Louisville puts Pitino, AD Jurich on leave amid scandal

Pitino's attorney says coach 'effectively fired'

Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave by the school on Wednesday amid a federal fraud and corruption investigation.

Interim president Greg Postel announced the moves at a news conference after initial reports surfaced Wednesday morning that the university had fired both Pitino and Jurich.

Although Pitino isn't officially out of a job yet, his attorney, Steve Pence, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the school had "effectively fired" the coach by putting him on unpaid leave.

Jurich will paid while he is on administrative leave.

The decision comes after Postel acknowledged on Tuesday that the school's men's basketball program is part of the federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits.

Federal prosecutors say at least three high school recruits were promised payments of up to $150,000 to commit to two universities sponsored by Adidas, with James Gatto, Adidas Basketball's head of global marketing, allegedly funneling the money to the recruits' families.

Neither Pitino nor the school were mentioned by name by federal prosecutors when announcing the arrest of 10 people, including Gatto and four assistant coaches at other schools, on fraud and corruption charges.

Wednesday's punishment for Pitino and Jurich comes as the school is also dealing with the fallout of a sex scandal that came to light nearly two years ago. Pitino, who has a 416-143 record and a national title over 16 years at the school, was suspended by the NCAA for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season as punishment for that earlier case.

The school is appealing the NCAA's punishment, which also includes vacating all "basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 [to] July 2014." That would call into question Louisville's 2013 national championship.

Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person, Southern California assistant Tony Bland, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans are accused of taking cash bribes in order to steer players and their families to retain a particular adviser and sports agent.

Along with Gatto and the coaches, the others charged in the case so far include Adidas employee Merl Code, former NBA agent Christian Dawkins, financial adviser Munish Sood, and two others.

At a news conference detailing the charges Tuesday afternoon, federal authorities said the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on NCAA coaches and players since 2015.


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