Last week, a massive scandal in college basketball involving agents, shoe companies and coaches obtaining high school basketball players resulted in ten people arrested and very likely more arrests to come in the future.
While he was never arrested, University of Louisville’s Rick Pitino was the most notable name in the scandal. Pitino wasn’t named in the FBI’s reports, but it didn’t take much to figure out he was one of the anonymous coaches involved.
Because of that, and Pitino using the same “I didn’t know what was going on” excuse as he did when Louisville was busted for soliciting prostitutes for recruits, Louisville felt justified in eventually letting Pitino go.
A letter from Gregory Postel, Chair of the Louisville Board of Directors, surfaced detailing exactly what they believed was just cause in firing Pitino. There are some legal hurdles for Louisville so that’s why Pitino is getting paid ten days salary and then placed on unpaid leave but the goal is to get Pitino out.
Copy of letter Postel gave to UofL men's basketball coach Rick Pitino, placing him on leave. pic.twitter.com/ZVruRA1C0B
— Mark Vanderhoff (@WLKYMark) October 2, 2017
Some important details in this letter give Pitino a bit of a cushion in getting fired. For instance, Pitino will be able to keep his health insurance until his firing is official and that will be determined either when the FBI concludes its investigation or by April 30, 2018. Considering many say this is just the tip of the iceberg, I highly doubt the FBI will be finished investigating by then.
For many, that might seem unfair and it is a bit of a raw deal, but Louisville needs to make sure they honor their part of Pitino’s contract to keep him from having a case against them if he were to file a lawsuit.
Plus, given the criminal charges the FBI is pursuing, for the first time ever coaches like Pitino might have bigger things to worry about than a show-cause penalty, much less the details of their termination.