Louisville reportedly fires Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino as NCAA corruption scandal creeps closer
Louisville has reportedly fired Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino following an FBI operation on Tuesday that indicted, among others, assistant coaches at Arizona, Oklahoma State, USC, and Auburn on corruption charges, ESPN reports. Louisville's athletic director, Tom Jurich, is also expected to be fired.
"Pitino has told members of his coaching staff that he expects to lose his job over allegations the [Louisville] Cardinals basketball program is involved in a federal investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball recruiting," ESPN's Michael Eaves wrote on Facebook. "Pitino 'knows it's coming' after a staff meeting of the basketball coaches Wednesday morning in Louisville."
As part of the corruption case, Adidas' head of global sports marketing, James Gatto, was arrested and accused of paying $100,000 to a family to send their son to what details indicate was the University of Louisville. The indictment "says contemporary news accounts described [the player's] college decision, announced this past June, as a surprise" and that "this summer, Louisville signed a 10-year, $160 million apparel contract with Adidas," The New York Times writes. The player, who is unnamed in the complaint, is believed to be Brian Bowen.
Louisville's president confirmed to ESPN that the school is under investigation.
Pitino said Tuesday that the allegations against the NCAA and Louisville "come as a complete shock" and that "if true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville." He added: "Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable." Read the full report at ESPN.