By Drew Franklin on ©May 22nd, 2018 @ 4:46pm
Louisville is running out of basketball players for Chris Mack’s first year.
The team was already running low on bodies, and it got worse today with the news that would-be sophomore forward Lance Thomas will transfer to another program.
A four-star prospect in last year’s class, Thomas was expected to provide much-needed depth in Mack’s frontcourt, which lost Deng Adel, Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud from a year ago. Thomas will instead leave the Cardinal brotherhood behind, telling his Twitter followers, “After returning home at the end of the semester I was just thinking about my future. I feel it’s in my best interest to look at other options for my career.”
Thomas’ exit leaves Mack with only eight scholarship players on next year’s roster, which includes the recent grad transfer addition from Samford.
Good luck, Chris!
The University of Louisville and Tom Jurich have reached a formal agreement to part ways. Instead of litigating the matter, Jurich and the Louisville Board of Trustees settled out of court.
The former UofL athletic director will be paid $4.5 million for his termination. Jurich will receive a few extra benefits as well, like eight club-level seats and two parking pass to UofL football and basketball games for the next 20 years. UofL also agreed to strike from the record the aggressive termination letter written interim President Greg Postel.
Meanwhile, Rick Pitino is still fighting in court with the Board of Traitors over his settlement, which should produce quite a few fireworks.
Find more details of the settlement in the WDRB report.
Rick Pitino (again) says he did nothing wrong, is outraged the NCAA took down banners over $5800 worth of strippers
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 16th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Once again, Rick Pitino can’t keep himself out of the news.
Despite telling the world three interviews ago he was done with interviews, the former Louisville head coach went on Captain Suntan’s radio show “Ramsey and Rutherford” this afternoon to discuss Romeo Langford, his coaching future, the FBI scandal, and how he was wronged by UofL.
“Well I said I wasn’t going to do another interview, but because it’s you guys I’ll do it,” he started the interview.
When asked whether or not he was ready to become a head coach again, Pitino said he has already turned down one offer, but he’s waiting for the dust to settle on the FBI situation so a better fit can come along.
“You know, I don’t know. I sort of take it one day at a time. I had one college team offer me a job, and that wasn’t going to work for me. But whether it be pro or college, when Louisville fired me without an explanation, without giving me an opportunity to explain myself, what I know, what I don’t know. Instead, they just fire me, and everyone says “Oh, he must be guilty.”
“When you hear FBI, when you hear indictments, everyone is sort of cautious,” Pitino said. (Uh, ya think?) “They want to see who’s guilty, who’s innocent before anything comes my way.”
This morning, Pitino was featured in a Washington Post article talking about Romeo Langford’s recruitment and how Adidas steered him to stay within the apparel company.
Here was an excerpt from the Post piece:
“The way they phrased it, it was whoever [shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” said Pitino in a recent phone interview. A few days later, Adidas’s league added a new team: Twenty Two Vision, featuring Romeo Langford on the court and Tim Langford as team director. Shoe company sponsorships can reach $100,000 to $150,000, and team directors who limit expenses can pay themselves salaries from those amounts.
“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”
He clarified his comments with Ramsey and Rutherford, saying two Adidas officials, one being company executive Jim Gatto, reached out to him about keeping Langford with Adidas. And in Pitino’s mind, if Adidas was able to keep him, there was a greater chance he’d stick with Louisville rather than a Nike school like Kentucky or Duke.
“In my opinion, we were going to get Romeo Langford. We were the leader,” Pitino said. “One of the text messages (I turned over to the Washington Post) was from one of the Adidas people saying, “I’d like to meet with you…. They came to me, and they didn’t really want anything at all, the two Adidas guys. All they said to me was “Look, I know you’re recruiting Romeo Langford and we’re trying to keep him with Adidas.” And I said “Great, I hope we can keep him.” Obviously, I wanted him with Adidas because if he goes to Nike, then Kentucky is going to have a better chance or Duke is going to have a better chance. If he stays with Adidas, Louisville is going to have a better chance. The dad never asked for a single thing, mom never asked for a single thing, the kid never asked. I thought it was one of the most honest recruitments I had ever seen.”
