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The UofL basketball program is a disgrace to their fans, the city of Louisville, and the state.

If the previous scandals didn’t ruin you as a Louisville fan, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Earlier today, the University of Louisville “effectively fired” both Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich, ending arguably the most historic era in school history.

Following an affair, an on-campus prostitution/stripper scandal, and a bribery investigation involving the FBI, there was no other option. A death penalty is entirely possible, with years of tournament bans, vacated wins, and massive scholarship reductions almost guaranteed. Cleaning house was the only way to truly give the program a fresh start following this mess.

Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I actually feel sorry for UofL fans.

Like most UofL and UK fans, I live for this rivalry. When the Katina Powell news broke, I was giddy. It was an infinite supply of ammunition for the Big Blue Nation’s utter hatred for all things red. When news trickled out throughout the day yesterday and into this morning, I was like a kid running down the stairs on Christmas morning. It’s a KSR writer’s dream.

But when I talked to a few fans following the breaking news, I understood some of their pain. It wasn’t just the beginning of a punishment that will likely cripple the program for many years to come, it was the end of a true fandom for many.

“The year we won the championship, that was the first time I connected with my dad through college basketball,” said one diehard Cardinal fan. “That’s a memory I’ll cherish forever. But it’s so hard to continue to try to defend Louisville when this stuff keeps happening. I love the city of Louisville and I love our athletic department, but being a real fan sucks right now. It’s honestly depressing.”

For some fans, the pain they have for the innocent players in the program feeling the brunt of this punishment is the worst aspect of this entire situation.

“My heart breaks for the honest and innocent college players at UofL to play a sport they love. Guys like Quentin Snider, Anas Mahmoud, Ray Spalding, etc., who have absolutely nothing to do with this, are going to get punished for the acts of a few selfish coaches and teammates. We already saw it with Trey Lewis and Damion Lee following the Katina Powell scandal. Those are the people I feel awful for.”

I grew up in Louisville, playing in the youth basketball circles with Louisville senior guard Quentin Snider. From the time he was eight years old, Snider had the dream of suiting up in a UofL uniform in the future and winning a national championship, and he let everyone know it. It was inspiring. Because of the work of several disgusting members of the administration and on the coaching staff, however, any chance of Snider reaching his dream as a senior is destroyed. Even as a Kentucky fan, seeing that transpire is truly heartbreaking.

For most Louisville fans, this is a time of shame in a “pot-meet-kettle” moment. When Calipari was hired at Kentucky, the entire Cardinal fanbase believed future NCAA sanctions were inevitable. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports wrote that the program “sold their souls” by bringing on John “PayPal Cal” Calipari as head coach. There is no way a coach with a history of vacated Final Fours at two different schools could ever survive at the University of Kentucky.

Eight years and three significant scandals later, the Cardinals are seen as the embarrassment of college basketball, while Kentucky has gone unscathed.

“Funny though because Louisville always tried to differentiate itself from Kentucky by calling Calipari a slimy car salesman, insinuating that UK was the more dishonest program,” another Cardinal diehard said. “If we want to play the integrity card, we have to put our money where our mouths are.”

One Louisville fan doesn’t even understand the thought process behind the program’s cheating, especially considering it hasn’t resulted in massive success.

“Here’s the sad part to me. Louisville is like B/B+ at sports in my mind,” he said. “How can a school with so many scandals not just destroy and pillage all other schools when it comes to sports? Like the Russian Olympic teams of the 80’s where the records are still unbroken, we should be dominating for how often we are in the news with this nonsense.”

When news leaked of the Louisville program being included in the FBI investigations, another fan said he hopes those involved on the coaching staff are punished to the fullest extent.

“Good on the FBI, punish to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “This is a blatant disregard of the law and disrespectful to the city and fans.”

And he’s right. Above all else, this situation is utterly disrespectful. The NCAA forced the school to vacate 108 regular-season and 15 NCAA Tournament games, including the 2013 National Championship. A month and a half later, a Louisville assistant coach was recorded on camera telling a recruit he had to be “low-key” about how he’d give him cash under the table because his school was on probation. Another player was paid $100,000 to attend the school, and is still officially listed on the roster.

Now, the NCAA is forced to go back to the drawing board on where to even start on not only concluding their original punishment process for the strippers, but beginning arguably the biggest scandal in the history of the sport. No remorse, no guilt, just an arrogant attempt at skating by yet again.

It’s a blatant slap in the face to the fans that spend their hard-earned money to attend games and dedicate their time and effort on a program that doesn’t respect them back.

As much as it absolutely pains me to say it, the Louisville fanbase deserves better than this.

The UofL athletic department is a disgrace to their fans, the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky. Getting rid of Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich was just the beginning of this incredible mess they got themselves into.

But it was at least a fresh start.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

11 Comments for The UofL basketball program is a disgrace to their fans, the city of Louisville, and the state.

  1. thatukfanbourne
    8:42 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    Not a UL fan at all, but this is one of the greatest articles I’ve ever read and completely feel the same way

  2. UKLugo
    8:50 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    University 6 will still have a very good team without Bowen. As long as they can find a coach that can keep the eligible players together and sell them on one last run before sanctions decimate their program, they’ll be able can compete in the ACC and on a national level this season. I don’t think Snider’s dream is necessarily dead. Honestly, as long as their not playing UK, I feel like I can root for University 6 now that Pitino is out. Unlike some U6 teams in the past, I actually like these guys and I hope they can beat the crap out of Duke. If not UK, I’m okay with U6 this season. It would make a great story.

