BOZICH | National take on Louisville basketball scandal harsh and unsparing
Rick Bozich of WDRB Sports collected a sample of national opinion on the developments with the University of Louisville athletic department Wednesday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville basketball is the talk of the sports world, and I don’t care what Howard Schnellenberger once said, this is one time when any publicity is not good publicity.
Eleven days after Rick Pitino was ESPN’s pick to represent the program (wearing a Lamar Jackson No. 8 football jersey) on College GameDay, the national coverage of U of L lost it rah-rah edge Wednesday.
Columnists from across the board filed their thoughts on the basketball program, Pitino, athletic director Tom Jurich and the scandal that resulted in the announcement that Pitino had been placed on unpaid administrative leave and Jurich on paid administrative leave.
Here is a sampling of opinion from media folks across the nation:
ESPN.com columnist Ian O’Conner delivered a stinging take of Pitino’s coaching run. O’Connor considered Pitino one of the most talented coaches of his time but believes that Pitino will be remembered for squandering that talent.
“But after Louisville placed him on an unpaid leave that will certainly end with his firing, his legacy won't be defined by the games won and the banners hung. Pitino's enduring story will revolve around the unseemly scandals that kept unfolding around him, including this latest one that surely ended his coaching career for keeps.”
Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated also filed his hot take. Rosenberg wrote that nobody who has followed Pitino’s career for the last four decades should be surprised it took this turn. Rosenberg said he considered Pitino a salesman who should not be hired to sell his vision for running a college basketball program again.
"This should be a time for sober reflection and honest self-assessment, but Pitino will only go down that road if there is a book deal in it. He has been selling so long and so well that he knows no other way. He got caught cheating on his wife and angrily proclaimed that recruiting was still going great. His program hired hookers to lure high school students and Pitino sold himself as the victim. Louisville apparently paid six figures for a recruit and he released a statement saying it was “initiated by a few bad actors … our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.”
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com several pieces on the Louisville scandal. In the first, Parrish wrote that Louisville had no choice but to dismiss Pitino.
In the second, his CBS teammate Matt Norlander wrote that Louisville should turn to former Indiana coach Tom Crean as the Cardinals’ interim replacement coach.
Stewart Mandel of TheAthletic.com looked at the story from a different prism: its effect on Louisville football. Mandel noted that U of L’s thunderous rise on the football field nationally was tied to Jurich’s arrival as the school’s athletic director in 1997. He wondered if the Louisville brand will survive the absence of its AD, who was always the football program’s top supporter.
"His ouster raises the question of whether a program in the midst of its brightest era to date — a now-established ACC championship contender with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner — will fall victim to the scandal now embroiling Louisville’s athletic department."
And, in case you missed this one on Tuesday, Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde wrote in addition to Pitino and Jurich losing their jobs, Louisville deserved the death penalty from the NCAA for the school’s role in this scandal.
The program should be shut down, if the bombshell allegations announcement of allegations Tuesday prove to be true. If that doesn't happen, the NCAA is useless.
Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino should be gone, a gilded career ending in disgrace. It seems highly plausible that he will take athletic director Tom Jurich with him, a man who lifted an entire department, and now oversees its ruination.
They were heroes here, for many years. And now they have been party to multiple scandals and a stain so deep on the basketball program that it may never fully go away. SMU football knows the feeling.
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