Pitino gets the Boot in Latest Louisville Scandal


Pitino coaches guard, Quentin Snider during the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Evan Hayek, Editor In-Chief

By: Evan Hayek

Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino was fired Monday, October 16th, amidst a government investigation into claims of fraud against the university’s men’s basketball team.


Pitino, head coach since 2001, was included in the handful of coaches accused of “paying off” high school students and their families to get them to sign with their team. In one case, a family was paid over $100,000 to play basketball at Louisville.


The University of Louisville Athletic Association (ULAA) met for over five hours to decide how to handle the situation. In the end, the vote was unanimous– Pitino must be terminated.


Immediately following the controversial decision, Adidas, a sponsor of Pitino and Louisville basketball as a whole, pulled all endorsements of the school, ending a deal that was worth about $1.5 million over 5 years.


Pitino filed a lawsuit against Adidas for funneling money to the families of recruits without him knowing.


An Adidas spokesperson issued this statement: “Mr. Pitino’s lawsuit is clearly a reaction to his termination yesterday and is without merit.” Despite the allegations, Pitino denies involvement in the matter, “I had no part — active, passive, or through willful ignorance — in the conspiracy described in the complaint.”


Pitino’s contract with Louisville has him coaching with the Cardinals through 2026. It is still worth nearly $44 million. If ULAA chooses not to buy his contract out, they will have to pay him the full amount of money the contract is worth.


Following the firing of Pitino, ULAA also dismissed athletic director, Tom Jurich on Wednesday, October 18 . Like Pitino, Jurich denied any wrongdoing in the matter. “We believe that their vote to terminate his contract was done in haste with inaccurate information that should have had no bearing on continuing his employment,” read a statement issue by Jurich’s lawyer.


Whether the dismissals of Pitino and Jurich were merited or not, this is a devastating blow to the Louisville basketball program. As a team that was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round last year, this was the last thing they needed heading into the new season.