Bobby Petrino says his University of Louisville football team got better during the bye week, and he’s looking forward to the clash with Florida State on Saturday.
Ralph Willard is taking a leave of absence as a University of Louisville assistant basketball coach, ostensibly for health reasons.
In addition to being an assistant, Willard is one of Rick Pitino’s closest friends and most trusted advisors. The timing is curious, coming just 10 days after a local prostitute levied accusations in an e-book against the program.
Willard, who is 69, could well have some medical issues. He also could have decided that he didn’t want to be around while an NCAA investigation was occurring, aggravating any health concerns he may have.
Willard gave up a comfortable retirement in Bonita Springs, Fla., this year to hook up for another stint with his old friend. He had served with Pitino on the New York Knicks’ staff from 1987 to 1989, at the University of Kentucky for a coupe of years during the early nineties, and at UofL from 2009 to 2010.
Willard’s son, Kevin, was an assistant coach at UofL from 2001 to 2007 before taking the head coaching job at Seton Hall, It was Kevin, remember, who stood in for him when Pitino had that mysterious illness in 2004, went off to the Cleveland Clinic, and returned after missing a couple of games. A few years later, Pitino presented Kevin with a Rolex watch when he brought his Seton Hall team to Freedom Hall.
Anything negative that happens to UofL basketball is going to be painstakingly second-guessed until this NCAA ordeal is over several months from now. Ralph Willard and Rick Pitino have gone through a lot together. It’s difficult to imagine one of them bailing out when the water gets a little choppy.
It’s Saturday and basketball can wait. A day to meditate on University of Louisville football.
Video: UofL Athletics
A little over a week ago there were no visible hints of the scandal about to converge on the University of Louisville basketball program. No one connected to the program could have imagined the fallout from the accusations of an admitted prostitute.
Life has changed, the controversy casting a cloud over the University one loves and supports, so much a part of our lives. An institution that has made so much progress in academia, in campus development, in athletics over the past decade or so.
For the next few months or so, expect a steady stream of finger pointing and preaching from local and national sports pundits, each trying to paint UofL than the last pundit. Having been a sportswriter at one point and associated with many of them over the years, I have always found it ironic that some of them consider themselves experts on morality.
All possibly because of the immature and foolish actions of someone associated with the program. Those actions negatively impacting thousands of people. The NCAA needs to find better ways of dishing out punishment to individual violators. They should have figured that out by now so the prospects of that happening are not good.
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Rick Pitino expressing disappointment at not being mentioned by President Jim Ramsey in his statement of support for Tom Jurich as the investigation proceeds.
Shouldn’t have come as any surprise to Pitino, with his program the target of the investigation. Ramsey would have been premature to back the UofL coach with the probe only a few days old. Andre McGee was an assistant to Pitino, accused of organizing illicit and illegal activities.
Those who say Pitino should have known what was going on may or may not have a valid point. It’s common for women to be in men’s dormitories on college campuses. Often the dorms are co-ed so there’s constant interaction. With the way some young women dress these days, it is not as easy as it used to be to spot prostitutes. And they certainly don’t wear badges identifying what they do for their livelihoods.
If these activities did occur, the error may have been in the coach not ensuring that he had loyal people as supervisors at Minardi Hall willing or brave enough to report questionable conduct. Or maybe they didn’t consider it serious enough, trusting that nothing would come of it.
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While it has nothing to do with the allegations or the investigation, let’s hope we find out who actually directed Katina Powell to the Indianapolis publishing company. Just too big a coincidence that she wound up at a book company managed by Patricia Keiffner, a former general manager at the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
The odds of finding the name of the IBJ Publishing Company are not good when one does a Google search for “publishing companies” on the first try. The company isn’t listed in the first 20 pages of results.
Narrow the parameters down to “publishing companies in Indiana” and there are no specific references to IBJ, at least not on the first 10 pages. IBJ is not listed either in the first five pages of directories for Indiana publishers.
Only when one does a search for “Publishing Companies Indianapolis” does a link for IBJ turn up. Why would she be narrowing her search down to Indianapolis? One has to wonder how Katina Powell found the company in what she described as a simple Google search.
The point being that IBJ Publishing is very difficult to find. She almost had to be pointed in that direction by someone else to finally land on the IBJ web site.
This poses the obvious question of how she connected with the Indianapolis company. Concidentally, the owner was eager to come down hard on University of Louisville basketball. Relying almost exclusively on a disreputable and unreliable source, without any regard for the source’s well being, allowing her to jeopardize her future by incriminating herself.
UofL fans can look forward to someday getting the facts about how she actually got to know Michael Maurer.
Google search, indeed.
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Maurer, who obtained a law degree from IU, has an impressive curriculum vitae. Besides being publisher of the Indiana Business Journal, He also listed as an entrepreneur, with cable television, film production, radio broadcasting, newspaper publishing, real estate and banking interests.
Maurer has served as chairman of the board of directors of the National Bank of Indianapolis, the largest locally owned financial institution in central Indiana. In 2005, he was named President of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and, in 2006, he was named Indiana Secretary of Commerce by Governor Mitch Daniels.
He has served as president of the Jewish Community Relations Council and chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Zoological Society and the United Way of Central Indiana.
A long list of honors includes the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University, the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows at IU, the President’s Medal at IU and the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award from the Indiana chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
All of which only underscores the question of how Maurer and Katina Powell actually became a team, teaming up in a slimy attempt to smear UofL basketball.