Louisville Cardinals vacate 2013 NCAA basketball title over sex scandal
|Toronto Star 20 Feb 2018 at 15:48|
LOUISVILLE, KY.â€”Louisville must vacate its 2013 menâ€™s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panelâ€™s decision to uphold sanctions against the menâ€™s program in the sex scandal case.
The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return some $600,000 (U.S.) in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments.
The decision announced on Tuesday by the governing bodyâ€™s Infraction Appeals Committee ruled that the NCAA has the authority to take away championships for what it considers major rule violations. It also refuted Louisvilleâ€™s position that the NCAA exceeded its boundaries and didnâ€™t follow its own precedent established in other cases and said in an eight-page decision that ended, â€śthe penalties are upheld.â€ť
â€śI cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,â€ť Louisville interim President Dr. Greg Postel said in a statement. â€śWe disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case â€” based on NCAA precedent â€” that supported our argument.â€ť
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Louisville now must forfeit its third NCAA title, victories and income from 2012-15, part of the time frame during which the violations occurred. The decision culminates the governing bodyâ€™s investigation that followed allegations in a 2015 book by escort Katina Powell that former Cardinals basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits.
â€śFrom Day One, the university has admitted that the actions of the former operations director and any others involved under previous leadership were offensive and inexcusable,â€ť Postel said in the statement. â€śThat is why we apologized immediately, co-operated fully with the NCAA, self-imposed penalties that were appropriate to the offences and made significant changes to ensure incidents like this never happen again.
â€śUnder the NCAAâ€™s own rules, this co-operation should have been a factor in the severity of the punishment. Instead, it was ignored.â€ť
The schoolâ€™s own investigation into the allegation revealed that violations occurred and resulted in a self-imposed post-season ban nearly two years ago. Louisville later imposed scholarship and recruiting restrictions in an effort to mitigate further NCAA discipline.
While the NCAA accepted Louisvilleâ€™s actions, it went further with harsher sanctions last June that included:
â€śThis dark cloud has hung over our heads for more than two years, and it has had a negative impact on our athletics program, our fans and the entire university family,â€ť Postel said. â€śWhile we disagree with the NCAAâ€™s decision, it is time for the university to close this chapter and move forward with a stronger commitment to excellence on and off the court.â€ť
Postel, then-athletic director Tom Jurich and Pitino said last summer they planned to fight the sanctions. Pitino, who repeatedly denied knowing about the activities described in Powellâ€™s book, was particularly frustrated with his penalties.
A lot changed at Louisville in the months following the NCAA penalties. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave and Jurich on paid administrative leave on Sept. 27 following the schoolâ€™s involvement in the FBI probe that initially involved the arrests of 10 people.