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Rick Pitino named one of the Least Influential People of 2017

2017 was a big year for Rick Pitino. His program was stripped of a national title for one scandal and then he got fired for an entirely different one; yet, if you ask him, he didn’t do anything wrong at all, which is why GQ named him one of the LEAST influential people of 2017.

“It’s never Rick Pitino’s fault,” Drew Magary writes. “Alleged hooker orgies for Louisville recruits? Affairs at the Ground Round? Named in a federal bribery indictment? Rick Pitino doesn’t know about any of that, folks. In fact, he’s downright offended that you would even have the temerity to imply that a college basketball coach of his stature—who has his hands in virtually every part of the program in addition to greater school affairs—would be privy to such damning misdeeds. Why, he was teaching bounce passes to disabled puppies when all that was going down!”

Who else made the list, which Magary calls a “roll call of enablers, buffoons, and losers who not only contributed nothing to society in 2017, but actively helped ruin America by doing so”? Lonzo Ball, Roy Moore, Woody Allen, Roger Goodell, Sean Spicer, and “All the Bad Men” accused of sexual misconduct in 2017, such as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer.

That’s some fine company, Rick.

[GQ: The Least Influential People of 2017]


BREAKING: UofL sues Rick Pitino seeking lost profits for NCAA vacated games and ticket sales

Back in November, Rick Pitino filed a lawsuit against UofL worth roughly $35 million for breach of contract following his termination from the school.

Tonight,  Jason Riley of WDRB has reported the University of Louisville has officially filed a lawsuit against Rick Pitino, asking for monetary damages from NCAA vacation of wins, ticket sales, donations, and bonuses.

UofL claims Pitino admitted wrongdoing in his epic ESPN interview with Jay Bilas, where he took “full responsibility” for his hiring decisions. They also argue Pitino knew about Brian Bowen’s mother living in the Galt House and did not report the potential violation to compliance staff.

After UofL had their hearing today with the NCAA, it’s obvious things did not go well at all and the school will look to earn back every cent lost when sanctions officially hit in January.

This situation just got a whole lot uglier..


Jurich and Pitino halted Charlotte Hornets to Louisville

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Earlier today, we mentioned an article on Bloomberg.com titled “College Basketball Made Louisville, Then Broke It,” a piece that analyzed the uprise and downfall of Louisville athletics.

Hidden in the article was a bit of breaking news that would have been pretty substantial for the state of Kentucky…

The Charlotte Hornets had an agreement to move to Louisville in 2002, but Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich didn’t want to share the city, let alone an arena, with an NBA team.

Around the time Pitino arrived, a group of Louisville businessmen and politicians were making a concerted effort to land an NBA team. In part, this was a play for economic development. Louisville could see how pro football and hockey helped revitalize Nashville. But it also came just as much from a desire for respect. The city burghers even had a nonbinding agreement with the Charlotte Hornets, which wanted to relocate. The plan centered around building a downtown arena that the Hornets and the Cardinals would share.

Jurich and Pitino had other ideas. They had no intention of sharing an arena with an NBA team—they didn’t even want to share the city with an NBA team. Louisville was theirs. David Stern, who was then commissioner of the NBA, recalls thinking, “If Rick Pitino doesn’t want us there, why are we going there?” The Hornets went to New Orleans instead.

The Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002 to become the New Orleans Hornets. In 2013, they became the New Orleans Pelicans.

If it weren’t for two power-hungry individuals, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Darius Miller would be playing professional basketball in Louisville right now.

As if it weren’t easy enough to dislike Jurich and Pitino already…


Bloomberg: “College Basketball Made Louisville, Then Broke It”

We haven’t tap-danced on top of Louisville today, so let’s do that now.

New to the internet, Bloomberg tells the unfortunate story of the University of Louisville’s demise. “College Basketball Made Louisville, Then Broke It,” the lengthy report is called; and in it, three Bloomberg reporters write about Louisville trying to put the pieces back together from the fall.

There’s not much new to it, but it’s worth your time on this Wednesday if you — you know — still find humor in Scandal U.

Enjoy.

(Oh, and today’s the day of Louisville’s final appeal hearing.)


Dr. Ricky Jones talks about the UofL E:60 on Hey Kentucky!

Dr. Ricky Jones talks about the UofL E:60 on Hey Kentucky!

Sunday morning Dr. Ricky Jones grabbed the nation’s attention on E:60 by describing “the pimp game” that happened between Adidas, Tom Jurich and the University of Louisville.  Tonight he joined Matt Jones to talk about it on Hey Kentucky!

See the entire episode after the jump.

(more…)


Jurich via Card Connect

Drew Deener Sounds Off on Tom Jurich and his Media Attack Dog

Jurich via Card Connect

Another member of the media has aired a grievance over the machine Tom Jurich created at the University of Louisville.

