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.
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 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 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
It’s clear that the Louisville sex scandal has taken a considerable toll on Rick Pitino. The Louisville head coach is so worn down that he apparently plans to consider whether he wants to return next season.
Pitino told Yahoo! Sports’s Pat Forde that he anticipates returning, but will consider whether or not the University of Louisville is better off without him.
“The probability of me coming back is very high,” Pitino said Tuesday. “Right now I’m fatigued mentally and emotionally. It’s a matter of, is the University of Louisville better off without me? If I come to the conclusion in June or July that the school is better without me – I left the cupboard full at Kentucky, and the program didn’t miss a beat.
“Now the cupboard is full here. This is a great job. They can get a person to make people forget Rick Pitino in a day. But I have to decide, are you willing to fight and stay on? I’m willing to fight. I love teaching, love coaching, love this team. I’ve just got to get over the sadness of all this. I’m really saddened that a player of mine that I trusted and gave a break to would be involved in this. I’m saddened by it. I don’t understand any of it. I want to come back for these players. I want to come back for [incoming recruit] V.J. King, who I told I would be there. I just have to get past the sadness.”
It doesn’t sound like Pitino is going to be walking away, but he isn’t shutting the door, and that’s interesting. The scandal has clearly taken a significant toll on him, and it sounds like the recently imposed postseason ban was something of a breaking point for him, though he’d already spoken at length about the scandal beforehand. The NCAA has yet to hand down its own sanctions, though, so if Pitino returns, he may be faced with more heartache and possibly some discipline of his own.
The men’s basketball program at Louisville has been under the microscope in recent months after allegations a member of the staff was accused of hiring escorts to dance for and have sex with players emerged. Not surprisingly, fans in opposing arenas have let the Cardinals hear it in regards to the allegations, and Wednesday was no different.
Louisville was in Pittsburgh for a meeting with the Panthers. Before the game got underway, the Pitt student section was fired up. When Rick Pitino was introduced, Pittsburgh fans taunted the Cardinals head coach by tossing fake dollar bills featuring Pitino’s face on them.
They also were prepared with these sheets:
All things considered, this is more lighthearted compared to what has probably been said by those near the Louisville bench so far this season. Pitino has continued to deny knowing about the alleged sex parties. It’s obvious those in the student section on Wednesday aren’t buying that.
Photo via: the Score
Rick Pitino believes the punishments against Louisville for their sex scandal are misdirected and should be targeted at the school rather than the current players. To that end, Pitino would prefer if Louisville were fined an eight-figure sum rather than banned from postseason play.
“My opinion is the school should be fined $10 million,” Pitino told SI’s Seth Davis. “They shouldn’t be allowed to collect any money from the tournament. The coach should have to take a hit in his salary, 20% or 50% or whatever. The kids should not be penalized, but (athletic director Tom Jurich) Tom has no choice. He has to comply.”
Pitino continues to say that he had no knowledge of the sex parties that were alleged to have involved his players. He says the people in the program know that he would have been so outraged by the parties that they went to great lengths to hide them from him. However, he still understands why people believe that as the program leader, he should be held responsible for what happened.
The Cardinals self-imposed a postseason ban for this season after concluding it was reasonable to believe violations had been committed. The outcome is particularly disappointing for two graduate transfers who came to Louisville for a shot to play in the tourney but will not have a chance to do so because of the actions of players who were previously in the program. You can read about the allegations against the Louisville program here.
Rick Pitino believes that the NCAA needs to overhaul its system and shift the punishment for rules violations.
Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season for rules violations stemming from the school’s escort scandal. Pitino thinks that’s unfair to the current crop of players and wants the NCAA to hit schools where it hurts the most: their pocketbooks.
“You should kill the university’s pocket book right away and take that money and put it in a scholarship for needy kids to go to college,” Pitino said, via Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “This is wrong. It’s a bad system. That doesn’t mean we were not wrong in what we’ve done. With the limited knowledge of what I know, we were wrong. It should’ve never gone on. It turns my stomach.”
Pitino suggested a $10-$15 million fine levied against the school instead of a postseason ban, as well as docking the salaries of coaches implicated. He also threw his athletic director, Tom Jurich, under the bus for the penalties instituted.
“My faith is in Tom Jurich. He is a great AD,” Pitino said. “Did he hurt us? More than you could ever imagine. Are our fans suffering along with the players? More than you could ever imagine. But we have to trust our leader.
“As much as [university president] Dr. [James] Ramsey’s taking a lot of heat right now, please don’t give him the heat. He’s taken enough heat from enough places. He doesn’t need this heat because he’s done a lot of great things for this university, a lot of tremendous things for our university.”
Pitino may actually have a point about postseason bans, but his constant refusal to take even the slightest responsibility for what happened at Louisville is rather troubling. Your program messed up big time. Stop dithering around and own it. The buck stops with the head coach.
When it comes to wild coaching rumors, it doesn’t get much wilder than this one.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Matt Youmans wrote an article Saturday about UNLV’s search for a new head coach, and he headlined the story by touting Rick Pitino as a candidate for the job.
