LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS) -- A day after the University of Louisville placed Athletic Director Tom Jurich and Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino on administrative leave as a result of a federal investigation into the school's recruiting practices, Louisville fans are still stunned at the week's developments, which have sent shockwaves through the college basketball world.
But while many have questions and speculations about the future of the program, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is trying to rally support around the university.
"There are tens of thousands of great students, faculty, staff, alumni, and we just want to send a message from the city that we support you guys," he said.
In a tweet sent Thursday morning, Fischer declared Friday "Wear Red Day" in Louisville as a way to show support for the school and students, also writing, "I invite the public to join metro government employees to show your red and throw up the Ls on the plaza at the Ali Center."
"You know, we've got to unfortunately face kind of this brutal reality, but then pick ourselves up and move on," he said. "We're the home of Muhammad Ali. That's what the Champ always did as well. So we've got a great city, a great university with a lot of momentum. We'll be fine."
Other Louisville fans said they will continue going to games to support the players, whom they believe are the ones who are suffering the most as a result of the scandal.
WHAS11's Terry Meiners tweeted the following on Friday with Coach Pitino's permission:
NEW: Rick Pitino allowed me to share this text. pic.twitter.com/Eubgy2oyXR— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) September 29, 2017
In the tweet, Pitino said this weekend will be sad because the basketball team was set to start practicing. He also said he misses his players.
Auburn, one of the schools being investigated by the FBI, is offering full refunds to basketball season ticket holders who request them. Louisville said it will deal with season ticket holders on an individual basis if they have any questions or concerns, and said it plans on fielding a competitive team on the hardwood this year.
"I don't see why that would not be the case," Interim President Dr. Greg Postel said. "We have an excellent group of players and they're the ones that play the game. So I don't know why we wouldn't have a basketball team."
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