CRAWFORD | U of L to limit NCAA appeal to vacated wins, tourney revenues; Pitino to appeal separately
The University of Louisville board of trustees on Wednesday approved an NCAA appeal that seeks to overturn an order to vacate records and return NCAA Tournament revenues handed down as punishment for men's basketball violations. Head basketball coach Rick Pitino will appeal his five-game suspension separately.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville will limit its appeal to the NCAA Infraction Appeals Committee to two areas as it seeks to reduce penalties handed down by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions nearly two weeks ago.
The U of L board of trustees on Wednesday approved a plan to appeal the NCAA penalties relating to vacating of wins and NCAA Tournament revenues. The sanctions were handed to the men’s basketball program for violations found in the sex-for-recruits scandal that broke in October of 2015 when a Louisville woman claimed to have provided strippers and escorts for Louisville recruits and players from 2010 to 2014.
The university will not appeal a five-game suspension handed to head coach Rick Pitino, but the coach plans to pursue an appeal through his own attorney, athletic director Tom Jurich said. Jurich added that it’s his understanding that Pitino’s appeal must be separate from the university's efforts, and in fact this was the case with Jim Boeheim when he appealed a nine-game suspension at Syracuse in 2015.
The university also will not challenge other penalties levied by the NCAA, including four years of probation, scholarship reductions (four over the next four seasons) and the banning of recruits from overnight stays on campus during unofficial visits for the next four years. The school self-imposed its own scholarship reductions, a number of recruiting restrictions and a postseason ban in the winter of 2016 after determining that NCAA violations had occurred.
Interim president Greg Postel said that victories including the 2013 NCAA championship, the 2012 Final Four, various conference championships and the complicated jumble of NCAA Tournament proceeds paid out via conference revenue sharing through multiple conferences over multiple years will be the only items the school notifies the NCAA it will appeal. It has until Friday to make that notification, then 30 days to file a formal written appeal.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks to think about this,” he said. “We’ve conducted a thorough study. We’ve spoken to many people, inside and outside the institution. We’ve sought advice of counsel. And so this is a studied response, as much as you can, in a couple of weeks. This is not a knee-jerk reaction. I guess that’s my comment. There is rationale to support it. And obviously if one is going to conduct an appeal, you have to have some sense that the appeal will be successful.”
Postel said he’s not sure exactly how much money is involved with the NCAA Tournament revenues in question but that it runs into the millions.
“It’s still being calculated,” he said. “It’s a little difficult to say in total, because those revenues come in over time and there are trailing proceeds at this point, even still, from those. Obviously at the time of the appeal, we’ll know the total number.”
Jurich said he’s in agreement with the decision of the trustees, and with limiting the scope of the appeal.
“They’re going to pick and choose,” he said. “I think they’ve thought it out well.”
After U of L files its appeal, the NCAA has 30 days to respond in writing. The school then gets 14 days to file a rebuttal, and the NCAA’s enforcement office has 10 days to submit its own thoughts on the arguments after that.
Chuck Smrt, who represented U of L during the NCAA investigation, said 108 regular-season and 15 NCAA Tournament games were affected by the order to vacate. U of L will not have to identify those games until the appeal is completed.
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