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Louisville basketball program forced to vacate 2013 title

The Louisville men’s basketball team has been stripped of its 2013 national championship title as well as its 2012 Final Four appearance after the NCAA denied the school’s appeal on Tuesday.

The penalties, which were originally announced in June, stemmed from an investigation into allegations that a former Louisville staff member provided strippers to entertain players and recruits during on-campus dormitory parties between 2011 and 2015.

Louisville is the first Division I men’s basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, according to ESPN.   

The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return some $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments. 

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino reacts with his team after Louisville defeated Michigan in the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game in 2013. Louisville must vacate that title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program for violations committed in a sex scandal

Now-former University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino (left) and Athletic Director Tom Jurich were in charge when the scandal first erupted in 2015. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return millions in postseason revenue. The decision announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, by the governing body's Infraction Appeals Committee ruled that the NCAA has the authority to take away championships for what it considers major rule violations

Now-former University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino (left) and Athletic Director Tom Jurich were in charge when the scandal first erupted in 2015. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return millions in postseason revenue. The decision announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, by the governing body’s Infraction Appeals Committee ruled that the NCAA has the authority to take away championships for what it considers major rule violations

The decision announced on Tuesday by the governing body’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 Louisville’s position that the NCAA exceeded its boundaries and didn’t follow its own precedent established in other cases and said in an eight-page decision that ended, “the penalties are upheld.” 

University interim president Greg Postel said the the school still disagrees with the NCAA’s ruling. 

‘From 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,’ the statement read. ‘That is why we apologized immediately, cooperated fully with the NCAA, self-imposed penalties that were appropriate to the offenses and made significant changes to ensure incidents like this never happen again.

Despite the school's self-imposed sanctions, the NCAA still decided to suspend Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino for the first five conference games of the 2017-18 campaign. However, before the season began, the Hall of Famer was fired for cause in connection to another scandal – this one involving the alleged payments to recruits in exchange for their commitment to particular schools. Pitino was never charged or arrested in connection to the case.

Despite the school’s self-imposed sanctions, the NCAA still decided to suspend Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino for the first five conference games of the 2017-18 campaign. However, before the season began, the Hall of Famer was fired for cause in connection to another scandal – this one involving the alleged payments to recruits in exchange for their commitment to particular schools. Pitino was never charged or arrested in connection to the case.

Self-described escort named Katrina Powell gave detailed accounts of striptease dances and acts of prostitution that she and McGee had arranged for Louisville players and recruits

Powell's book documented several interactions with the Louisville program

According to the 2015 book ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules’ (right), former Louisville player and then-director of basketball operations Andre McGee arranged and paid for strippers and prostitutes to dance and perform sex acts for 17 recruits and Cardinals players between 2010 and 2014. In the book, a self-described escort named Katrina Powell (left) gave detailed accounts of striptease dances and acts of prostitution that she and McGee had arranged

Peyton Siva (No. 3) of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates with program assistant Andre McGee (left) after a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores 62-60 in the game at KFC YUM! Center in Louisville on December 2, 2011. McGee allegedly arranged and paid for strippers and prostitutes to dance and perform sex acts Cardinals players and recruits

Peyton Siva (No. 3) of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates with program assistant Andre McGee (left) after a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores 62-60 in the game at KFC YUM! Center in Louisville on December 2, 2011. McGee allegedly arranged and paid for strippers and prostitutes to dance and perform sex acts Cardinals players and recruits

The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return some $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments

The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the championship, and return some $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments

‘Under the NCAA’s own rules, this cooperation should have been a factor in the severity of the punishment,’ Postel continued. ‘Instead, it was ignored.’

According to the 2015 book ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules,’ former Louisville player and then-director of basketball operations Andre McGee arranged and paid for strippers and prostitutes to dance and perform sex acts for 17 recruits and Cardinals players between 2010 and 2014. In the book, a self-described escort named Katrina Powell gave detailed accounts of striptease dances and acts of prostitution that she and McGee had arranged.

As a result of the NCAA investigation into to the matter, the university previously banned itself from the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a statement that 'the university has admitted that the actions of the former operations director and any others involved under previous leadership were offensive and inexcusable.' However, he still disagreed with the NCAA's decision on Tuesday 

Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a statement that ‘the university has admitted that the actions of the former operations director and any others involved under previous leadership were offensive and inexcusable.’ However, he still disagreed with the NCAA’s decision on Tuesday 

Despite the school’s self-imposed sanctions, the NCAA still decided to suspend Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino for the first five conference games of the 2017-18 campaign. However, before the season began, the Hall of Famer was fired for cause in connection to another scandal – this one involving the alleged payments to recruits in exchange for their commitment to particular schools.

The NCAA also docked Louisville four scholarships over a four-year period.  

Pitino was never charged or arrested in connection to the case, which has been investigated by the FBI and Department of Justice, but he allegedly had knowledge and directed payments to potential recruits, according to an indictment that unsealed on November 8.

‘I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,’ Postel said. ‘We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case — based on NCAA precedent — that supported our argument.’

The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee released its decision on Tuesday, detailing some of the governing body’s reasoning in the matter. 

‘The COI has not previously dealt with a case like this,’ read Decision No. 473. ‘A team staff member arranged striptease dances and acts of prostitution for enrolled student-athletes and prospects who eventually enrolled at the institution. Some of the prospects were minors. By his actions, the former operations director rendered those student-athletes and prospects ineligible for competition. The violations were serious, intentional, numerous and occurred over multiple years.

‘… [T]he institution shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed from the time they became ineligible through the time they were reinstated as eligible for competition through either the student-athlete reinstatement process or through a grant of limited immunity.’

Rick Pitino was fired 'for cause' back in October, but has since sued the University of Louisville for wrongful termination. He was also countersued by the school 

Rick Pitino was fired ‘for cause’ back in October, but has since sued the University of Louisville for wrongful termination. He was also countersued by the school 



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