Sunday morning Outside the Lines published an extensive report profiling Jurich’s demise and UofL’s involvement with adidas. It touched on a variety of topics, but the one the struck a cord with ESPN 680 morning radio host Drew Deener was Jurich’s tactics to control the narrative.  In this excerpt from the OTL story, ESPN calls out Bob Gunnell of Boxcar PR.

Jurich sought to neutralize the scandals and shape the athletic department’s image by controlling the local media, according to interviews with more than half a dozen journalists and media executives — many of whom requested anonymity out of fear of reprisals from Louisville, even with Jurich gone. They described consistent and aggressive efforts to influence coverage, including abusive calls to radio talk-show hosts and executives by Jurich and his surrogates; threats to get advertising pulled from stations; and attempts to influence hiring and firing.

Jurich denies he sought to influence advertisers or pressure the media. Nearly all of the media members identified Bob Gunnell, a public relations specialist, as Jurich’s main surrogate and attack dog. The Louisville athletic department has a sports information group that employs 11 people, but contracts obtained by Outside the Lines show Jurich paid Gunnell’s outside PR firm, Boxcar, up to $130,000 per year dating to 2014. Shortly after Jurich was fired, Gunnell cut ties with the university. He now represents Jurich personally.

Labeled a bully by many, including our own Matt Jones, Jurich relied on Gunnell to be his mouthpiece. Deener said Gunnell threatened him on more than one occasion and he has proof to back up his statement.

“He said awful things to me,” Deener said on this morning’s show. “He said threatening things to me and this part of it is something that has kept me up at night, worrying about threats from this guy.  He’s probably listening right now, and sure as hell know he’s listening to the podcast, so I’m going this deep.

“If you want to pick a fight, I got e-mails brother.  I got ’em.  You may not remember you sent ’em, but I have them and they’re burned in my brain and they’re saved on my phone.  You did awful things to pressure this radio station and advertisers of this radio station and I am happy somebody finally brought it up. And I regret not talking to ESPN about this.  I regret it because this has been something that everybody at this station knows has been done.”

Deener’s comments did not directly attack Jurich.  However, he implied that this is just a small snippet of the tactics Jurich employed Gunnell to perform.

“If you want to play ball, I got the e-mails.  And I’ve got some other things in there too.  That stuff happened and that stuff has bothered people around here for years,” Deener said.  “There are people that want me to go way deeper into this, because I got a lot more that I could go into, but I’m not.

Hear all of Deener’s remarks starting around the 29-minute mark below.


Rick Pitino is currently trying to sell his mansion in Miami

Are you in the market for a new home? Do you have $24 million dollars? If so, you’re in luck.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Rick Pitino has dropped the asking price of his 12,000-square-foot mansion in Miami Beach from $26 million to $23.9 million.

Here is a picture of the property:

Back in October, it was reported Pitino sold his 5,100-square-foot Louisville home following his firing at Louisville, though the selling price was undetermined. Similar homes in the area recently sold for well over $2 million, however.

Two homes on the market over the span of three months? Any idea where Pitino is headed now?

Regardless, I hope whoever buys his mansion in Miami doubles up on the clean sheets and hires a good maid…


ESPN exposes financial troubles, Jurich’s lies, and fraud at the University of Louisville

ESPN exposes financial troubles, Jurich’s lies, and fraud at the University of Louisville

When I tell you ESPN went in on UofL this morning, I mean they REALLY went in.

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN’s Outside the Lines published a piece this morning diving into Louisville’s downfall and just how detrimental their scandals are for the city’s finances.

The article is extremely long and packed with countless bits of information and interviews, so here are several key points you need to read:


When the original $160 million partnership between UofL and Adidas was announced, Louisville said the deal would “write the next chapter for college athletics.”

One of the largest all-school sponsorship agreements in Adidas’ history, it was much more than a shoe deal. In internal strategy documents, Louisville vowed to “write the next chapter for college athletics, for streetwear and fashion.”

What a chapter it has been.

It is well-known the athletic department was given favorable treatment compared to the academic departments. A UofL professor talked about how that feels, along with a donor’s perspective of the whole ordeal.

Jurich was so successful generating money that “I wished I could turn them upside down and shake out their pocket change for the academic side,” says Thomas B. Byers, a professor emeritus in the English department.

The strategy required prodigious cash; by this year, Louisville’s athletics budget was up to $104.5 million. “He treated his donors like investors,” says Jurich’s friend Larry Benz, a member of the Louisville Athletic Association, which oversees the department. Jurich built $280 million in arenas, playing fields and athletic offices by convincing rich people of the facilities’ vital importance. “I can give $5 million to stem cell research and it’s gonna help stem cell research,” says Dr. Mark Lynn, an optometry-chain owner whose name adorns the soccer complex. “I give $5 million to a soccer stadium and it’s gonna help everything.” Lynn says sports bring the school visibility.

