(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — One of the biggest names in college sports is among the first to be punished in the wake of the federal investigation into fraud and corruption in NCAA recruiting.
The University of Louisville has placed head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on unpaid administrative leave, the school announced Wednesday. The university hopes to name interims to those roles within 48 hours.
J. David Grissom, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said the board was unanimous in supporting the moves.
A final decision on Pitino and Jurich’s job status will be made by October 18th by the board. “Doing nothing would be a tacit admission of criminal behavior,” interim school president Greg Postel said Wednesday.
Pitino’s attorney Steve Pence told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the coach has been “effectively fired.” Pitino’s contract requires ten days notice before any firing can be made official.
Postel confirmed that Louisville was a part of the investigation on Tuesday, after the FBI announced an Adidas executive and at least four college assistant coaches were involved in a series of bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors and agents.
In Pitino’s 16 years at Louisville, the coach has been implicated in a number of scandals. He testified in an extortion trial involving a woman named Karen Sypher in 2010. Sypher went to prison for trying to get money and gifts in exchange for her silence following an affair with Pitino in 2003.
The NCAA is investigating accusations that former Louisville assistant coach Andre McGee arranged escorts for players and recruits under Pitino’s watch. That investigation could force the school to vacate its 2013 national championship and would have seen Pitino suspended for the first five conference games of this season.
On Tuesday, Pitino said that the accusations “come as a complete shock to me.”
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