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REPORT: Rick Pitino has been fired

According to a new report, Rick Pitino has been fired.

How loyal is Tom Jurich to Rick Pitino? According to Kent Taylor, UofL interim president Greg Postel asked Jurich to fire Pitino, but Jurich refused, so Postel fired them both.

Pitino’s body language as he leaves Postel’s office says it all:

UofL will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Neither Jurich or Pitino will attend. KSR will stay on air through 2 p.m., and we will have a live stream of the presser on the site.


LIVE UPDATES: The latest on what’s happening at Louisville

LIVE UPDATES: The latest on what’s happening at Louisville

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

What’s the latest on Louisville? Stay tuned to this thread for updates. I’ll be updating it as news comes out.

11:39 AM: Adrian Wojnarowski says Pitino’s been trying to come back to the NBA for years but nobody wants him.

Ouch.

11:20 AM: Been fighting through 504 errors to get back to you guys. Multiple reports Jurich is out and rumblings that Pitino is as well. Louisville would hold a press conference at 1 p.m., and neither Pitino nor Jurich will attend. KSR will stay on air until 2 p.m. to cover it.

Meanwhile, here is Pitino leaving his meeting with interim president Postel, which only took a few minutes:

He is now back at the practice facility:

10:55 AM: Pitino has been spotted leaving the UofL practice facility:

10:50 AM: Captain Suntan is reporting that Jurich is out.

10:48 AM: An interesting report from the Courier-Journal: Tom Jurich’s daughter is a brand manager for adidas, the company at the center of this scandal. She joined the company in March. Because of course.

[Courier-Journal]

10:23 AM: Eaves’ report is now on the front page of ESPN:

Meanwhile, bags and boxes are being loaded into a black Lexus at the practice facility:

10:19 AM: Joe Sonka is reporting the announcement could come this afternoon:

Sonka’s phone is also dying, so if you have a Mophie you can lend him, please get down to Louisville’s campus.

10:13 AM: Michael Eaves is reporting that Rick Pitino has told members of his coaching staff that he expects to lose his job:

10:10 AM: Jurich is already gone (from the meeting):

10:05 AM: Tom Jurich is currently meeting with Greg Postel. When asked if he expected to lose his job today, he said, “I have no idea”:

10:02 AM: As Marcus Green points out, Rick Pitino’s contract says that he can only be fired by the UofL Board of directors after ten days notice:

10:00 AM: ESPN’s Michael Eaves says Pitino met with his staff this morning.

https://twitter.com/michaeleaves/status/913040133850583040


Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

More saying today’s the day Pitino and Jurich will be fired

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

As the minutes go by, it looks more and more like today’s the day Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich will be fired. Sportscenter anchor Michael Eaves, also a UK grad, shared this source from inside the Louisville athletic department:

Pat Forde was also on ESPN this morning from UofL’s campus to talk about the scandal and said the two “could be gone as soon as today.” ICYMI yesterday, he called for UofL to get the death penalty should the allegations be found to be true.

Jody Demling is now reporting that Pitino will meet with Interim President Greg Postel this morning:

Here we go…


Today on KSR, powered by Lextran: Goodbye, Rick?

A message from our friends at Lextran:

Heading to the game? Hop on the Lextran football shuttle to Kroger Field! Lextran operates shuttle service during every UK home football game from downtown and campus. The service begins three hours prior to kick-off and runs for 30 minutes after the start of the game. Shuttle will pick back up at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Pay $1 each way onboard the bus. Please have exact change! Further details can be found at www.lextran.com!


Is today the day Rick Pitino gets fired?

All anyone is asking this morning is, what’s going to happen to Rick Pitino? By now, you’ve heard about the bribery scandal rocking college basketball and Louisville’s alleged participation in the scheme. In a nutshell, adidas funneled $100,000 to the family of Brian Bowen to help secure his commitment to Louisville and was working on doing the same for another recruit, likely 2019 center Balsa Koprivica. Two Louisville coaches were involved in the scheme.

All day, rumors flew about what would happen to Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich. Pitino, of course, feigned ignorance in a statement released by his attorney (NOT the school, an important distinction), and his attorney said Louisville would be “reckless” to fire him. Meanwhile, Tom Jurich was out of town until late last night, meaning any official press conference would have to wait until this morning. Still not word on if or when one will take place, but you have to think it’s only a matter of time, especially given this tweet from Michael Eaves:

Catch up on the scandal

If you were offline all day yesterday (or just couldn’t get on KSR because it kept crashing), catch up on the scandal with our top stories:

Watch Matt and Lee break it down on “Hey Kentucky”

This tweet from Captain Suntan may be the best part of this whole thing

Is this what it sounded like when the band played on while the Titanic was sinking?

