Rick Pitino: ‘I will take ownership’ of Louisville scandal
In a Friday statement, former Louisville coach Rick Pitino again denied knowledge of illegal payments to players — but took responsibility for the scandal that happened under his watch.
Pitino issued the closest thing yet to an apology in the statement Friday, thanking his former players and fans who had supported him as he was deposed as Louisville coach amid a massive NCAA scandal involving illegal payments from shoe companies to college athletes.
“To the many friends and fans who reached out to me in the last few days: I owe a thousand thanks and an apology for the disappointment you must have,” Pitino said, via ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
As for the scandal itself, Pitino took ownership of what happened on his watch, and said he accepted Louisville’s decision to put him on administrative leave — almost certainly a prelude to his firing.
“As I’ve previously stated, I had no knowledge of any payments to any recruit or their family,” Pitino said. “But I was the head coach and I will take ownership of my decisions. The University took the action they thought was necessary and I will do the same.”
Pitino has maintained his innocence all along, but there are indications that he was much more involved in the alleged payments than he is letting on. Either way, he has lost his job, and probably won’t be getting another one.