New revelations in Louisville basketball investigation force voluntary ban

Something changed this week in the course of the investigation into the University of Louisville basketball program, making it seem to be much more than a case of a former player paying prostitutes to entertain basketball players.

The decision to take the dramatic step of suspending all post-season play came quickly. So quickly in fact that one has to believe the investigation uncovered much more serious violations.

President Jim Ramsey indicated that the school was made aware of information on Thursday that compelled the University to take immediate action. There was no other recourse, no possibility of the University allowing this to go away. The situation had gone past allegations to tangible evidence.Rick Pitino

The evidence was so alarming that:

— Ramsey believed he had to take action the very next day, no waiting around for the NCAA to conclude its investigation.

— Ramsey was willing to take the full brunt of the negative reaction from UofL fans, many of whom will believe he has overreacted.

— The post-season opportunities for Damion Lee and Trey Lewis were expendable, denying them any opportunity of realizing their NCAA dreams.

— The ban had to include both the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament this year. No waiting until next season, no taking any chances on lesser punishments, like reduced scholarships or coaching suspensions for a few games.

— Rick Pitino would not be given a chance to protect his program, with a team he believed was very special and could have gone a long way this season.

One is left to conclude the new facts indicated that the situation was much more serious than a few college students involved in sex parties with strippers and prostitutes. Whether there were more individuals involved than Andre McGee remains to be seen. Whether the issues involved more than just sexual encounters is open to speculation.

The really sad part is that Tom Jurich, Rick Pitino and the current players still seem to have no idea about what actually went down. They still have not been informed about the new information the university uncovered during the investigation. Nor were they ever permitted by the NCAA to ask any questions of anybody, including their players and staff.

One had to feel sorry for Pitino at the Friday news conference, so staggered by the news that he resorts to talking about his early days at the University of Kentucky, rescuing that program after probation.  What he fails to realize is that UK fans rejoice over any misfortune that occurs at UofL or to him personally. Not the time or place to be discussing his “glory” days in Lexington.

Jim Ramsey knows the controversy has taken a toll on the University, on him personally, and on Jurich and Pitino.  What he learned Thursday, however, left him with no other alternative than taking swift and decisive action. Brace yourselves. We haven’t heard the worst yet.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

15 thoughts on “New revelations in Louisville basketball investigation force voluntary ban

  • February 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm
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    I’m afraid you’re right, Charlie, Ramsey would not have acted so quickly if the new information wasn’t very damning to the basketball program. It’s a damn shame that the action of one or two individuals can tarnish a hard-earned reputation of integrity over so many years.

  • February 5, 2016 at 5:26 pm
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    For me, what makes U of L special is unchanged by whatever happened in Minardi Hall; those events do not define U of L, as I know it. This is what I told a stranger when the charges were first leveled, and what I believe yet.
    That is not to deny anything, and we seem a long way from knowing what happened, it is to say that I define the school as I know it, and for what it has given me, and in the ways I can help it grow for the better. These wrongs are not the essence or the intended direction of the school. Aberrations and distractions occur and must be overcome, so be it with this situation. The long view is what is important. Those who would use this embarrassment to tear down are lacking leadership, just as those who committed the offenses failed to receive the leadership available in all of society. The thing to do, in my not so humble and guiltless in this matter opinion, is to stand strong and proud of the U of L we love and be the loudest voices in the room decrying the infamous events others have attached to our name.
    Go Cards.

    • February 6, 2016 at 1:54 am
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      Aren’t there three ongoing investigations of UL as we speak?

  • February 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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    One other point, for what it is worth, I read Coach Pitino’s reference to his early days at UK as cover for UofL fans who can counter our loud/obnoxious cousins who seek to use this situation as reason to demean; Kentucky had the death penalty imposed on them because they did wrong. Easy on the pious pomposity Wildcats, you were very bad long before this happened at our place. Not that I expect that learned body to show any class even with CRP’s reminder out there…

  • February 5, 2016 at 5:56 pm
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    What a terrible deal. For Lee and Lewis. For the rest of this team. For the fans. For Rick. For Tom.

    March is cancelled. April’s cancelled. Heck, now all we have to hope for is that Hillary isn’t elected and Christmas cancelled because it’s offensive to Muslims.

    • February 6, 2016 at 10:38 pm
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      why bring politics into the discussion. You don’t speak for anybody but yourself so leave “we”out.

  • February 5, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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    Rick could do anything and nothing would happen to him. He did it in Lexington, just didn’t get caught. Look at the scandal with the coach’s ex and sex at the restaurant. Not a slap on the wrist, in fact, he got a raise. It’s sad for the 2 seniors.

  • February 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm
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    Charlie a very well written article. Louisville will survive, but I think Rick Pitino is gone at season end.

  • February 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm
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    Why do you act like the original allegations are nothing major?
    “more serious than a few college students involved in sex parties with strippers and prostitutes.

    To me the timing of this report seems planned around the Super Bowl to limit the exposure.

    • February 5, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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      Just saying they are potentially much more serious than the original allegations, that’s all. Ever see the movie Animal House? Fairly typical weekend behavior at some schools. As for the timing, Ramsey just received the report on Thursday. Didn’t waste any time taking action. A bonus that it happened on Super Bowl weekend. Not that any UK fan would be satisfied with the coincidence but that’s life.

    • February 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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      Wondered that myself. the original allegations are awful.

    • February 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm
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      Those “original” allegations were tied to reports that recruits who later signed elsewhere partook of the services which led to the investigation. And, if memory serves, those kids have confirmed that they did partake. I keep wondering if these were improper benefits, (and there is no doubt they are), then why are those kids who took those improper benefits, and are currently in school elsewhere, not being punished while current players at U of L are being punished for things they were never part of?

  • February 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm
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    Why punish players that were not even playing at the time this happened. I think this is unfair and I think Ramsey ” jumped the gun” and threw our players “under the bus”. I think something else is going on. Why weren’t Pitino and Jurich included in this decision?

    • February 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm
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      Bernice, Tom Jurich was included in the decision, as Rick recently indicated. The former NCAA investigator hired by UofL probably made the recommendation to Jim Ramsey and Tom. So they really had no choice. There are no good options for getting past the damage that Andre McGee inflicted on the program.

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