Meanwhile, John Calipari was in Washington D.C.

While his rival was preparing for the end, Calipari was in D.C. to see his friend Kelly Craft be sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Canada. He posed with several top Kentucky lawmakers, including Senator Rand Paul, Congressman Andy Bar, Governor Matt Bevin:

I wonder if Cal asked Bevin to retain Jurich? Probably not. He also coached the congressional charity game:

Including David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the Capitol Police officers who saved the day during a shooting at a congressional baseball practice:

Calipari posing with heroes while Rick falls from grace. Absolutely perfect.

Big Blue Madness Campout started

On any other day, Big Blue Madness campout would be our #1 story. Today, I honestly forgot it was happening; however, time marches on, and at 5 a.m., fans dashed across Avenue of Champions to secure their spots to campout for Big Blue Madness tickets:

Tickets will be distributed Friday night at 10 p.m.

Today’s radio show is one you don’t want to miss

It could be one for the ages.


The End of the Pitino Era is Upon Us

The End of the Pitino Era is Upon Us

In the very near future, likely as early as tomorrow morning, Rick Pitino will no longer be the coach of the UL Basketball program. This is a decision that should have happened long ago, but didn’t because of a combination of success, hubris and denial that engulfed everyone from the Card fan base to the University President. Simply put, Rick Pitino was too successful to question. He made massive money for a University rising in prestige, won at the highest levels coaching a program desperate for success and helped put Louisville basketball in a national spotlight that everyone involved adored. Over the course of more than a decade, he cultivated a loyal group of supporters, ready to fight all of his battles and defend his honor, no matter how bad the transgression. The Pitino Army included powerful government officials, connected corporate friends, wealthy local businessmen, hardcore Card lovers and loyal media enablers. Regardless of the behavior, they had an answer and those who went against the #L1C4 shield were seen as enemies who must be destroyed. Pitino made himself out to be the most powerful and important person in the city of Louisville and through success and sheer will, he achieved his goal.

But tomorrow all of that will likely come crashing down. The unchecked arrogance of the Pitino dynasty has seemingly finally hit its tipping point thanks to a new Louisville leadership regime and overall fan scandal fatigue. The Pitino defenders have jumped ship, with donors holding their wallets, fans complaining in disgust and former media friends calling for resignation. It is the end of the line and even though Pitino refuses to recognize reality (as seen by his unbelievably tone-deaf statement this evening), there is simply no longer an army to defend his castle. The question now only becomes how many people will he take down with him? Does Louisville clean out the entire basketball staff and find an outsider to jump in and try to coach the team on the precipice of the season? With talk of the dreaded “Death Penalty” being whispered, how harsh a punishment does the men’s basketball team receive? And in the process of cleaning house does Pitino’s latest transgression take down the AD many believe to be one of the best in the country with him? Being a Pitino friend/associate has for years been the ticket to success in Louisville and around college basketball. Will it now be a ticket to unemployment, ridicule or worst of all, federal prison? Time will tell.

There will be plenty of time to look back at Pitino’s tenure in Louisville and Lexington for that matter, and try to process what it all means. TJ Beisner wrote earlier today that Pitino ends his career as one of the biggest sports personalities in our state’s history, yet will likely be shunned from both campuses that he called home. In some ways that is truly sad and a Greek Bluegrass sports tragedy of unrivaled proportions. But it is also a direct result of a lifetime of skirting standards, both professional and ethical, and yet finding a way to come through unscathed in the end. I often took to calling Pitino “Teflon Rick”, as it seemed nothing could stick to him and his job was saved after behavior that would have ended the career of virtually any other coach. Pitino lied about everything, from the serious to the trivial, and now with no one left to believe his most absurd assertions of all (“I was SHOCKED to learn”), the door will finally shut.

