CRAWFORD | Louisville to impose scholarship reductions, recruiti - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville to impose scholarship reductions, recruiting restrictions on men's basketball

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford WDRB photo by Eric Crawford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The University of Louisville today announced another round of self-imposed penalties for its men’s basketball program in the wake of allegations that a member of the team’s support staff paid for strippers and prostitutes for recruits and players from 2010 to 2014.

A statement from the office of U of L president James Ramsey outlined the self-imposed sanctions, which will be added to the postseason ban the school announced in February.

"The University of Louisville continues to work collaboratively with the NCAA in the investigation of the university's men's basketball program," the statement reads. "As a member of the NCAA, the university takes its responsibility for NCAA compliance seriously, and has cooperated with the NCAA in an effort to close this difficult chapter as soon as possible consistent with NCAA enforcement procedures. Under NCAA rules, the university is not able to discuss the investigation or the facts developed to date, but looks forward to doing so at the conclusion of the NCAA enforcement process."

CRAWFORD | Pitino "fully supports" university's actions

The new self-imposed sanctions are as follows:

-- Reducing the number of scholarships available to men’s basketball, one in the 2017-18 season and one in 2018-19.

-- Reducing the number of recruiting visits Louisville coach Rick Pitino and his staff may take by a quarter, including keeping the staff off the road for the entire month of April. The total reduction is 30 "recruiting opportunities," 24 of which are expected to have been served by the end of this month.

-- Reducing the number of official visits the program may host by two one in 2016-17 and another in 2017-18.

The university statement said that these are not the result of additional violations found within the program, but as part of the university’s ongoing effort to take actions in keeping with its understanding of the NCAA’s penalty process.

Steve Thompson, counsel to the university working with the NCAA, said that the hope for U of L is that these self-imposed sanctions will help draw the matter to a quicker resolution.

"After much deliberation, the university believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate," Thompson said. "While the university could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do, and may advance the university's goal of expediting resolution of this matter."

U of L also is expected to enact further oversight measures with its men’s basketball program that it will outline in the future.

"These additional measures," the statement said, "will be designed to promote communication and transparency, prevent future violations before they occur, and make clear to the university community that violations of NCAA legislation will not be tolerated."

The program and university continue to work their way through the aftermath of allegations by former Louisville escort Katina Powell that she held parties in the men's basketball dorm, providing strippers who had sex with recruits and players, while receiving payment from former U of L director of basketball operations Andre McGee. In February, the school acknowledged that it believed violations had occurred, and took the step of banning the team from this season's NCAA Tournament and the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

The school and NCAA investigations are not yet complete, but schools often self-impose penalties hoping to get through the process more quickly, and that the actions might lessen any sanctions the NCAA might add. Criminal investigations into the activity of Powell and McGee also are ongoing.

The statement concludes: "President Ramsey wishes to thank the faculty and staff who have assisted with these decisions, and particularly Tom Jurich and coach Rick Pitino. Their integrity and decisive leadership have served the university well during these challenging times."

WDRB is attempting to contact various U of L officials for reaction. This story will be updated as we learn more. Eric Crawford will discuss today's developments later on WDRB News.

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