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'I'm glad it's over': Cards fans breathe sigh of relief after IARP decision

"I felt like eventually UofL would be vindicated and, hallelujah, it happened today."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Cards fans were excited and relieved at Thursday night's game after the University of Louisville's men's basketball program avoided possible serious penalties from the NCAA.

The Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) placed UofL's men's basketball program on two years of probation and fined the program $5,000. It also restricted Louisville's recruiting visits for this academic year and issued a public reprimand. 

The IARP, created to examine complex cases, announced the decision Thursday.

"I'm glad it's over," lifelong fan Latonya Cornett said. "I felt like eventually UofL would be vindicated and, hallelujah, it happened today."

The IARP also declined to penalize former Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, whom the NCAA initially cited for failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. Chris Mack, Pitino's successor who was fired in January, also was not penalized for additional allegations announced last year by the NCAA.

Former Cardinals assistant coaches Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson received two-year show-cause orders for Level I violations. The IARP concluded that Fair “was knowingly involved” in arranging a cash payment in exchange for a player enrolling at Louisville.

Many fans said it hurt the team's recruiting efforts and morale. Now, they're looking toward the future.

"We as a community need this, and I'm looking forward to see what Coach Kenny Payne can do with this team," Fred Bishop, longtime fan, said.

Fans are also hopeful the 2013 championship banner will be returned.

"It's going to be rough for a little while but don't give up on the team, just come out and support the Cards," Keith Love, another longtime fan, said. 

The IARP decision cannot be appealed. 

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