Pitino has been the head coach at Louisville since 2001, reaching three Final Fours and winning one championship. He has further cemented his status as one of the best coaches in college basketball with his wonderful job coaching the Cardinals. Pitino has also been compensated handsomely for his work; he is making $4.4 million this season and is set to see a bump to $5.1 million next season.
Given all his success at Louisville, why would Pitino leave, especially for a job like UNLV?
For starters, Youmans reports that “a source with connections to Pitino insists he is interested in the job.” Youmans also points out that that Pitino was interested in the job before choosing Louisville 15 years ago.
Could Pitino’s name be out there because his agent is trying to use the threat of the coach leaving to get him a raise? That’s always possible. There is also the possibility that Pitino is tired of competing (and losing to) John Calipari in state. Remember what happened last month after Louisville lost to Kentucky? Yeah, that would spell frustration.
On top of that, Pitino may be bracing for the NCAA to discipline the program over its sex scandal and could be looking for a fresh start.
While we have a hard time envisioning Pitino leaving for UNLV, which fired Dave Rice last week while the coach was in the middle of his fifth season on the job, this report is worth sharing.
Youmans also mentions Steve Lavin, Dan Majerle, Steve Henson, Kelvin Sampson, former UNLV player Reggie Theus, and current interim coach Todd Simon as other potential candidates for the job.
Rick Pitino went off during a pregame news conference about the Louisville escort scandal and the media, and it was a doozy.
Pitino hadn’t done a pregame press conference for several weeks, and was criticized for skipping media availability after the team’s loss to Kentucky. Friday’s presser started with a fairly innocuous question asking whether he’d flipped off the fans or not, and it turned into an explanation as to why he skipped the press conferences surrounding the Kentucky game, then a diatribe about the Louisville scandal and the coverage of it.
“I did not,” Pitino said to answer the question, via WDRB. “It wasn’t fans, per se, I was in the tunnel, and it’s really not important. And I’ll say this to you guys, you guys think it’s important, and I respect if you say I should show up for a press conference and you write it, that’s not what I’m pissed off at you about.
“I wasn’t doing the press conference because it’s a very emotional game for me. When we go into a press conference in a neighborhood like that, I don’t want to hear about the scandal, OK? I don’t want to hear about that. That has bothered me every single night.”
Pitino turned his fire toward a local journalist, WDRB’s Rick Bozich, and took issue with his reporting. He also took issue with ESPN and other organizations giving the mistress at the center of the alleged scandal, Katina Powell, a platform to tell the story.
“What bothers me about you is you say, I know everybody’s body fat, you must know about this (events in the dorm). That pisses me off, beyond your wildest dreams. Because that took place in Billy Minardi Hall, and we didn’t get one recruit. Somebody criminally came onto our campus. I’m pissed off at ESPN for even giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes — now I didn’t read the book, you guys read the book, so I only know what people tell me — but if there are crimes being committed, why is the NCAA or ESPN giving a forum to that person. If there are crimes, now I don’t know if there are crimes being committed.”
Pitino also took aim at Powell’s claim that she kept a journal over four years detailing the events at Louisville, again pressing ESPN and other organizations for not pressing her on it.
“Correct me if I’m wrong on this,” Pitino said. “The statement was made, ‘You mean to tell me this person kept a four-year log of everything that was going on? Wrote a journal about this?’ No, no, we wrote it. She can’t complete two sentences the right way to write a book. That was said. Is that the way it was said? So you mean to tell me a book was written, a four-year record was kept? There was no four-year record. You’ve got to be kidding me. So nobody goes after, ESPN doesn’t go after, are you telling the truth? Did you keep a four year journal? Did you write it? Or was it written just to get this book out because the excerpts were going to be given to The Courier-Journal or The Courier-Journal was going to get hold of it?”
Pitino divulged that the NCAA had not yet spoken to him as part of their investigation, but once again asserted that he knew nothing about what was happening – which Powell has disputed – and that he would have taken immediate action if he did know.
“I guarantee you if anybody knew about it, and it got back to me, all hell,” Pitino said. “And I really feel the same way about my assistant coaches, the same way about them. I think they’re an extension of me. I think if they would have known anything, all held would have broken loose. So in 2016, this will be the last time I ever mention it. But I am getting it off my chest now, because I want to say it one time. And I really don’t care about what anybody thinks, why I don’t show up at a press conference, I couldn’t care less.”
Pitino closed by admitting that someone involved with the program – almost certainly former assistant Andre McGee – had acted inappropriately and “wronged” the university.
“I believe in the way we do things, and I believe we have been wronged. We have been wronged. Now, did one person do some scurrilous things? I believe so. From what I know now, I believe so. The only thing I don’t know, I don’t know why he did it. I just, for the life of me, can’t figure out — he knew better, he was taught better, by his parents and by me.”
Pitino said that he won’t be speaking about the scandal again in 2016, but he has made his feelings quite clear about Powell, McGee, his role in the alleged scandal, and the media coverage of it.