NCAA infraction report: Pitino suspended and records vacated

Pitino, Jurich respond to NCAA infractions ruling

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions released their public report on the infractions panel's decision regarding the University of Louisville sex scandal written about in Katina Powell’s book called “Breaking Cardinal Rules.”

The following measures have been prescribed in response to the infractions:

-Public reprimand and censure for the university.

-Four years of probation from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2021.

-Coach Pitino will be suspended for the first five ACC games of the 2017-2018 season. During this time, Pitino may not be present in the arena where games are played and have no contact with the student-athletes or members of his coaching staff. Pitino also may not participate in any activities including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study and team meetings.

-Andre McGee will have a 10-year show-cause period from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2027. During that time, any NCAA member school employing McGee must restrict him from holding any athletically related duties and from having any contact with prospects and their families.

-Former program assistant Brandon Williams will have a one-year show-cause order from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2018. During that time, any NCAA member school employing him can schedule an appearance before an NCAA panel to determine whether he should be subject to show-cause provisions.

-Basketball records in which players competed while ineligible from December 2010 to July 2014 will be vacated. The university will provide a written report containing the games impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.

- A loss of four scholarships for the men’s basketball team over the probation period.

-The university may have no more than 16 official visits during the 2017-2018 season (self-imposed).

-During probation period, men’s basketball prospects on unofficial visits may not stay overnight in any campus dorms or school-owned property.

-A self-imposed $5,000 fine. The university must also return to the NCAA the money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. Future revenue distributions that are scheduled to be provided to the university from those tournaments must also be withheld by the conference and forfeited to the NCAA.

Read the full report below or click here:

"A former Louisville director of basketball operations acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules when he did not monitor the activities of his former operations director.

Penalties prescribed by the panel include four years of probation for the university; a suspension from the first five Atlantic Coast Conference games of the 2017-18 season for the head coach; a 10-year show-cause order for the former operations director; a one-year show-cause order for a former program assistant; a vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014; men’s basketball scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions; a fine of $5,000, plus the university must return money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012 to 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. The panel also accepted the university’s self-imposed 2015-16 postseason ban.

The former operations director was integral to on-campus recruiting and regularly interacted with visiting prospects. The head coach hired him and placed him in Minardi Hall, a dorm where the basketball team lived, to make sure it was run properly and watch for any potential NCAA violations. By his own admission, the head coach and his assistants did not interact with prospects from 10 p.m. until the next morning.  The panel noted that the head coach essentially placed a peer of the student-athletes in a position of authority over them and visiting prospects, and assumed that all would behave appropriately in an environment that was, for all practical purposes, a basketball dorm.

This arrangement played a role in creating a location where the former operations director’s activities went undetected. The operations director arranged adult entertainment and/or sex acts for 15 prospects, three enrolled student-athletes, a friend visiting with one of the prospects and two nonscholastic coaches. At least seven, and perhaps as many as 10, of the 15 prospects were under the age of 18 at the time. None of the prospects visiting campus knew that the activities would occur and none of them expected the activities to occur on their visits. Some of them expressed surprise and discomfort at what transpired. The panel noted it has not previously encountered a case like this, and that the violations were severe and were intended to provide a substantial recruiting advantage for the university.

“Without dispute, NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts for prospects, enrolled student-athletes and/or those who accompany them to campus,” said the panel in its decision.
The head coach failed to monitor the former operations director when he created the residential environment in which the violations occurred and trusted the former operations director tofollowtherules, and delegated monitoring of the former operations director to his assistant coaches without appropriate oversight. The head coach noted his assistant coaches were responsible for monitoring the former operations director. When asked during the investigation, the assistant coaches were unaware of this responsibility. The panel noted that a head coach does not meet his monitoring responsibility by simply trusting an individual to know NCAA rules and to do the right thing.
The former operations director violated multiple NCAA rules when he arranged the activities, including the violation of ethical conduct rules. The panel noted those rules require all staff members to act with honor and dignity, but he instead created an environment that has no place on a college campus.

“NCAA members agree that schools must provide a safe, healthy and positive environment for their student-athletes, not only academically, but in all facets of their lives,” said the panel. “The former operations director, the individual entrusted to keep order at Minardi Hall, created an environment that has no place on a college campus and was directly at odds with college athletics and higher education.”

The former operations director also violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he did not cooperate and refused to consent to interviews or provide requested records to the NCAA enforcement staff during the investigation.
A former program assistant also failed to fully cooperate in the investigation when he refused to provide requested phone records to the enforcement staff. The records in question were relevant to the investigation and could have helped determine if the former assistant was involved in an incident after the former operations director took a new job at a different school.

Because the violations occurred both before and after the new infractions process, the panel compared the previous penalty structure to the current structure to determine which is more lenient, as outlined in the rule change. After reviewing, the panel determined the previous structure was more lenient and prescribed the following measures:

• Public reprimand and censure for the university.

• Four years of probation from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2021.

• A suspension from the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season for the head coach. During the suspension, the head coach may not be present in the arena where the games are played and have no contact with the student-athletes or members of his coaching staff. The head coach also may not participate in any activities including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study and team meetings.

• A 10-year show-cause period for the former operations director from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2027. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the former coach must restrict him from holding any athletically related duties and from having any contact with prospects and their families.

• A one-year show-cause order for the former program assistant from June 15, 2017, through June 14, 2018. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him can schedule an appearance before a panel of the COI to determine whether he should be subject to show-cause provisions.

• A vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014. The university will provide a written report containing the games impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.

• A reduction in men’s basketball scholarships by two during the 2016-17 year (self-imposed by the university). Additionally, the university must reduce men’s basketball scholarships by four over the probation period. The university may take the reductions during any year of that period.

