesday it was revealed in a federal indictment that a Louisville assistant was being monitored and was allegedly involved in a pay-for-play scheme to secure a highly regarded recruit for the Cardinals that involved employees of Louisville’s apparel sponsor, Adidas.
That recruit has been reported to be June 3 signee Brian Bowen, who was on campus Wednesday. Louisville’s release said the player who was part of Tuesday’s indictment has been notified that he has been removed from team activities. Louisville did not name Bowen as that player.
“We’re not going to tolerate what we’ve learned about,” said Postel,who acknowledged he was more angry than embarrassed, at the news conference. “We’re doing everything in an appropriate way and will continue to do so.”
Four assistant coaches named in the case were all suspended and relieved of their duties Tuesday. They were Tony Bland of the University of Southern California, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, Chuck Person of Auburn University and Emanuel Richardson of Arizona.
Pitino attorney Steve Pence issued a statement Tuesday evening indicating the coach had no intention of resigning. WHAS radio personality Terry Meiners reported late Tuesday that Pence signaled Pitino would not be fired without a “bare-knuckle fight.”
Media gathered around Louisville administrative offices Wednesday in anticipation Pitino and Jurich would be meeting with Postel.
Jurich met with Postel briefly Wednesday morning and left saying to a reporter that the meeting was good. When asked whether he still had a job, Jurich said, “We’ll be talking later.” Postel later told media gathered that he was “hopeful to report in a little while for you.”
Pitino met with Postel later Wednesday morning and left without commenting.
ESPN’s Michael Eaves reported that Pitino met with his staff Monday morning and told them he expected to lose his job.
A number of critics have called for both Pitino and Jurich to be fired in the wake of this latest scandal, which comes on the heels of NCAA probation related to an assistant coach’s use of escorts for recruiting.