State Rep. Jim Wayne said Jurich and Jim Ramsey just didn’t “get it,” and that they saw UofL and the city of Louisville as their “kingdom.”

“I don’t think Tom Jurich gets this, and I don’t think Jim Ramsey got it,” says state Rep. Jim Wayne, whose district includes parts of Louisville. “The University of Louisville is a state facility … and it is not their kingdom. They are not the kings, and the princes, and the nobility in the kingdom. They’re temporary stewards of these programs. And instead of seeing this as something that they should be responsible for and hold high ethical standards as they execute their jobs, they’re doing just the opposite.”

According to state auditors and local businessmen, the Yum! Center deal “blew (their) mind” and is the “biggest taxpayer scandal” in the city’s history.

Under the terms, taxpayer contributions make up 75 percent of the arena’s operating income while Louisville gets to keep most of the revenue — an arrangement that “blew our mind,” says state auditor Mike Harmon, whose office examined the arena’s finances. “It was like, ‘This is ridiculous.’ It’s like co-signing the loan for a friend’s home and then having to pay three-fourths of the mortgage.”

Denis Frankenberger, a local businessman who has dissected the lease in minute detail, calls it “the biggest taxpayer scandal in the history of Louisville.”

Outside the Lines reported the arena is currently $300 million in debt, and by the end, it will cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

By early this year, the arena required a bailout to keep it from defaulting on more than $300 million in bond debt. Jurich’s athletic department agreed to pay an additional $2.4 million a year. The public, meanwhile, was saddled with another 25 years of arena-related taxes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. In the end, the arena will cost more than $1 billion, with taxpayers funding most of it.

The Courier-Journal discovered Jurich earned $5.3 million in 2016, which was more than the budgets of the biology, English, history and math departments at UofL. Jurich’s response?

“They couldn’t have gone out and raised money?” he says. “Why is it I’m accountable for everything and all we’ve done is been successful? But these other people get a free pass?

It has been reported and discussed in-depth about Jurich’s act

They described consistent and aggressive efforts to influence coverage, including abusive calls to radio talk-show hosts and executives by Jurich and his surrogates; threats to get advertising pulled from stations; and attempts to influence hiring and firing.

In the end of it all, through all the lies and fraud, Jurich said he has given the school “20 years of dignity” and deserves “a little bit in return.”

Jurich, in the aftermath, seems like a man who feels bewildered and betrayed, as if he were fired for doing his job too well.

“I’ve given this school 20 years of dignity,” Jurich says. “I would hope I would get a little bit in return, and I certainly haven’t yet.”

To read the entire ESPN article, head on over here. I promise it’ll be worth your time.


ESPN profiling “The University of ADIDAS at Louisville” on Sunday

Ready for more juicy Louisville news? Make sure you set your DVR to record E:60 on ESPN2 Sunday morning at 9 a.m. ET, because ESPN is going all in on UofL’s relationship with Adidas.

Tom Jurich sits down with reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada to discuss what led to his downfall as the head of the Cardinals athletic program, which should be interesting to say the least. Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru also worked on a story for ESPN The Magazine entitled, “The University of ADIDAS at Louisville,” which will be available on ESPN.com on Sunday morning.

The folks at ESPN were kind enough to pass along this clip from E:60, in which our friend, UofL professor/chairman of Pan-African studies Ricky Jones shares his thoughts on the scandal.

“You cannot be a coach or an AD and not know that this is a pimp game,” Jones says.

Get your popcorn ready.


According to Rick Pitino, Rick Pitino is Still the Victim

Shut up, Rick Pitino.

The exiled former Louisville basketball coach has gone a few weeks without making a headline, so naturally it was time for him to speak with the Courier-Journal’s Tim Sullivan to make sure people remember just how humiliated and hurt he is.  He’s not humiliated that he turned UofL into a walking scandal; he’s humiliated by what Papa John and the board of trustees.

Three months prior to his termination, Pitino recalled a closed-door board of trustees meeting where Papa John Schnatter threw shade at Pitino.  When the former coach left the meeting, he felt his time was coming to an end.

“I went to my staff the next day,” he said. “I told them, ‘Don’t even think about jaywalking. These people don’t want me here. … If there’s anything in question, you call compliance.’ I beat that into them.”

Pitino believes the board had it out for him and the FBI case was just an excuse to get rid of him.

