Louisville Cardinals vacate 2013 NCAA basketball title over sex scandal
|Toronto Star 20 Feb 2018 at 15:48|
LOUISVILLE, KY.‚ÄĒLouisville must vacate its 2013 men‚Äôs basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel‚Äôs decision to uphold sanctions against the men‚Äôs 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 body‚Äôs Infraction Appeals Committee ruled that the NCAA has the authority to take away championships for what it considers major rule violations. It also refuted Louisville‚Äôs position that the NCAA exceeded its boundaries and didn‚Äôt follow its own precedent established in other cases and said in an eight-page decision that ended, ‚Äúthe penalties are upheld.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,‚ÄĚ Louisville interim President Dr. Greg Postel said in a statement. ‚ÄúWe disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case ‚ÄĒ based on NCAA precedent ‚ÄĒ that supported our argument.‚ÄĚ
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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 body‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúFrom 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,‚ÄĚ Postel said in the statement. ‚ÄúThat 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.
‚ÄúUnder the NCAA‚Äôs own rules, this co-operation should have been a factor in the severity of the punishment. Instead, it was ignored.‚ÄĚ
The school‚Äôs 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 Louisville‚Äôs actions, it went further with harsher sanctions last June that included:
‚ÄúThis 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,‚ÄĚ Postel said. ‚ÄúWhile we disagree with the NCAA‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ
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 Powell‚Äôs 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 school‚Äôs involvement in the FBI probe that initially involved the arrests of 10 people.