Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditFriday, August 19, 2022

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino fired by Louisville

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is out as the Louisville men’s basketball coach in the wake of yet another scandal involving the program.

Shortly after reports surfaced that Pitino had informed his assistants he expected to be fired, the university made the move official.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is also expected to lose his job, and it would not be a surprise if more heads roll before the FBI investigation is sorted out.

Four college assistant coaches (none from Louisville) were among the 10 people arrested Tuesday for their alleged involvement in a massive bribery scheme in which Jim Gatto, director of global marketing for Adidas Basketball, paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to funnel top recruits to Adidas-sponsored programs. One interesting storyline to emerge is that Jurich’s daughter apparently works as an Adidas brand manager for Louisville.

Pitino had coached at Louisville since 2012 and will finish with a record of 416–141 with the program. He led the team to a national championship in 2013 and three Final Four appearances.

Louisville is already on probation stemming from a prostitution scandal involving recruits. Pitino had been suspended five games in the wake of the scandal.

Rick Pitino reportedly told Louisville assistants he expects to be fired

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino insists he had no knowledge of any fraud or corruption scheme involving the Louisville basketball program, but that does not mean the longtime coach expects to face no consequences in the wake of the allegations.

ESPN’s Michael Eaves is reporting that Pitino told members of his staff in a meeting on Wednesday that he expects to lose his job. On Tuesday, Pitino released a statement saying he was stunned to learn that Louisville is involved in a federal investigation stemming from a recruiting scandal.

“These allegations come as a complete shock to me,” Pitino said in the statement. “I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.”

Four college assistant coaches (none from Louisville) were among the 10 people arrested Tuesday for their alleged involvement in a massive bribery scheme in which Jim Gatto, director of global marketing for Adidas Basketball, paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to funnel top recruits to Adidas-sponsored programs. While Louisville was not named specifically in the indictments, a school that meets its exact description was and the university has confirmed it is involved in the investigation.

Louisville is currently on probation and Pitino has been suspended five games in the wake of a prostitution scandal involving recruits. Even if Pitino could somehow prove he had no knowledge of a fraud scheme, there’s no way the school can justify keeping him now.

Rick Pitino distances himself from scandal in statement

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino’s Louisville program is at the center of another scandal, and the head coach once again is trying to distance himself from matters.

Here’s a statement Pitino’s attorney sent out on Tuesday. Pitino says he is “shocked” by the allegations and says he wants those potentially guilty to be held accountable.

The federal indictment released on Tuesday says an Adidas executive paid $100,000 to a top high school player who committed to a school in June. The player and school are believed to be Brian Bowen and Louisville. Pitino commented on the commitment from Bowen in June, essentially saying the recruit fell into his lap.

The NCAA had already charged Pitino with failure to monitor in the sex scandal. In that case, Pitino said one of his staffers acted independently in arranging sex parties for recruits.

Rick Pitino predicts changes to NBA one-and-done rule

Rick Pitino

Louisville coach Rick Pitino remembers the days of high school basketball players skipping college to go straight to the NBA — and he predicts that those days will soon return.

In an interview with Marty Smith of ESPN, Pitino said that he expects the NBA to lower its age minimum — currently at 19 — to once again allow high school stars to go directly into the NBA draft.

“When I was at Kentucky I had seven high school basketball players told me they were coming, and instead they went to the pros out of high school,” Pitino said. “And by the way, I think that rule’s going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again. I think the commissioner’s probably going to do it within two years.”

Pitino didn’t seem to have any evidence to back this up, just a feeling. He is likely right that a change is coming as far as the age limit goes, but if it’s up to Adam Silver, that threshold will go up, not down.

Woman who tried to extort Rick Pitino to be released from prison

Rick Pitino

Karen Sypher, the woman who tried to extort Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, is set to be released from prison, according to a report.

WDRB says Sypher will be freed on Friday. She reportedly has seen family in her hometown of Middleton the past few weeks.

Sypher will still have to complete two years of probation, but she will no longer be in lockup.

The 57-year-old was found guilty in 2010 of extortion and lying to the FBI. She and Pitino had sex in a Louisville restaurant in 2003, and she later made many financial demands of him, including asking for $10 million.

Pitino went public in 2009 about the extortion attempt.

Sypher had served her sentence in Alabama and Florida, according to WDRB.

Rick Pitino restrained from going after North Carolina fan

Rick Pitino

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino had to be restrained from going after a North Carolina fan while heading into the tunnel at halftime of his team’s game in Chapel Hill on Wednesday.

Pitino’s Cardinals entered halftime trailing the Tar Heels 33-30 in a close ACC game. It’s unclear what the fan said to enrage him, but Pitino was clearly fired up and had to be held back by some of his assistants:

Pitino was fiery throughout the first half of the game, so it’s not too surprising he was heated at halftime.

It seems like Louisville tried to address the issue with the fan:

The fan was ejected. According to ESPN’s broadcast, the fan shouted, “Pitino, you suck!”

