Sidelines with John Clay

Reaction to NCAA ruling on Louisville basketball

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino arrives for an NCAA college basketball news conference Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. concerning penalties levied against the school’s basketball program.
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino arrives for an NCAA college basketball news conference Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. concerning penalties levied against the school’s basketball program. Associated Press

Some sampling of reaction to the NCAA’s ruling on Louisville:

Pat Forde of Yahoo on the NCAA’s punishment of Louisville: “Keeping that championship intact was a major reason why the school self-imposed a postseason ban in 2015-16, taking a very competitive team out of ACC and NCAA play. When the news came back Thursday that, sorry, it wasn’t enough, the Louisville leadership was stunned and angry. And the leadership at other schools nationally should be on high alert. Especially in Chapel Hill, N.C.”

Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal on the Louisville appeal: “It starts with the written notice of appeal, a document sent by the institution to the NCAA declaring that it will contest the Committee on Infractions’ ruling in the case. U of L has 15 days from Thursday to send the notice to the NCAA. “

My column on the Louisville press conference: “Along with interim president Greg Postel and athletic director Tom Jurich, Louisville officials again claimed to be contrite about the salacious violations, but again insisted they were victims as well. In a defense given by Jurich — and later echoed by Pitino — there was nothing on social media about the stripper parties, so how was U of L supposed to know what was going on?”

Eric Crawford of WDRB on the possibility of Louisville vacating title: “No. The deal is done. The verdict is in. Today, the brand of U of L basketball is strippers and hookers. It’s time to rebuild the brand, and that brand won’t be rebuilt by some appeals process, no matter the outcome. The luster is not going to be restored to that Shining Moment. The damage here is irreparable. “

Rick Bozich of WDRB on the key word: “Of the thousands of words delivered in the aftermath of the stinging penalties the NCAA pinned on Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville basketball program Thursday, one continues to resonate. That word is repugnant. It was delivered by Carol Cartwright, the chief hearing officer for the Committee on Infractions as well as the respected president emeritus at two universities.”

Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated on the wrong kind of history: "It is also the first time in an NCAA decision that a university had the gall to argue that its penalties be downgraded because the hookers were not very expensive. Louisville contended that the alleged $5,400 McGee spent on escorts for recruits and active players between December 2010 and July 2014 — money that constituted impermissible benefits, and thus made those players ineligible at Louisville — was not a significant sum."

Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News on Louisville’s fury: “This is a big deal. We can say the NCAA’s efforts to rewrite history are ludicrous, and they are, because everyone knows who won the title in 2013. However, becoming the first champion in NCAA Tournament history to have its record erased would be an ugly stain on a historically significant program. It bears repeating: The NCAA never has vacated a championship in its billion-dollar basketball tournament. Never.”

Chris Korman of USA Today says the punishment is no punishment at all: “And yet Louisville has the audacity to complain about the new punishments, which basically amount to 1) a change to the record books that will nullify any wins in which an ineligible student-athlete — again, one who saw a stripper or was gifted a prostitute by an athletic department employee — played, possibly including the team’s 2013 national championship and 2) a five-game suspension for head coach Rick Pitino, to be served during ACC play. There are other restrictions — the school is on probation, will have limited recruiting opportunities for the next few years and must return some money it earned from post-season events — but they are hardly going to ruin the program, or even slow it down much.”

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports says all coaches are on notice: “The days of screaming, “My assistant went rogue! I knew nothing!” are over. It didn’t work for SMU’s Larry Brown. It didn’t work for Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim. And, though we won’t know for certain until an appeal is heard, it doesn’t appear it’s going to work for Louisville’s Rick Pitino either. What he did or did not know doesn’t matter, the NCAA basically stated Thursday. These violations happened on Pitino’s watch. That means he failed to properly monitor his program. And the punishment will require Pitino to miss the Cardinals’ first five ACC games in the 2017-18 season.”

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