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On notice

CRAWFORD | NCAA gives Louisville verbal notice of inquiry, may be set to move on pay-for-play case

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA may be ready to move forward in assessing possible violations in the bombshell pay-for-play scandal involving adidas, multiple schools, an FBI investigation and trials in the Southern District of New York.

The University of Louisville confirmed to WDRB News on Wednesday night that it received a verbal notice of inquiry March 8 from the NCAA on possible violations. School spokesman John Karman confirmed the notice in an email but would provide no further details.

A verbal notice often is the first step in a formal NCAA inquiry process, with a written notice following thereafter. No written notice has yet been received, nor can the school, under NCAA rules, disclose more information on the subject matter of the inquiry, except what is available under state open records law.

The story was first reported by Jeff Greer of TheAthletic.com, who also reported that Kansas and Arizona are subjects of NCAA investigation.

At the conclusion of an October trial in which two addias officials and a former NBA agent were found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the NCAA began the process of acquiring records in the FBI investigation of the case, something it continues to pursue in court.

Last week at the Final Four, NCAA President Mark Emmert gave an update on those efforts, saying, “We're going to continue to argue aggressively that they should provide that information so we can get to the facts, since there's so much interest, not just on our part, but across the country and knowing what really transpired there.”

An NCAA rule change earlier this year allows the NCAA to use whatever information it gets from those outside investigations in determining whether violations occurred at its member institutions.

U of L is in special jeopardy, because it already was on NCAA probation for the Andre McGee-Katina Powell sex-for-recruits scandal when alleged violations occurred in the pay-for-play scandal. It would face enhanced penalties from the NCAA if it were found guilty of additional violations during that probationary period.

Specifically, U of L is on the hook for allegations that two former assistants, Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair, provided improper cash payments.

The father of high school prospect and U of L signee Brian Bowen acknowledged in court that he agreed to have his son attend Louisville and sign with adidas upon turning pro in exchange for $100,000 from adidas, and he testified that Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson gave him cash during his time in Louisville. An FBI wiretap also recorded adidas officials and Fair discussing arrangements for another recruit, who never came to the school. Fair is alleged to have paid the family of a recruit $900.

Bowen, who signed with U of L, never played a game for the Cardinals and later transferred to South Carolina before playing professionally overseas. Both Johnson and Fair were removed from their duties by U of L, and then-head coach Rick Pitino was fired, as was then-athletic director Tom Jurich.

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