LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After nearly two years of legal posturing, the University of Louisville and Rick Pitino have settled the termination lawsuit he filed against the school.
U of L will pay no money to Pitino, but his personnel file will be amended to say he resigned his position – something he was given the offer to do after Louisville’s involvement in a college basketball corruption scandal was revealed by the FBI in 2017.
Pitino had sued U of L for the remainder of his contract, approximately $44 million. A settlement conference in federal court last week led to no announcement from the parties.
But on Wednesday morning, the U of L athletic association approved a settlement that would cost the university nothing. The parties will each pay their own legal bills.
In the suit, Pitino claimed the university was wrong to use the sex-for-recruits scandal at the school as a reason for firing him for cause, because he was not found to have had a role in those violations.
The school had argued that Pitino is presumed responsible, and that the resulting major violations created a breach of contract.
A joint statement by the parties at the end of the settlement reads:
“For 17 years, Coach Pitino ran a program that combined excellence on the court with a commitment to the program’s student athletes, their academic achievement, and their futures in and out of basketball. Nevertheless, there were NCAA infractions during his term which led to serious consequences for the University. Although these infractions may not have occurred at Coach Pitino’s direction or with his knowledge, the problems leading to the NCAA infractions happened under his leadership. We thank Coach Pitino for his years of service to the University of Louisville basketball program and wish him well. Coach Pitino and the University of Louisville have mutually agreed to dismiss their legal claims against each other, designate his departure as a resignation, and move forward.”
In a statement released by his attorney, Steve Pence, Pitino said he is proud of his accomplishments at U of L:
"Today I move on to a new chapter in my life. Against my lawyer’s advice I’m dropping my lawsuit with ULAA. I am very proud of the many accomplishments my teams achieved at Louisville. I’m so thankful and honored to coach such dedicated athletes.
I’m also disappointed in how it ended. But as head coach I am held responsible for the actions of all team members.
I still have so much passion for the game and so many goals I want to achieve. From this day forward I start my climb.”
The settlement document appears in its entirety here:
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