After UL self-imposed probation two years ago (a decision that privately Pitino and UL Athletics people sought to have fans blast then-President Ramsey for), I and others said that the only way for UL to get past the Katina Powell scandal was to clean house and bring a new regime. At any other University in America, that decision would have been obvious and immediate. Yet for reasons that now have become clearer, UL decided to deny and persevere…keeping the entire regime that led to the problems in the first place. Over the last two years, the effects of that decision have been made clear. The University has seen its President resign in disgrace, its Foundation has been raided of millions of dollars that are still missing and unaccounted for, its donor base has eroded to the point that paying the daily bills of the University is in jeopardy and now, an even larger basketball scandal that involves the FBI and pay-for-play has tarnished the University for decades. To an entire generation of college basketball fans, when you one thinks of scandal and rule-breaking, Louisville basketball will come to the forefront. With one quick rip of the band-aid off, this could have been avoided. But now even more pain is ahead.

Thus while I feel no sympathy for Pitino or other UL Athletics administration members, I do feel sorry for the fan base and University as a whole. It is true that the enabling by these fans helped prolong these issues, but if we are honest, most fans of schools (or politicians) they support seek to initially justify their actions when trouble occurs. UL fans wanted to believe in Rick, Tom and Bobby, and the wins and income clouded their judgment. However what is next will punish them disproportionately to whatever guilt they may have. The Cards are probably looking at a massive rebuild of early-90s Kentucky proportion and may find themselves without postseason play for multiple years. The words “Death Penalty” have been thrown about and there was probably a time I would have rooted for such a result. But the reality is that the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky need UL Basketball to exist for the betterment of the economy. Downtown Louisville and the Yum Center without UL games will be unsustainable and if that area fails, it will have a dramatic impact on the local and state economy. Even though they are our rivals, they matter also as our neighbors and while I do not pity their plight, I hope the comeuppance they receive shows some degree of mercy for them and our state.

Tomorrow the Pitino era likely ends and with it, a decade of UL sports that saw some of the greatest successes the University has ever known. Rick Pitino will stomp off into the sunset, likely angrily shouting his innocence of all charges, ignorance of the facts at hand and overall unfairness of the situation to him. But he is no victim and he certainly is no martyr. His fall is great because his scandalous reign sustained solely by absolute power and fear, inevitably led to his ultimate downfall. He will leave the University in worse shape than when he arrived and with a second fan base that once adored him, now looking away in shame. Rick Pitino, one of the top college coaches in the history of the profession, is now destined to be remembered mostly as a cheater of epic proportions and a punchline to sexual stamina jokes. It is a sad ending, but unfortunately one well-earned.


WHAT WE KNOW: Louisville’s involvement in the college basketball bribery scandal

WHAT WE KNOW: Louisville’s involvement in the college basketball bribery scandal

It’s been about six hours since the college basketball bribery scandal broke and in between Twitter jokes and an ominous press conference from the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI, one thing has become very clear: the University of Louisville is in hot water. While UofL was not mentioned by name in the affidavit, interim president Greg Postel confirmed that they are under FBI investigation for their part in the scandal.

There are a lot of moving parts to this story, so here’s what we know right now.

UofL is “University-6”

If any Louisville fans were clinging to the hope that there was another university in the state with an enrollment of 22,000 that could have been the “University-6” mentioned in the affidavit, Postel put those to bed with his statement after lunch.

“Today, the University of Louisville received notice that it is included in a federal investigation involving criminal activity related to men’s basketball recruiting,” the statement read. “While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university. UofL is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated.”

Once you stop laughing at the line “UofL is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules,” let’s go over those alleged violations.

An unnamed player was promised $100,000 to come to Louisville

Jim Gatto, the head of global sports marketing for adidas, has been accused of conspiring with others (Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, and Munish Sood) to funnel $100,000 to the family of “Player-10,” a top 2017 recruit, to help two coaches at “University-6” (Louisville) secure his commitment and make sure the player used their services as managers and financial advisors in the NBA.

That player is Brian Bowen

Bowen is not named in the affidavit, but it’s easy to connect the dots. Out of nowhere, he committed to Louisville in early June, one month after his family allegedly made the agreement with Gatto, the Louisville coaches, and the others:

Bowen apparently did not want to go to Louisville until the arrangement was made

Bowen was also considering Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon, and Texas, but shocked everyone when he announced he was enrolling at Louisville. Per the affidavit, it was a “surprise commitment.”

Rick Pitino had the nerve to bring up money (!) when talking about it

When talking to Terry Meiners about Bowen’s commitment, Rick Pitino acknowledged that it was a surprise and actually said, “we spent zero dollars recruiting” him. Wow.

