Pitino: Get shoe companies out of basketball camps

Rick Pitino was smiling when he said it, but he had to be serious.

“We’ve really got to get the shoe companies out of the camps,” he said during his Thursday press conference.Rick-PItino

The situation has become so distorted that the University of Louisville basketball coach said he doesn’t work Nike basketball camps, knowing the people who run those camps are heavily influenced by the shoe company. He noted that Nike isn’t the only company involved, mentioning Adidas and Under Armor by name.

Pitino said he would prefer that the NCAA run the summer camps, and has even written a letter to the organization strongly suggesting a change. “I don’t think they want to do that,” he said.

“Some of these AAU programs get paid a lot of money to run their program,” Pitino said. “What I’ve learned is that if I go in and it’s a Nike program getting a grand sum of money Louisville is not going to get a commit from that recruit because they (AAU program) may not get that grand sum of money down the road if they don’t go to those schools.”

Pitino has fired the first salvo, among the first coaches to speak publicly about the issue, possibly signaling the beginning of a much-needed debate on a serious issue. The current situation is a farce, favoring some schools, reducing legitimate recruiting options for others.

Somebody’s gotta lead, and Pitino has stepped up.

Charlie Springer

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