U of L officials impose postseason ban for men's basketball at the end of 2015-16 season
"Based upon available information," university president James Ramsey said in a press conference Friday, "We determined it is reasonable to conclude that violations had occurred."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville has suspended its men's basketball program from postseason play at the end of this season, university officials said in a press conference Friday afternoon.
The ban comes amid an NCAA investigation into the basketball program regarding allegations that women were paid to dance for and have sex with players and recruits between 2010 and 2014.
"Based upon available information," university president James Ramsey said, "We determined it is reasonable to conclude that violations had occurred."
Ramsey said a committee was formed with university faculty to work with the NCAA investigators on gathering information, though officials declined to release "specifics of an on-going inquiry."
"The committee and I have been provided with regular updates over the last several months," Ramsey said. "While this was a difficult decision, it was made in the best interest of the University of Louisville."
Based on what the committee and the NCAA had found, "I made the decision to withhold the men's basketball program from all conference and NCAA post-season competition."
The self-imposed postseason ban will begin at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season and include the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.
"We found out yesterday that we had a problem," Director of Athletics Tom Jurich said. "So we want to deal with this in the most rapid way that we possibly can."
"Tom and I have been in the dark on this since day one," Pitino said of the on-going investigation. "I cannot fathom why .. I know why someone robs a bank, they want the money. None of this, to this day, makes any sense to me at all."
Ramsey noted the impact of the ban will be felt by all fans and members of the U of L community. However, it may be felt most strongly by senior graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis.
"We just want the experience of playing in the tournament and seeing how far we can go," head coach Rick Pitino said Damion Lee and Trey Lewis said when transferring to the university. "It's never easy for the ones who don't deserve it. This wasn't a team that wasn't going to make the tournament ... So this penalty is quite substantial."
"This was a night of extreme pain, last night especially," Pitino said. "The final four home games is all [Lewis and Lee] have left ... this is a punishment I thought would never happen this season."
ACC Commissioner John Swofford released a statement Friday in support of U of L:
"Louisville's decision to self-impose sanctions by removing themselves from any men's basketball postseason opportunities this season is both proactive and significant. President Ramsey, Tom Jurich and the Louisville leadership have been and continue to be cooperative throughout the process, and we fully support their decision.
Pitino called on the fans and the university community to support this year's team as they only have nine games remaining in the season.
"Damion and Trey have nothing to look forward to, future-wise right now ... the final four home games is all they have left," Pitino said. "We'll play the rest of this season like they're the last games we'll ever play."
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