“I think they made a very big mistake,” Pitino said. “They rushed to judgment on a lot of things. Here you are, you’ve got to fight the NCAA for a lot of things. You fire the head coach and you send a red flag to the NCAA that Louisville did some things wrong. They told the whole country I was guilty.

“Everybody else in the country stayed calm and said, ‘Wait a minute. What’s all this about?’ … The Miami situation is exactly the same as mine, but nobody’s fired in the country except me. It was very traumatic, very humiliating.”

Pitino’s attempt to spin the blame away from himself and onto the board of trustees is ridiculous.  After countless scandals reached a pinnacle with an FBI pay-for-play investigation, Pitino still does not believe he was in the wrong.  Sad! But not as sad as this quote:

“I had a routine for 40 years,” he said. “Suddenly, I’m waking up by myself at 5:30 in the morning, waiting for the sun to rise.”

 

[Courier-Journal]


Police are Looking for Road Rage Suspect with UofL Neck Tattoo

It looks a lot like this thing that’s on Rick Pitino’s disgusting back, via WDRB.

Police are looking for a man with a UofL “L” tattooed on his neck.

The Whitley County sheriff’s office is searching for the suspect following a road rage incident in Williamsburg.  When a truck-driver pulled over at the Pilot truck stop, he was confronted by a man driving a maroon Ford Taurus wielding a pistol.

“The driver of the car was upset over something, the truck driver didn’t know what,” Sheriff Colan Harrell told the Herald-Leader. “He was so irate, he started hitting him with a pistol, and the pistol went off.”

Luckily, nobody was struck by the bullet and the trucker only suffered minor injuries.  The victim described the alleged attacker as a 5’8″ man with dreadlocks, but the dreadlocks were not his most noticeable feature, it was the Old English “L” tattooed on his neck.

The guy with a giant “L” tattooed on his neck lost his temper?  Unbelievable.

[Herald-Leader]


Louisville’s crowd tonight is… something

This week, Louisville tickets at the Yum! Center were available for as low as $3 a pop, with the basketball program essentially begging fans to attend games. For those keeping track at home, that’s cheaper than most non-basketball/football sports at Kentucky.

From the looks of tonight, fans felt the ridiculously low ticket prices were still a bit too much.

After a back and forth battle throughout the night, the Cardinals pulled away from Siena at the end, winning 86-60.

Home court advantage? Absolutely not.

For a basketball program that is currently losing money, attendance numbers this low certainly isn’t helping.


Ranking Rick Pitino’s 10 Worst Decisions

Ranking Rick Pitino’s 10 Worst Decisions

Rick Pitino’s legacy could’ve been one of college basketball dominance, including national championships at two different schools in one state; instead he will leave behind a legacy of bad decisions. Here is a definitive rankings of those bad decisions…

 

10. Leaving Kentucky

He never should’ve left “Camelot” for Boston; however, he still would’ve been fine, if not for the many more bad decisions to come.

9. Trading Chauncey Billups

Once he got to Boston, he never should’ve traded Chauncey Billups. He had a young backcourt of Billups and Paul Pierce, and gave it up. Celtics fans still hate him for it.

8. That stupid tattoo

7. Flipping off the Rupp Arena crowd

What little support he still had from Big Blue Nation, ended at that moment.

6. Suing Adidas

Adidas will try to prove he was involved in the pay-for-play scheme.

5. Suing the University of Louisville

Why open the door for Louisville to dig up all of the skeletons from his time there?

4. Strippers

And their side deals.

3. Paying players

Excuse me: *encouraging Adidas* to pay players.

2. Porcini’s

If he had gone to any other restaurant on that July 2003 night, he probably doesn’t end up with his pants down in a booth after hours.

(Probably.)

1. Not guarding the inbounds pass

His most unforgivable offense.


Pitino is suing the University of Louisville

Rick Pitino isn’t going to go away quietly into the Miami night.

He’s made statement after statement since being relieved of his duties; he has a lawsuit against Adidas, which isn’t going to go well; and now he is suing the University of Louisville.

Pitino and his attorneys are crying breach of contract, and seeking $4,307,000 per year through June 30, 2026 in the lawsuit against his former employer. That’s about $40 million he’s asking for.

Here’s the full release courtesy of Joe Sonka:

This will get very ugly, and we’re very excited about it.

Pass the popcorn.


Dan Dakich crushed Pitino on the Louisville-Purdue broadcast

There isn’t much excitement in tonight’s Purdue-Louisville game — which is currently tied 25-25 in the second half — but we did get some spicy Rick Pitino talk from Dan Dakich on the broadcast.

Dakich took a shot at Pitino when he said, “Pitino is denying so much he probably denies he was ever the head coach at Louisville.”

Dakich also has an opinion about Pitino setting expectations for the current Louisville team:

Oh, and the Purdue student section wore FBI t-shirts.