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Saturday, October 21, 2017

College Basketball

Rick Pitino says he passed lie detector test, had no knowledge of Adidas scandal

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino insists he had no knowledge of any payments made to recruits or any illegal scam involving Adidas, and the former Louisville basketball coach says he has already proven himself with a lie detector test.

Pitino sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas this week, and he was asked if he knew about anything that recently came out when the FBI released findings from its fraud investigation.

“One of the toughest things you have to do is take a lie detector test,” Pitino told Bilas. “You have a blood pressure machine, you’re wired up, and I was asked two questions. … He said, ‘Did you have any knowledge of the Bowen family getting any money and did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?’ I answered absolutely not on both questions and passed a lie detector test. I have no knowledge of any of this.”

Pitino was fired by Louisville on Monday for cause, meaning the university will not have to pay him the money remaining on his contract. He has adamantly denied having any knowledge of payments that were made from Adidas to five-star recruit Brian Bowen, though it would appear investigators believe they can link Pitino to the fraud scheme.

Even if Pitino can prove he had no knowledge of the alleged Adidas payments, this is the third embarrassing ordeal he has been a part of since he was hired by Louisville in 2001. He was also part of an extortion attempt in 2009 that stemmed from an affair he was having, and the NCAA had recently suspended him five games in relation to a sex parties scandal with recruits.

Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville, for cause

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino has officially been fired by Louisville for cause, meaning the school will not have to pay him the money he is owed on his contract.

Pitino has been on unpaid administrative leave since September after Louisville was tied to an FBI investigation into bribery and wire fraud in the college basketball world. One of the allegations is that a Louisville recruit was paid $100,000 to attend the school.

Pitino, who has been the Cardinals’ head coach since 2001, denied any wrongdoing. In a hearing on Monday, Pitino’s attorneys said the coach “had no part — active, passive or through willful ignorance” in the FBI’s allegations.

The 65-year-old coach, who helped Louisville win a national championship in 2013, is under contract to make $44 million through the 2025-26 season. The athletic board’s investigation was to see whether Pitino could be fired for cause, which is the difference in him being owed the money remaining on his contract or not.

This is the third embarrassing ordeal in which he has been a part. He was also part of an extortion attempt in 2009, the result of an affair he’d had. Louisville also put itself on a postseason ban as punishment for a sex parties scandal that Pitino also denied any knowledge or involvement in.

Report: Kevin Anderson out at Maryland after seeking Cal AD job

Kevin Anderson is out as athletic director at the University of Maryland after holding the position for seven years.

According to Bobby Blanco of MASN Sports, Anderson was removed on October 1 as a result of school president Wallace Loh being upset Anderson sought the athletic director position at University of California-Berkeley.

As for who will replace Anderson, former Maryland men’s basketball head coach Gary Williams’ name has been mentioned by boosters.

During Anderson’s tenure, Maryland athletic programs won six national championships. The school also changed conferences for athletics from the ACC to the Big Ten. Anderson also brought in current men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon and football head coach D.J. Durkin.

Drake wears ‘Kentucky Dad’ hoodie, addresses crowd at Big Blue Madness

Drake Doris Burke shirt

Sorry, Ashley Judd — Drake is the most famous Kentucky basketball fan on the planet. The Wildcats super fan is a fixture at the basketball program’s biggest events.

Friday, the program had its Big Blue Madness event, and of course, Drake was there. He even spoke to the crowd and gave a hug to his friend, head coach John Calipari. He also wore a hoodie that read “Kentucky Dad.”

Speaking to the crowd, Drake called himself “a Wildcat through and through.”

The Canadian hip-hop star added that he’ll one day put on a free concert for students.

“I want my players and anyone out there to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility, emulate Drake,” Calipari told the Courier-Journal. “If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake.”

In case you’re wondering, no — Drake didn’t put up any jumpers at this Big Blue Madness.

NCAA lets North Carolina off the hook in academic fraud scandal

The NCAA has finally concluded an investigation into alleged academic fraud at North Carolina that lasted several years, and the university has essentially gotten off scot-free.

On Friday, the NCAA revealed that its Committee on Infractions could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules by making phony classes available to students. The overall takeaway is that the “paper courses” were offered to all students, not just student-athletes.

“While student-athletes likely benefited from the so-called ‘paper courses’ offered by North Carolina, the information available in the record did not establish that the courses were solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes,” Greg Sankey, the panel’s chief hearing officer and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, said in a statement. “While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body,. Additionally, the record did not establish that the university created and offered the courses as part of a systemic effort to benefit only student-athletes.”

According to the original report that started the investigation, one particular class called “AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina” had 19 students enrolled in it, and 18 were football players and the other was a former football player. The class supposedly did not show up on the school enrollment calendar until days before it began, leading many to believe it was not intended to be available to the general student population.

Just two violations were found by the NCAA’s committee, and neither will have an impact on any of UNC’s athletic programs. Both violations had to do with school officials not cooperating with the investigation, and those individuals were sanctioned.

We have seen examples of just how embarrassing the courses were that were offered, whether they were created just to benefit student-athletes or not. Believe it or not, UNC says the courses did not violate school policy at the time.

UNC spent millions of dollars in legal fees over the past seven years as it dealt with the scandal, and that was apparently money well spent.

Rick Pitino selling Louisville home amid latest scandal

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is on the verge of losing his job at Louisville, and it appears the longtime coach has already begun the process of skipping town.

According to the Courier-Jounral, Pitino has put his East Louisville home on the market. The 5,100-square-foot house does not have a price attached to it for the public to see, but it was assessed at just over $1 million for tax purposes four years ago. The home is located in the Mockingbird Gardens Estates neighborhood, which is one of the most exclusive areas of Louisville.

As the Lexington Herald-Leader notes, Pitino also owns two homes in Florida which are valued at $9 million and $3.4 million.

Pitino was placed on administrative leave after Louisville was one of the schools named in an FBI fraud investigation last month. A top executive at Adidas is accused of helping to funnel money to top recruits in exchange for their commitments to Adidas-sponsored programs. Pitino has maintained that he had no idea what was going on.

FBI not releasing documents regarding Kansas’ deal with Adidas

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas appeared to avoid trouble when the FBI made several arrests related to an alleged bribery scandal involving Adidas executives, college and youth basketball coaches, and businessmen. But that may not be completely certain at this point.

The University Daily Kansas says they requested documents from the FBI involving Kansas and Adidas but were denied by the organization due to an ongoing investigation. The denial does not mean Kansas committed any wrongdoing, but it does mean the FBI has some records that mention the school.

The FBI on Sept. 26 said coaches from Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC had been arrested for their alleged participation in bribery.

Kansas, which has an endorsement deal with Adidas, said the day of the arrests that they had not been contacted by the feds about the case.

“I think the answer that I gave about the fact that no federal authorities have contacted us about this case, I’m just going to let that answer speak for itself,” associate athletic director Jim Marchiony told the Topeka Capital-Journal on Sept. 26.

Kansas announced a new 14-year, $191 million sponsorship deal with Adidas a week before the scandal broke. The school has been sponsored by Adidas since 2005.

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