N.C.A.A. Charges Louisville’s Rick Pitino With Rules Violations in Sex Scandal

0
38

The University of Louisville on Thursday confirmed that the N.C.A.A. had formally charged current and former staff members in its men’s basketball program, including Coach Rick Pitino, with major rules violations related to a scandal in which a university employee provided prostitutes who performed sexual acts with players and recruits.

Louisville released the formal N.C.A.A. allegations against current and former men’s basketball program staff members — which included four so-called Level 1 infractions, the most serious designation — but the N.C.A.A.’s letter did not include the dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge that might have brought far more serious consequences for the university. Pitino, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, has denied that he knew about the actions of the former employee, Andre McGee, but the accusation that he failed to monitor McGee is in the most serious category of potential violation, and it could result in his suspension.

In a statement, Louisville’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, noted that the allegations did not include the charge that Pitino knew of McGee’s actions with the prostitutes, and he pledged to appeal the charge that Pitino had failed to monitor his employees.

“The N.O.A. aligns with the results of our inquiry: Improper activities took place in a dormitory that never should have occurred,” Jurich said, referring to the notice of allegations and going on to allude to Louisville’s self-imposed postseason ban last season. “When the facts were established, we acted. We took appropriate punitive and corrective actions.”

McGee, Louisville’s former director of basketball operations, who the university said did not cooperate with the N.C.A.A. investigators, also received a so-called Level I charge, as did another former assistant coach, Brandon Williams. The university itself, however, was not charged.

Louisville has 90 days to respond to the N.C.A.A.’s letter, and a hearing before the Committee on Infractions is expected to be scheduled for next spring.

The scandal burst into public view in October 2015 after a woman who worked for an escort service, Katina Powell, revealed in a book that McGee had hired Powell to provide strippers and prostitutes for recruits and some of their fathers during a four-year period. The book’s charges, detailed online by its publisher, seemed to surprise Louisville officials, who promised a quick and thorough investigation.

Pitino, 64, is one of college basketball’s most celebrated and accomplished coaches, credited with reviving Kentucky’s program in the 1990s and leading it to the 1996 national championship. After a comparatively unsuccessful foray into the N.B.A. with the Boston Celtics, his second tenure as a head coach in the league, Pitino returned to the state, where over the past 15 years he has revived Louisville’s program, which won the 2013 national title.