NCAA suspends Louisville’s Rick Pitino

Published 6:47 pm Friday, June 16, 2017

The NCAA has suspended Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino for five Atlantic Coast Conference games following its sex scandal investigation.

The governing body also handed down other penalties Thursday, including placing the basketball program on four years’ probation, vacating wins in which ineligible players participated and issuing a 10-year show-cause order for former basketball operations director Andre McGee.

Former escort Katina Powell alleged that McGee had hired her and other escorts to strip and have sex with Louisville recruits and players.

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The NCAA, which described the activities as “repugnant,” has not vacated the Cardinals’ 2013 national championship. The NCAA says the school must determine which games ineligible players participated in. Players deemed ineligible would be those involved in the sex parties, which are considered impermissible benefits.

Louisville interim President Greg Postel issued a statement saying the school believes the additional “severe” penalties are excessive and plans to appeal. The university, which has self-imposed several sanctions, has 45 days to respond.

“The entire UofL community is saddened by what took place. It never should have happened, and that is why the school acted to severely penalize itself in 2016,” Postel said. “Today, however, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions went beyond what we consider to be fair and reasonable.

“We intend to appeal all aspects of the penalties.”

Pitino, who has repeatedly denied any knowledge of McGee’s actions, also fired back at the NCAA after reviewing the report.

“Not only was this unjust and over the top in its severity,” the coach said at a news conference, “but I’ve lost a lot of faith in the NCAA.

“We are devastated by the news, all of us are,” Pitino added. “But moving forward we believe we will win the appeal because it’s right and it’s just, and what went on was unjust and inconceivable.”

The long-awaited NCAA announcement reiterated its original view that Pitino should have known about McGee’s activities with Powell, who alleged in a 2015 book that staff McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows at the Cardinals’ dormitory from 2010-14, a period that includes their NCAA title run.