Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.
Interim university President Greg Postel said at a news conference Wednesday that Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.
Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.
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In the latest investigation, federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn’t name the schools but contained enough details to identify one of them as Louisville.
Postel also said Wednesday that one student-athlete has been informed he will not practice or play for the university until investigation is resolved.
Louisville was already reeling from the sex scandal. The program has been ordered to vacate up to 123 victories in which ineligible players received improper benefits — a period that includes the 2013 title, its third — along with the 2012 Final Four appearance. The NCAA also placed the school on four years’ probation and ordered the return of money received through conference revenue sharing. McGee received a 10-year, show-cause penalty. Pitino was ordered to miss five unspecified Atlantic Coast Conference games this season.
Louisville’s appeal contends that the NCAA overstepped its authority with “draconian” penalties. Pitino called the penalties “unjust and over the top in its severity” when announced on June 15.
Tuesday’s indictment also occurs just over a month since Adidas and Louisville announced a 10-year, $160 million partnership extension through 2028. The sportswear maker has been partnered with the school since 1998.