Louisville files counterclaim to Rick Pitino lawsuit

  • The University of Louisville filed a counterclaim to a ‘breach of contract’ lawsuit Pitino filed on November 30 seeking $38.7 million from the school
  • The two-time national champion coach was never charged or arrested in connection to the case, but he allegedly directed payments to potential recruits
  • The Hall of Fame coach was placed on unpaid administrative leave in September after an FBI investigation uncovered an alleged plot to bribe a recruit’s family
  • Pitino was fired ‘for cause’ on October 16 in a unanimous vote by the ULAA

The University of Louisville Athletic Association filed a counterclaim against Rick Pitno on Wednesday in response to the $38.7 million ‘breach of contract’ lawsuit the fired basketball coach filed against the school on November 30. 

The U of L Athletic Association is seeking monetary damages from vacated games and bonuses which came as the result of NCAA infractions the basketball program was penalized for during Pitino’s 17-year tenure with the Cardinals. 

WDRB-TV reports the university alleges negligence and ‘wrongful conduct’ by Pitino has tarnished the school’s reputation.

Pitino’s firing as a result of the FBI investigation into alleged corruption within college basketball, which included a scheme to pay the families of Louisville recruits. The Hall of Fame coach was never charged or arrested in connection to the case, but he allegedly had knowledge and directed payments to potential recruits, according to an indictment that unsealed on November 8.

Now-former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals’ mascot react after a play during a game against the Morehead State Eagles in the 2011 NCAA Tournament 

‘Mr. Pitino, and not the University, was the active wrongdoer,’ according to the filing, which notes that the NCAA ordered Louisville to return money it received from NCAA Tournaments between 2012 and 2015.      

Furthermore, the counterclaim filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court said the school also wants any bonuses and other compensation ‘wrongly paid’ to Pitino for the tournament appearances.

The two-time national champion coach had around $38.7 million remaining (nine years at $4.3 million a season) on his contract when he was fired ‘for cause’ on October 16 in a unanimous vote by the University of Louisville Athletic Association.

Pitino’s lawyers argue there is nothing in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in September that ties Pitino to any improper activities. 

Steve Pence, Pitino’s lawyer,’ previously told the Louisville Courier Journal that his client ‘had no part whatsoever in any scheme to pay the family of a UL recruit, or to otherwise improperly provide benefits to any recruit, as an inducement to join the basketball program.’

Pitino’s lawsuit alleges that the board violated his contract in September, when he was placed on unpaid leave, and then again in October, when he was fired ‘for cause,’ meaning he would be denied the remainder of his contract.



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