Pitino not 'loyal' to U of L, school claims in lawsuit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville harshly criticized former basketball coach Rick Pitino this week, arguing in court documents that there is nothing “loyal” about a head coach “who made millions of dollars and then turned around and sued his former school after he was found to have committed” NCAA violations.
The school’s accusations came in a federal court filing seeking to dismiss Pitino’s $40 million breach-of-contract lawsuit.
“By filing this lawsuit, Pitino forced open doors into his long standing pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior,” attorneys for U of L wrote. “Although he now wishes those doors were closed, (the U of L athletics association) intends to vigorously defend itself against Pitino’s frivolous claims.”
U of L argues that the school had just cause to fire Pitino after the NCAA imposed serious violations against the coach following the Katina Powell escort scandal.
Included in the motion to dismiss is a transcript from an Oct. 16, 2017 athletic association board of directors meeting in which an attorney for Pitino stipulated that under the coach’s 2015 contract, he could be terminated for NCAA violations.
“I know why you cited the July of 2015 contract,” an unnamed Pitino attorney said. “That the one that’s the lay-up. It says if he does anything wrong, if there’s any Level 1 violation, whether he knew about it or not, whether he was involved or not, he’s terminated.”
Pitino has argued the escort scandal occurred during Pitino's prior contract, which was dated July 1, 2012. At the time of his firing, Pitino was working under a contract that began July 1, 2015. Pitino has also denied knowing anything about the scandal.
U of L says whether Pitino knew whether illicit activities were going on in the on-campus Minardi Hall basketball dormitory does not matter because the NCAA found the coach was responsible for oversight.
“Pitino’s defense of ‘I didn’t know’ is no longer valid,” the school argued. “Pitino was responsible for the actions of his staff members, whether he knew about them or not.”
The school also argues that Pitino was given an opportunity to be heard after being placed on paid leave.
Pitino was fired Oct. 16, less than three weeks after federal investigators tied the U of L program to a scheme to pay recruits.
U of L says Pitino is attempting to “portray himself as the ‘victim’” because the school “detailed Pitino’s long history of scandals.”
“Contrary to Pitino’s arguments, one cannot be ‘smeared’ with undisputed facts,” according to the motion.
Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.