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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

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.

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Duke slows game down, denying UofL style points

Too much talk all week long about that 35-point spread, and from people who should know better. Just a matter of how much and how long Lamar Jackson would stay in the game.

Players hear that kind of talk from analysts and fans, they absorb it, believe it, don’t put in as much effort in practice.  Come game time they’ve already chalked the game up as a win, easing up on the intensity, lacking respect for the opponent.

Friday night crowd of 55,121 hung around until to the end.
Friday night crowd of 55,121 hung around until to the end.

The ambivalence probably cost the Cardinals in terms of respect in front of a national TV audience on ESPN. No style points whatsoever in the speculation race for one of the four playoff spots at season’s end.

The game was still on the line at the two minute mark in the fourth quarter with the University of Louisville clinging to a 17-14 lead, with visions of a possible collapse hanging over the crowd of 55,121 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Had Duke not committed a roughing-the-kicker penalty following an ugly Evan O’Hara 46-yard field goal attempt, the outcome could have much different, especially given the way the Blue Devils were moving the ball. The penalty gave Louisville the ball on the Duke 14 and Lamar Jackson would scored a two-yard touchdown two plays later to give UofL a 24-14 win.

Employing a brilliant ball control game, Duke had the ball for 37:12 minutes, almost double time of possession for UofL. As a result, Lamar Jackson almost had to make every play count. Not even close, probably remembered in this one for the passes he didn’t complete to wide open receivers.

Still he would put up some impressive numbers, connecting on 13 of 26 attempts for 181 yards, including a touchdown while rushing for 144 yards, and that game-clinching TD.

Jeremy Smith would give Louisville some breathing room for a while in the third quarter with his 80-yard touchdown. But Duke would reduce the deficit to three points in the fourth quarter, setting up the suspenseful final two minutes.

Another win but the luster is not quite as shiny as it was when the Las Vegas oddsmakers were sizing up Louisville’s prospects for the playoffs just a few days ago.

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