File this as another example of NCAA programs punishing those who aren’t part of the problem.
Today it was announced the Louisville Cardinal’s men’s basketball program banned itself from the postseason in 2016. They held a press conference to confirm the brutal decision.
“Based upon the available information gathered by the NCAA enforcement staff and the University of Louisville, I’ve determined it was reasonable to conclude that violations had occurred in the men’s basketball program in the past,” school president James R. Ramsey said.
The program is under an NCAA investigation after being outed by a self-described madame who wrote a book last fall detailing numerous alleged incidents with paid dancers and escorts who got “close” with former Louisville basketball players and recruits from 2010-2014.
After speaking with the school’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, the decision was made, even though the NCAA hasn’t publically disclosed any findings from their investigation. But, without giving details, Ramsey said violations uncovered and/or confirmed by the NCAA were harsh enough that they had to take action now, a month before March Madness.
“We found out yesterday that we had a problem,” Jurich said. “If was verified by (Louisville compliance director) Chuck (Smrt) and the NCAA. So we want to deal with this in the most rapid way we possibly can.”
Coach Rick Pitino said the news came as “a complete shock” and that the team is in a lot of pain now. “This is a punishment I thought would never happen this season,” Pitino said. “This is a decision that’s as harsh as anything I’ve seen. But I’m a soldier in this army and I will go along with Dr. Ramsey, and certainly there’s no one in life I have more respect for than Tom Jurich. So we will go along with this and we will play the last nine games of the season as if they’re the last nine games we’ll ever play the game.”
Most are discussing how painful this decision is for fifth-year grad transfer Damion Lee and Trey Lewis.
“They were hit over the head with a sledgehammer, and they’re devastated, as well as the rest of the team for actions they weren’t involved with,” Pitino said.
The head coach said the team hugged and cried with the two players after he broke the news to the team Friday afternoon.
After defeating the No.2 Tar Heels earlier this week, the Cardinals stand at 18-4 and ranked 19th in the latest AP poll. But now that victory, their current standing and future wins all seem worthless as they won’t be able to enter the postseason.
Like we’ve seen so many times before in college athletics, this is another example of the past unfairly affecting the present.