Rick Pitino under fire for trusting assistant too much

“Furtively” was the word that kept coming up during the University of Louisville press conference on the NCAA Notice of Allegations against the UofL basketball program.  Specifically in regard to Andre McGee, former player and assistant.

Rick Pitino a stickler for NCAA compliance (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Rick Pitino a stickler for NCAA compliance (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

McGee is accused of secretly arranging for strip shows and sexual favors for as many as 17 basketball players, including recruits and active players. Surreptitiously in the early morning hours at Minardi Hall, without the permission or knowledge of coaches.

Disappointing his tutor, taking advantage of a casual college dormitory atmosphere to throw sex parties. Betraying the trust, taking the program to unprecedented depths, partying all the while.

Those were the kinds of images that loomed heavy over the press conference with Acting President Neville Pinto, Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich, and Coach Rick Pitino responding to the allegations in front of a packed room of journalists.

Some of them apparently eager to make the administrators pay for the sins of the perpetrator. The people in charge, those seeking to provide the opportunity and leadership, winding up bearing the shame of irresponsible behavior.

Pitino, in particular, facing a Level 1 allegation of failing to monitor the activities of Andre McGee. A very serious charge that could result in a show cause and personal penalties against the head coach.

“For the past 30 years, I have been extremely compliant with NCAA rules because I don’t believe in an unfair advantage,” said Pitino, in response to a question from WAVE-3’s Eric Flack about whether the investigation has tarnished his reputation.

“I have never asked a shoe company to help me out with a player — just the opposite. It’s my personal opinion that this is over, but that’s not for me to say. It’s for the NCAA Committee on Infractions to decide, the judge and jury. We will present our case.

“I believe in my players, I believe in my coaches, many of whom have gone on to successful careers, and I believe in this university … We’re dealing with a very difficult thing right now that will be in our rear view mirror very soon because we’ve been transparent, we tell the truth and by telling the truth, your problems become part of your past.”

Really unfortunate that an individual who has been so dedicated to compliance with NCAA rules is compelled to defend his reputation because of the actions of one individual. An individual that he believed in, invested in, wanted to succeed and have a great life — only to be let down in the end.

Pitino trusted McGee too much and they are both paying a price.


NCAA: Institutional control not an issue at Louisville

At long last, progress. Time to start putting this ugly episode behind us.

And so much for the Doomsday scenarios originating from Fifth and Broadway (aka, The Courier-Journal) about vacating an NCAA title.

Not even close.

 The NCAA has finally provided the University of Louisville with the Notice of Allegations following a prolonged investigation of the basketball program. Embarrassing and a punch in the gut, but endurable.

Rick Pitino has a long memory.
Rick Pitino

The findings essentially allege that UofL assistant Andre McGee was actively involved in providing sex parties and favors for a number of recruits and players at Minardi Hall.

What’s significant at this point is what is not included in the allegations:

— That Coach Pitino had knowledge of what took place in the dormitory.

— No ‘lack of institutional control’ at Louisville, which would have been the most severe accusation.

— No “failure to monitor” against the institution..

— No allegation that Coach Pitino failed to ‘promote an atmosphere of compliance.’

The NOA does contain a narrower allegation – which UofL will dispute – that Coach Pitino failed to demonstrate that he monitored McGee.

If anything, Pitino probably had too much faith in McGee, expecting him to conduct himself responsibly. Around the clock monitoring of McGee would have been a violation of privacy.

The NCAA has never been consistent in administering punishments. Whether additional penalties will be administered  is impossible to predict.  The Doomsday scenario, however, is highly unlikely.

Bob Hughes submits resignation to UofL Foundation

Bob Hughes has submitted his resignation from the Board of Directors of the University of Louisville Foundation, expressing sadness and disappointment in ongoing attacks on individuals who made unprecedented progress possible at the University.

UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.
UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.

Hughes, a  physician from Murray, served as Chairman of the Foundation for 18 months. He was a supporter of Jim Ramsey, former President of both the University of Louisville and the UofL Foundation —  as well as Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff.

“Over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult for me to watch this work being attacked and halted to the detriment of the University and the individuals who worked so hard to make it happen,” he wrote in his letter of resignation to Foundation Chairman Brucie Moore.

“I have seen many loyal donors attacked publicly and privately for their support of a remarkable team that brought so many successes to the University of Louisville.”

Hughes, former Chairman of UofL Board of Trustees, said he will continue to serve on the UofL Board through his term that expires on June 30, 2017. “I have served on the board for 12 years and haven’t missed a meeting,” he said. “I think I bring some historical perspective that I believe will be valuable as we move forward.”

Hughes admits he has some concerns about the Presidential search process, which he believes is on hold until the issues raised by a Justice Resource Center lawsuit are settled. That can only be resolved with two or three more minority appointments from Governor Matt Bevin.

“Even more concerning is the involvement of some members of the Board of Trustees,” he told CardGame. “We could have a major challenge finding a new President or getting someone to take the job. You’ve got some members of the board wanting to micromanage the University. That’s not your job as a board member, that’s why you hire administrators.”

Hughes, however, remains committed to UofL’s success, wishing the current leadership “the very best of results for the good of the University … so the school can return to the upward trajectory that has taken it to unprecedented heights.”

After Dumervil-like performance, Drew Bailey earns ACC honor

Drew Bailey had a busy night. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Drew Bailey had a busy night against Duke. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Drew Bailey’s name was called early and often in the University of Louisville football team’s 24-14 win over Duke on Friday.

Every other defensive play it seemed.

A year ago, he was playing behind Sheldon Rankins, watching him closely. “I just watched and listened to Sheldon,” he said. “He taught me to take my time learning how to play the run and play the blocks.”

Rankins, who was drafted as the No. 12 pick in the 2015 NFL draft, is on the injured reserve list of the New Orleans Saints. He would be pleased with Bailey’s progress.

On Monday, Bailey was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week after his career-best performance against Duke.

Bailey, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior, made 11 tackles in the game, the most tackles by a U of L defensive lineman since Elvis Dumervil had 11 in 2005 versus Kentucky.

Bailey had three tackles for loss and seven solo tackles as Louisville held the Blue Devils to 110 rushing yards and 239 total yards. He is in his second season after transferring from Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss.

Lamar Jackson gets a Heisman web site

screenshot-2016-10-17-10-54-25The University of Louisville has created a web site for Heisman Trophy candidate Lamar Jackson, making it easier for scribes and fans to keep up with his record-breaking statistics.

Check it out at Lamar8.com.

Through his first six games, the UofL quarterback has 1,806 passing yards and 832 rushing yards. He has accumulated 30 touchdowns, including 15 passing and 15 rushing for the seventh-ranked Cardinals.

He is, in fact, the first player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to pass for 15 touchdowns and to rush for 15 touchdowns.

And he’s only just begun.