“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.
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.