“We got lucky on this one,” Pitino told Terry Meiners of News Radio 840. “I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen). I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I say him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.” [Source]

I have a feeling Rick will regret those words.

It’s all on tape

The best part about all of this? The FBI has tapes of all the calls and meetings between Gatto, Dawkins, adidas travel team director Brad Augustine, Code, Sood, the two coaches, and the family. There’s no arguing with the tape!

There’s another recruit involved

Player-11 is mentioned as a 2019 recruit Gatto and coaches were working on making an arrangement with to come to Louisville in exchange for money. He was discussed in a July 27 meeting between all of the involved parties in Vegas (the adidas Summer Championships were taking place):

The only 2019 pledge Louisville has right now is 4-star shooting guard David Johnson, who committed to the Cards on September 15. Johnson is only considered a top 35 player, whereas “Player-11” is described as a top ten prospect, so it’s not him.

UPDATE: Player-11 is likely five-star center Balsa Koprivica, ranked #7 in the 2019 class. He plays for Brad Augustine’s AAU team, 1 Family, which is sponsored by — you guessed it — adidas.

Louisville currently leads Koprivica’s 247 Sports Crystal Ball with 91% of the predictions.

They were brazen enough to do this while under NCAA investigation

The main takeaway I have from this? Louisville was stupid enough to try all this while they were already under NCAA investigation! So, to check that timeline once again, Louisville received its punishment from the NCAA on June 11; a month and a half later, an assistant was in Vegas meeting with Gatto, Augustine, and others to discuss paying Bowen and the 2019 recruit. In that meeting, Dawkins and the assistant acknowledged that because Louisville was on probation, they “gotta be very low-key”:

I’d be shocked, but it’s Louisville, after all.

Apparently Coach-2 has a big you-know-what

It’s not over yet:

Stay tuned…


Local and national media weigh in, call for Pitino’s removal

Earlier today, Pat Forde underlined the severity of the allegations facing Louisville in the FBI’s bribery probe by calling for Rick Pitino’s job. As the day has gone on, more and more of his colleagues locally and nationwide are following suit. Here’s a roundup of the media’s take on what should happen to Pitino now that his program is dealing with yet another major scandal.

WDRB’s Eric Crawford: Fall of the House of Cards: Federal allegations a tipping point for U of L

I wrote last December about stopping Louisville’s cycle of scandal. It hasn’t stopped. From its foundation to its administration to its athletics department, the cycle keeps spinning.

The institution, and I’m not talking about the athletic department, I’m talking about this entire university, cannot allow this to continue.

Greensboro.com’s Ed Hardin: Why did the ACC ever invite Louisville?

It’s Louisville, of course: The school that brought us the strippers scandal and a dirty pair of coaches, Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino, and NCAA violations and a possibly vacated national title. And worst of all, there’s the academic profile.

This school should’ve never been allowed to join a league that has some of the top universities in the world and prides itself for its academic foundation. In the latest U.S. News & World Report national university rankings, 14 of the 15 ACC schools are ranked among the top 81. Louisville is No. 165.

Courier-Journal’s Joseph Gerth: Fire Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich now

Start with University of Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich, move on to head basketball coach Rick Pitino, and keep moving down the chain until they are all gone.

Fire them all. They deserve it.

They deserved it a long time ago.

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf: Rick Pitino’s reputation — and future — are again in question

If the FBI’s allegations are validated, Louisville has only one option: Remove Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich. Immediately.

Pitino is facing a federal organization that puts people in prison. That’s why his latest problem trumps the previous incidents tenfold.

Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy: Louisville basketball may survive new scandal, with or without Rick Pitino

It may be that Pitino was indeed unaware of anything untoward happening in his program, but that excuse could wear thin after he claimed ignorance of the stripper parties in Louisville’s basketball dorm.

It’s his job to know. He is paid handsomely to know. At the very least, it is his responsibility to hire the sort of people who would not engage in this sort of activity in the pursuit of basketball talent.

Even if what allegedly transpired was kept “very low-key,” at some point the buck has to stop.

Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg: Defrauded? Universities Named in Justice Department Complaint Got What They Deserved

The University of Louisville was not defrauded. It got exactly what it wanted, what it paid for, what it represented and what it deserved. This is a school that hired Bobby Petrino twice and stood by Rick Pitino when his basketball program hired hookers to entice high school students to go there. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich created an athletic powerhouse. That was his job. Very few people seemed to care how he did it.