• A prohibition of men’s basketball coaching travel during the April 2016 recruiting period, which resulted in a reduction of men’s basketball recruiting opportunities by 30 (self-imposed by the university).

• A reduction of recruiting travel during the July 2016 recruiting period by six days (self-imposed by the university).

• A reduction in the number of men’s basketball official visits to a total of 10 during the 2015-16 year. Additionally, the university will have no more than a total of 16 visits during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years (self-imposed by the university).

• During the probation period, men’s basketball prospects on unofficial visits may not stay overnight in any campus dorms or school-owned property.

• A disassociation of the former operations director (self-imposed by the university). The public decision describes the details of his disassociation.

• A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university). The university must also return to the NCAA the money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. Future revenue distributions that are scheduled to be provided to the university from those tournaments also must be withheld by the conference and forfeited to the NCAA.

• A postseason ban for the men’s basketball team for the 2015-16 season (self-imposed by the university).

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are William Bock III, attorney in private practice; Carol Cartwright, chief hearing officer for the panel and president emeritus at Kent State and Bowling Green; Greg Christopher, athletics director at Xavier; Thomas Hill, senior policy advisor to the president of Iowa State; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; and Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission."

Coach Rick Pitino's lawyer, Scott Tompsett released the following statement:

"The finding against Coach Pitino is one of the weakest I’ve ever seen against a head coach.

The original allegation was that Coach Pitino failed to monitor by not actively looking for and evaluating red flags. But throughout the entire investigation and the nearly twelve-hour hearing before the Committee on Infractions, not once did either the enforcement staff or the Committee ever identify a single red flag. And today’s decision does not mention the phrase “red flag” a single time.

Instead, the decision hinges on a vaguely-worded rationale about creating an environment in which the violations eventually occurred, alleged delegating of monitoring to assistant coaches and Coach Pitino’s failure to train Mr. McGee.

But the decision does not identify a single specific thing that Coach Pitino should have done, that he wasn’t already doing, that would have either prevented or detected the illicit activities. The secret and deliberately hidden illicit activities certainly did not occur because Coach Pitino did not properly train Mr. McGee.

Today’s decision breaks with established head coach control precedent and imposes a standard of strict liability.

Coach Pitino intends to exercise his right to appeal the finding and the penalty."

At a 12:30 p.m. news conference—where UofL Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rick Pitino, Interim President Greg Postel and Athletic Director Tom Jurich addressed the media—UofL officials said they believe the NCAA penalties are excessive.

Chuck Smrt, a former NCAA enforcement director who was hired by UofL during the NCAA investigation, said the severity of the penalty exceeded the severity of the case.

“At this time we believe it could impact 108 regular season games an approximately 15 NCAA wins,” Smrt said.

Pitino said he has had faith in the NCAA but after Thursday’s actions, he has lost faith. He is placing his faith in the appeals committee in hopes that the right thing will be done for the university and players.

Pitino did go on to say the recruiting class coming in this year is the best one in 16 years for UofL.

Jurich said he didn’t see this coming and his greatest disappointment is with the organization itself. He says they had been overly aggressive with self-penalties.

UofL plans to appeal the NCAA's rulings, which means there may not be a final decision until fall. UofL has a total of 15 days to write in that formal appeal. Once the NCAA responds to the appeal,  UofL can have a rebuttal before a final hearing. 

In March the NCAA released their response to UofL’s arguments on the Notice of Allegations concerning Andre McGee allegedly giving money to escorts to have sex with players and recruits at Billy Minardi Hall and other locations.

The NCAA says Coach Rick Pitino failed to demonstrate he created an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff. The NCAA says Pitino could have conducted frequent spot checks to find potential or existing compliance problems.

The NCCA response states:

“Pitino failed to demonstrate he actively looked for red flags, asked pointed questions or even occasionally solicited honest feedback from McGee about activities occurring under his supervision. These are basic elements of a head coach’s obligation to monitor.”

They say if he saw no problems with how McGee managed recruiting it was because he was not looking for them. According to the NCAA, he would ask how they would work with the team and not how they spent their time during their visit to the school.

A theme throughout the NCAA’s response was the amount of money provided by Andre McGee and the NCAA states it doesn’t matter how much money he provided for the alleged sex acts and adult entertainment, only that it was a severe NCAA violation.

Click here to read the NCAA's full response.

UofL statement regarding NCAA response from March:

"We continue to regret that NCAA legislation was violated by a former UofL employee. His behavior was shameful and wrong. This behavior is the reason we self-imposed severe penalties on ourselves. In this latest correspondence, the NCAA Enforcement Staff's Response reiterates its previous position and, in fact, makes clear that the allegation does not state that Coach Pitino should have detected or known about the violations. We have faith in the NCAA process and look forward to demonstrating at the hearing that Coach Pitino properly monitored his staff."

Related U of L Links

·   TIMELINE: Allegations made against UofL Men's Basketball

·   ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules' shoots to top of Amazon's sports best seller list

·   One person knows real story behind allegations, Pitino says

·   Fmr. UofL recruit confirms "gist" of escort allegations

·   Pitino says he won't resign during interview on UofL allegations

·   Fmr. Cards back Pitino and basketball team

·   Frmr. UofL basketball player, Luke Hancock, speaks out on escort allegations

·   Pitino addresses 'elephant in the room' during Tip-Off Luncheon

·   Student, blogger tackles writer's claim of 'dangerous environment' at UofL

·   UofL adds more sanctions to self-imposed ban

·   Who is Katina Powell?

·   EXCLUSIVE: What made Katina Powell come forward?

·   Powell says what happens to the University isn't her concern

 

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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