  3. callitlikeiseeit
    9:09 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    I wanted to make a sincere statement to U-6 fans as well…sorry I can’t do it…
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Should have demanded he be gone after all the other stuff he dragged U-6 through. No big deal to him as he will live out the rest of his life with millions of dollars wherever he wants to spend it with all the nicer things in life. But U-6 and the honest kids that are currently playing there will suffer for years while he enjoys a paradise island buying whatever he wants. Seems right huh.

  4. thelexcat
    9:26 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t think the NCAA will ever hand out another death penalty.
    University 6, for 20 years, employed an athletic director that blatantly acted as the puppeteer to the university, the city of Louisville, the media, and the state of Kentucky to his benefit. The morals of that program have been sewage for many, many years.
    They got their arena.
    They got their campus facilities
    They got their coaches
    They got their recruits
    They got their family and friends good paying jobs
    They got their cushy contracts in place
    And most importantly, they got their marionette media members and politicians in place to make sure all that happened and they were protected.

    The punishment should be severe. Corruption was happening right in front of their eyes and they let it happen. We’re all going to pay for it because Jurich and his buddies made their deals to screw us over. U6 is going to have to pay it back.

    L’s down, Middle fingers up, to you University 6!

  5. jaws2
    9:44 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    I have no sympathy or empathy for the fans. The unbelievable arrogance, self righteous, and most delusional fans I’ve been around in 45 years. Oh, and I lived in NC for 9 years! The entire university leadership is a cesspool of immorality and pathetic ethics. The fan base knew from the time Petrino was hired and rehired and until now, that the athletic department stunk. They played right along with it and relished their success at ANY cost.
    All the while spewing the ‘corrupt arena’ and Cal’s a cheater vitriol. These people are reaping exactly what they sowed by following blindly along. I hope the death penalty comes quick and costs them endless years of grief.

    • Joezbgky
      10:46 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

      Not all fans loved Pitino and blindly endorsed his antics. Many screamed for his termination years ago. I never celebrated his success. He killed Louiville for me long before today. I am saddened beyond words, heartbroken and disillusioned. Louisville will get what it deserves, probably the death penalty. I see no reason to celebrate.

    • kykatphish7525
      11:10 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

      There you go KSR… that’s the decent and honest article I was looking for… after all… Louisville is a part of KY… thank you

  6. Joezbgky
    10:41 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    In 1963, as an 8 yo, I fell in love with Louisville Basketball. I snuck my transistor radio to bed and dreamed of Butch Beard & Wes Unseld. Denny Crum showed up and my dreams grew. I traveled to Albuquerque in 1983 and saw the greatest basketball game I had ever witnessed, even though we lost. I attended every Final Four in the 80s, finally watching Pervis Ellison cut down the nets in Reunion Arena in Dallas! I was proud, I was happy; I loved my Cardinals. Then Pitino shows up. I loved Denny, was saddened, but decided to tolerate Pitino & hope for the best. Then Rick is blackmailed for having sex on a prep table in his restaurant, dispatching his mistress to an abortion clinic. I wanted him fired. I penned 2 dozen letters begging the University President to fire him; protect our integrity, our legacy. My letters went unanswered. Next the hookers are released in the dorm. Pitino screams innocence! He never knew. It was a sacrilege, staining his beloved Brother in Law’s namesake housing. I listened to Pitino, to Jurich, to the U of L President; no remorse, no regret. Defiance, arrogance. My heart broken, I stopped loving Louisville. I stopped watching games, my soul was crushed. Now this. Pitino is, or at least his ego, is a “MONSTER”. The “Monster”, unchecked, unabated, devoured the program, the players, the fans. The reputation of my beloved Cardinals was destroyed. Now becoming an “asterisk”, like SMU. No apology, no “new” coach, plan or leadership can restore our place in history. It is gone…forever. The “Monster” swallowed it and spit it out. “Say it ain’t so Rick, say it ain’t so…please.”

  7. BluKudzu
    7:18 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Pitino existed because the real sleaze ball allowed him to stay. As much hate and vitriol spewed towards Rick Pitino, much more needs to be directed at Jurich. He kept Rick in place, and he is the one that took down Louisville. Rick was there due to Jurich. Neither individual will ever be thought of fondly from this point forward, but the fans of the University and the City of Louisville, need to blame their misfortune on Jurich as much, if not more than Pitino. They robbed this state, of much more, than a college basketball program.

    • Joezbgky
      7:29 pm September 28, 2017 Permalink

      I agree totally about Jurich. Honestly, I knew little about him, he appeared to be a “background” player. I heard the National Sports Media laud him as bright, innovative and brilliant. I took for granted he was honest, dedicated & hard-working. I questioned the Pitino affair results, but assumed the President & Jurich knew more than the press reported. I was disappointed Rick was not fired then, but, assumed Pitino would clean up his act & come back more determined to do the right thing. After the escort scandal, listening to Pitino scream innocence with no hint of culpability, I was angered and sickened. I gave up on Louis Ville totally after that. I would like to say I was shocked by the FBI findings but honestly I wasn’t. Pitino & Jurich’s arrogance is only exceeded by their patent dishonesty. Louisville should get the death penalty. It hurts me deeply to say that but I don’t know if anyone in leadership can be trusted moving forward. The players should be allowed to transfer without encumberance. For the interim President to discuss hiring a new coach is shocking to me on so many levels. I would shut the program down for 2 years voluntarily. Not doing so indicates arrogance again, something we can ill afford if we desire any measure of credibility. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. I hope that the FBI can successfully prosecute all actors into prison time…no fines…no slaps on the wrist. Is there ANY integrity left at Louisville leadership? Apparently not.