LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was a unanimous decision by the University of Louisville’s Athletic Association to fire the men’s basketball team’s former head coach, Rick Pitino.
He said in an affidavit signed on Sunday that "I will fight tirelessly to defend my reputation.”
“The right thing is to make the determination that the coach not only did not know but could not have known of this scheme that was going on and the right thing to do is bring the coach back,” said his attorney, Steve Pence, before the decision was final.
Pence said Pitino knew nothing of a recruit's family receiving money from Adidas so the basketball player would join U of L. He showed the board results of a polygraph test that gave Pitino a passing grade. The documents show Pitino was asked ‘Did you participate in paying Bowen's family?' to which he answered ‘no.’
There were also text messages between Pitino and two men charged during the FBI's investigation. Adidas's James Gatto and former AAU team director Christian Dawkins, where both who were arrested for NCAA recruiting corruption.
The text messages talk about recruiting Brian Bowen, the alleged recruit at the center of the investigation. Pence said the texts were evidence that Pitino knew nothing about payments to Bowen or his family.
‘The coach did not engage in any of this activity he didn't know about the activity,” he reiterated.
Pitino's name has never shied away from the headlines during his time at UofL. the University's acting president, Greg Postel suggested the FBI investigation was the final straw.
“There were a number of issues that over time were brought to our attention and we simply felt as this was in the best interest of the University,” he said.
in 2009, Karen Sypher blackmails the head coach after the two had sex at a restaurant in 2003.
Then in 2015, there was the stripper scandal at Billy Minardi Hall, now awaiting a final ruling from the NCAA, that alleges women were paid to have sex with recruits on visits to campus. Pitino denied any knowledge of that, as well.
Postel saying the scandals were taking a toll.
“This is all about the student-athletes quality entertainment and quality sports forward and trying to get this university into a stable and good spot,” Postel said.
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