USA Today has reported that the University of Louisville will be suspending any plans they have for participating in this years college basketball playoff.
The announcement comes after allegations that female escorts received over a thousand dollars along with game tickets in exchange for performing and having sex with Louisville basketball players and recruits from 2010-2014.
In result, the NCAA launched four separate investigations into the Louisville Cardinals program.
Louisville, however, decided to act internally and on its own accord to showcase the university’s purpose to take the situation seriously while satisfying the NCAA and help the school avoid further penalties.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and his staff informed his men’s basketball team of the school’s decision to forfeit postseason play for the 2015-2016 season in a meeting early Friday afternoon.
The report states that the coaches informed their players that they only had nine games left, which amounts to the remainder of the regular season.
The school’s president, James R. Ramsey, acknowledged the reliability of the claims made, stating it was “reasonable to conclude violations have occurred in the past.”
Ramsey was accompanied by longtime Cardinal coach Rick Pitino, who has coached the team for the past 15 seasons, along with athletic director Tom Jurich, and added “that this is a significant penalty for our program,”.
According to coach Pitino, the postseason ban was a devastation for graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, the team’s two leading scorers who both came to Louisville this past summer so they could have a shot to play in the NCAA tournament for the first and only time in their collegiate careers as seniors. After the news was given, the head coach also noted that both seniors cried in response to the news of being denied a shot at competing in one of the most renowned tournaments in all of sports.
“This is certainly a night of extreme pain,” said Pitino, who called the news “a complete shock.”
Allegations of the university’s basketball team scandal arose last year when Katina Powell — a self-described former escort — published a book that accused a staff member on the university’s men’s basketball team by the name of Andre McGee of hiring dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players at Billy Minardi Hall, an on-campus dorm.
Ms. Powell went on to tell ESPN’s Outside The Lines in an interview that she brought roughly two dozen women to the dorm from 2010 to 2014 with five or six of those women having sex in exchange for money with former and active Louisville players along with recruits who were visiting the campus. Five former players and recruits confirmed to OTL that they attended parties that included strippers paid for by McGee.
Head coach Rick Pitino mentioned that he and athletic director Jurich have been “kept in the dark” on the details regarding the NCAA’s investigation of the claims. The coach even stated that he believed there wasn’t any possibility of a postseason ban coming this year.
“This is a punishment I thought would never happen this season,” Pitino said. “This is a decision that’s as harsh as anything I’ve seen.”
The Cardinals are ranked 18th in the USA Today poll, and are currently 18-4 (2nd in the ACC).
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)