He then clarified again that apparel companies funding AAU programs is 100% legal, and that the Langford family was completely clean. In fact, Pitino compared it to the Marvin Bagley III situation, where the recruit’s family found a loophole with the AAU programs to receive money. In the story released back in March, Bagley III’s mother and father reportedly filed for bankruptcy in 2008 with a combined family income of just over $44,000, and just four years later, tax forms confirmed the family listed a home in Southern California that one real estate broker said could range anywhere from $750,000 to $1.5 million. Bagley III was also enrolled in a private school with a tuition cost of $36,250 per year.
Nike signed a sponsorship deal with Bagley’s AAU basketball program, and because the former Duke player’s father held a major role with the team, the money was legally funneled to the family.
When asked how he could know so much about the Langford situation, but absolutely nothing about the Brian Bowen or stripper situations, Pitino got a bit snippy, saying if you just look at the facts and not listen to the “BS” you’d know there was no way he knew what was going on.
“I’m so tired of listening to that stupid stuff. Someone said to me the other day, “You make so much money, how could you not know that Andre McGee had strippers? You know everyone’s body fat, how could you not know?” And then I tell them I’m probably the last person on earth that would know. If I did find out, Andre McGee knows he would be gone within ten seconds (insert joke here), so he’s going to do everything to keep that from me. Well, if the assistant coaches don’t know, if security in the dorm doesn’t know, if my nephews, whose dad that dorm was named after doesn’t know, if 20 managers don’t know… And most importantly, if Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese, Mike Marra, Gorgui Dieng, if they had no idea what was going on, and they live in the dormitory, how the hell am I supposed to know what’s going on in that dorm? So when it gets down to it, if you just have a little common sense, and instead of talking and spewing BS, and you just listen a little bit, be rational, there’s absolutely no way any coach making $6-7 million is going to risk the slightest thing going wrong,” he said.
Pitino said that he understands the behavior was reprehensible, but to take down banners over $5800 worth of strippers is an outrage.
“For four years, this went on four times a year, for a total of $5800, you’re going to take down the national championship?” he said. “For a rogue employee who did the wrong thing when no one else was involved? You’re going to take down a championship that those kids earned and deserved? Now you can take a banner down, but you can’t take a championship away. And I still believe someday that championship will be reinstalled and those banners put back once the NCAA comes to their senses.”
Listen to Pitino’s entire interview below:
Never change, Rick.
The KFC Yum! Center is removing its “2013 National Champions” window display that once hung so proudly across the arena’s glass front. It’s yet another tragic part of the process of removing any and all references to Louisville’s fictional NCAA championship of five years ago.
A friend of the KSR program snapped a photo of its removal Monday afternoon.
So, so sad.
(Just kidding I love it.)
By Drew Franklin on ©May 02nd, 2018 @ 4:00pm
A new report from the hardworking staff over at WDRB exposes more juicy details regarding the Louisville basketball program and the program’s hiring of strippers and prostitutes.
According to the report, phone records obtained by University of Louisville police show former UofL assistant Mike Balado was in communication with Andre McGee over a five-day period in July 2014. This is around the time McGee was alleged to have arranged for Katina Powell and friends to visit the Minardi Hall basketball dorm for parties, while McGee was miles away from campus as an assistant at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Records show Balado (or Coach Mike, as he’s known to those familiar with the scandal) and McGee spoke by phone or text over a dozen times. Coincidentally, McGee was in contact with Katina Powell at the same time. (Purely a coincidence, I’m sure.) WDRB has the conversation log and it shows McGee’s communication with the other two were only minutes apart.
Balado, now the head coach at Arkansas State, denied any involvement.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 25th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
There really isn’t a dull moment at the University of Louisville, is there? After this morning’s news that the UofL Board of Trustees is suing former President James Ramsey for misusing university funds, there’s even more drama to share. According to WDRB, former UofL associate athletic director Kimberly Maffet is suing UofL for firing her for health issues and reporting “wrongful conduct” including a UofL coach having an affair with a co-employee.
Now, the coach isn’t named, only listed in the lawsuit as “Coach 3,” but Maffet claims reporting the relationship, which violated the university’s sexual harassment policy, is part of the reason she was let go earlier back in February. She also reported a different coach verbally abusing employees. According to Maffet, that behavior was not only typical, but continuously covered up by the department.
Maffet claims her attempts to report the violation “were rebuffed” and other employees “attempted to hide” the information. […]
Maffet described the athletics department as having a “culture of misogynism, sexism, lying, cover-up, and bullying in the Athletic Department,” according to the suit.