Dan Wolken: Not ‘One Shining Moment’: After FBI sting, college basketball should be very afraid

“We got lucky on this one,” Pitino said. “I had an AAU director call me and ask if I’d be interested in a player. I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.”

That quote alone is damning in light of this investigation, and if the allegations are true it should finally get Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich fired after they have already survived multiple scandals that would have done in less powerful people.

They probably won’t be the only ones to lose their careers in disgrace.

Also Wolken:

As his attorney said earlier tonight, he ain’t resigning. What will Louisville do to try to save face?


Remember when Pitino said he wouldn’t coach past 2016-17 season?

When Rick Pitino isn’t Louisville’s head basketball coach this fall, don’t act surprised because he told us that would be the case.

He told us almost six years ago.

Let’s flash back to December of 2011, two days before the Cards’ Big East opener against Georgetown, when Pitino announced that he wouldn’t coach past the 2016-17 season.

“When you’re 59, you’re realistic that you don’t have a whole lot of years left,” Pitino said. “My contract’s going to run out in 2017. I’m not coaching any more after that.”

We may soon find out he was telling the truth, although I doubt he predicted his current circumstances.


Rick Pitino releases statement on bribery scandal (UPDATED)

Rick Pitino releases statement on bribery scandal (UPDATED)

Rick Pitino has spoken, and his response is exactly what’d you expect. Through his lawyer, Pitino released this statement in response to Louisville’s alleged involvement in the bribery scandal rocking college basketball:

No reference to 9-11? Come on, Rick.

An update from our pal Joe Sonka:

And Jason Riley:

So, Pitino won’t go willingly. Does UofL have the cajones to fire him?

Maybe we’ll find out in the morning.


FBI raided sports agency connected to scandal

This scandal keeps getting bigger and bigger, and now there’s news that the FBI raided ASM Sports Agency in New York. NBA super-agent Andy Miller’s computer was confiscated in the raid.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, according to Matt, who has heard rumors of an Andy Miller-UofL connection for years:

Miller represents several professional basketball players, including Louisville’s Peyton Siva. Jodie Meeks and Marquis Teague are the only Kentucky players on his client list; Nerlens Noel dropped him back in December.

Miller and ASM once employed Christian Dawkins, one of the ten people charged with fraud and corruption this morning in the FBI’s investigation into bribery in college basketball.

This is only going to get crazier.


WDRB’s Jason Riley hearing big news to come Wednesday morning

There is apparently some MAJOR news coming from the University of Louisville and it’s only a matter of when said news will break.

WDRB’s Jason Riley, who has been the man to follow for all things Louisville scandal, just tweeted that he is hearing it will be tomorrow morning before we find out.

Others, including Joe Sonka of InsiderLouisville.com, think it could be as soon as tonight.

You can probably guess what that news will be, whenever it comes.


Courier-Journal says fire Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich now

The Courier-Journal has jumped on board with everyone else in America in saying it is time for Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich to get canned.

Joe Gerth, a columnist for the Louisville newspaper, wrote, “Fire them all. They deserve it. They deserved it a long time ago.”

Gerth called for the firing of anyone ranked higher than reception in the athletics department’s central office.

Read his entire piece here. It’s good, especially this part:


Even Pat Forde is calling for the death penalty

How bad is it for Louisville?

So bad, that even Pat Forde is calling for the death penalty. And for Pat Forde to turn on Rick Pitino and UofL, you know things have gotten way out of hand.

From Forde’s new column, “Louisville basketball should be given death sentence if bombshell NCAA allegations prove true”:

The program should be shut down, if the bombshell allegations announcement of allegations Tuesday prove to be true. If that doesn’t happen, the NCAA is useless.

Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino should be gone, a gilded career ending in disgrace. It seems highly plausible that he will take athletic director Tom Jurich with him, a man who lifted an entire department, and now oversees its ruination.

They were heroes here, for many years. And now they have been party to multiple scandals and a stain so deep on the basketball program that it may never fully go away. SMU football knows the feeling.

Louisville Doesn’t Exist was once a popular t-shirt; now it may soon become reality.


Bob Ley drops casual Rick Pitino joke on ESPN

Bob Ley drops casual Rick Pitino joke on ESPN

This was probably unintentional, but I’m going to believe Bob Ley knew exactly what he was doing here.

 


Death penalty coming for the Cards?

Death penalty coming for the Cards?

With an FBI investigation into bribery while on NCAA probation for providing for prostitutes, I don’t see why not.