This isn’t the first time Pitino’s had an issue with opposing fans. There were questions last season about whether or not he flipped off Kentucky fans while heading into the tunnel (see it here).

John Calipari to have Rick Pitino as guest on his podcast

John Calipari

World are colliding in a major way in Kentucky.

John Calipari said on his UK call-in show Monday that he will have rival coach Rick Pitino on an upcoming podcast as one of his guests.

Calipari and Pitino coach rival schools in Kentucky and Louisville, respectively, and not only have hotly contested games on the court, but they’ve also traded barbs off of it. That’s why the announcement came as a huge surprise.

The podcast apparently has already been recorded, and the two spoke for 40 minutes. Additionally, Calipari has some other big names planned as guests for his podcast.

This news is so shocking it even caught Calipari’s wife off guard.

Calipari is showing an awful lot of humility by interviewing Pitino. Consider that the Cardinals recently defeated the Wildcats 73-70 in an excellent game on Dec. 21.

We just hope that the Louisville sex scandal will in some way be discussed during their interview, especially since it led to this exchange between the coaches. This should be a real treat for college basketball fans everywhere.

NCAA charges Rick Pitino with failure to monitor in sex scandal

Rick Pitino

The NCAA announced on Thursday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been charged with failure to monitor a staff member in his basketball program after an investigation into the sex scandal that went on at the university.

In its notice of allegations, the NCAA revealed four Level I charges, two of which were directed at former director of basketball operations Andre McGee and another at former assistant Brandon Williams. Louisville was not charged with lack of institutional control or failure to monitor.

While Pitino has vehemently denied having knowledge of any of the allegations former escort Katina Powell made in her book, he could be facing a steep penalty. The NCAA determined that McGee paid Powell and other escorts roughly $5,400 in exchange for sex acts for “at least” 17 athletes and/or recruits. Though Pitino was not charged with committing any of the violations himself, he is responsible for not monitoring McGee and his staff and failing to “spot-check” his program or look for red flags.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and then-SMU coach Larry Brown were suspended nine games each last season for failure to monitor.

The NCAA has yet to propose penalties, and Louisville believes its self-imposed penalties of a postseason ban, forfeiture of scholarships and reduced recruiting access will be sufficient. McGee and Williams, who both failed to cooperate with the investigation, no longer work at Louisville.

A previous report stated that three Louisville recruits confirmed to the NCAA that the stripper parties did take place. The NCAA’s investigation has determined the same.

Rick Pitino responds to John Calipari’s seeming slight

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino finally responded to what he felt was a slight from John Calipari aimed at him and his Louisville program.

During a radio interview last week, Calipari said that most coaches should know about what’s going on with their players around campus. Many interpreted that as a commentary about Louisville, given that Pitino has said he had no idea of the sex scandal perpetuated by one of his former staffers.

Pitino responded Monday.

“Whether it’s Duke last month or us this month, these type of comments – we’re here to build up the image of college basketball, not tear people down,” Pitino said via the Courier-Journal.

“I don’t live in a glass house, and I don’t throw stones.”

When Pitino said “Duke last month,” he may have been talking about Calipari’s recruiting manifesto at Kentucky, which led to Duke trolling him in response.

Pitino says he will ask Calipari about the comments if/when he sees him this summer.

Pitino may be bothered by the remarks, but we’re not. We love them and hope the two in-state rivals continue to trade their shots.

Rick Pitino jabs Kentucky when talking sex scandal

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino took a shot at Kentucky when talking about the Louisville sex scandal during an interview.

Pitino joined ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and talked about his Cardinals not playing in the postseason this year due to a self-imposed ban as penalty for the sex scandal. Pitino once again expressed shock over what happened.

“Well I’m going to tell them that — and it will sound a little bizarre to them — I’ve been a believer in these rules for over 30 years,” Pitino told the hosts. “Matter of fact, people call me a little bit of a micromanager. We’ve had the highest GPA now in three different conferences every year. We get after our guys academically … we run an extremely disciplined program so there’s a tremendous contradiction of this going on. And to say it breaks my heart would be putting it mildly … if I could just get Andre McGee in a room for 10 minutes I’d say, ‘Why? Why would you do this? What purpose did it serve? We didn’t need this to get recruits.’

“You know we’re not Kentucky where we’re recruiting the one-and-dones. We’re recruiting the Russ Smiths of the world. He’s a two-star athlete who becomes a first team college All-American. Gorgui Dieng, starting for the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn’t ranked in the top 75 … so we have a different way we recruit and it didn’t make any sense what was going on. How these women infiltrated our program was very disturbing to me.”

Right, Louisville’s not Kentucky because they’re not going after the one-and-dones. They shouldn’t have to lure recruits using strippers and sex, because they’re going for a different type of player, according to Pitino.

Can you believe the nerve of this guy? His program gets busted for throwing sex parties for recruits and then he tries to claim some sort of moral high ground over Kentucky? Are you kidding? Get real, Rick. You can’t have it both ways. And for what it’s worth, Katina Powell says she thinks Pitino knew about the parties.

Transcription via For the Win