Can somebody pass the popcorn?
By Nick Roush on ©April 25th, 2018 @ 11:45am
The University of Louisville Board of Trustees will sue former President James Ramsey, his chief aid Kathleen Smith, and others for misusing university funds.
The lawsuit that will be filed today in Jefferson Circuit Court alleges that from 2008 to 2016, Ramsey and others took millions from the UofL Foundation’s endowment to make unauthorized, risky investments. They allegedly attempted to hide the transactions to excessively compensate themselves.
The new chair of the board, David Grissom, said in a release: “Millions of dollars of donations originally intended for the benefit of the University and its students instead were used to pay excessive compensation.” He adds, “Other funds were directed toward risky and inappropriate investments, and spending regularly exceeded the Foundation’s own policy.”
Click here to read the entire lawsuit and the report from WDRB.
By Nick Roush on ©April 23rd, 2018 @ 4:00pm
Coming to the adult section of a bookstore near you this fall, “The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino: A Story of Corruption, Scandal, and the Big Business of College Basketball.”
The clever title was created by Michael Sokolove. You know him from great works like, “Success is the Only Option,” and, “Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out,” a pair of important pieces of literature that were inspired (and technically co-written) by John Calipari.
Set to hit stores on September 28, the 304-page book will “lift the rug” on the scandal at University-6.
“A few bad apples are one thing. In THE LAST TEMPTATION OF RICK PITINO, Michael Sokolove shows an elaborate, systematic machine, involving millions of dollars in illicit payments and connecting at least one of the largest apparel companies in the world with schools across the country. The Louisville-Adidas scandal has revealed a web of conspiracy whose scope has shaken big-time college sports to its core, delivering a devastating blow to the fantasy of amateurism, of “scholar athletes.” A Shakespearean drama of greed and desperation involving some of the biggest characters in the arena of sports, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF RICK PITINO will be the definitive chronicle of this scandal and its broader echoes.”
You aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, unless it’s a bonafide New York Times best seller.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 17th, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Chris Churchill of the Times Union newspaper in Albany wrote a column expressing his excitement about Rick Pitino’s reported interest in the head coaching job at Siena College. Churchill’s column included some humor, like the line, “If he came here, we might spot him at some local coffee shop canoodling with a lady who is not his wife.”
Turns out, Rick Pitino read it and he wasn’t amused, so he picked up the phone and called Churchill to defend his reputation.
Now in a new column for the Times Union, Churchill explains what all Pitino had to say during their 30-minute conversation. It was more of Rick’s usual pity-partying, but also a little bit that could be read as legitimate interest in Siena’s opening:
When asked specifically about Siena, he sounded more than open to the prospect.
“The only thing I’m looking for, wherever I’m going to coach, is to impact the lives of people in some positive way,” Pitino said. “I’m not looking to become wealthy. I’m not looking to be famous. I want to impact lives.”
That isn’t a no, you’ll notice. [Times Union]
There’s more in there that makes Pitino’s interest in moving to New York to coach a small Catholic school seem legit.
But what I found interesting is Pitino did another interview, not even two whole weeks after saying he’ll never do another interview.
That guy sure doesn’t last long.
To no one’s surprise, Rick Pitino is interested in getting back into the spotlight.
According to Loudonville thoroughbred owner and longtime friend Roddy Valente, the former Louisville coach is interested in the Siena head coaching vacancy.
“He basically said given the opportunity, he would love to sit down and explore coaching at Siena,’’ Valente said this morning.
Valente said Pitino wants to coach again, regardless of the level.
“He loves to coach,’’ Valente added. “He said Siena would be a good fit. He loves the area. He’s turned down two jobs because of where they were located. He loves the Capital Region.”
Jimmy Pastos resigned from his position as Siena’s head coach on Friday following an investigation of verbal and physical abuse of members on the basketball team. There were also reports of improper withholding of per diem money from the team. He had been with the Saints for the last five seasons, leading them to an 8-24 record this past year.
One source told KSR’s TJ Walker that Pitino was also interested in coaching in the National Basketball League for the New Zealand Breakers, though Pitino later denied those claims.
Rick Pitino is going to be roaming a sideline as a coach sooner rather than later. It’s not if, but when.