In an odd turn of events, the University of Louisville wasn’t heavily penalized earlier this month despite reports coming out that in past seasons recruits and players received improper benefits in the form of sex or strippers.
While the team wasn’t heavily penalized in the form of future postseason bans or scholarship restrictions, head coach Rick Pitino was charged by the NCAA with failing to monitor his program and the possibility of a future stiff penalty. At first glance, that was the only penalty the program may suffer. Now, The Courier-Journal is reporting more sanctions could be on the way.
According to The Courier-Journal, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team used players who were ineligible during the 2012-2013 season due to the improper benefits they received. As a result, the schools’ national championship from the 2012-2013 season and other wins from that year could be vacated, according to NCAA experts.
Two former members of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions spoke with The Courier-Journal and said it’s almost automatic for the panel to take away wins from teams that used players later deemed ineligible as some players are now.
Former NCAA enforcement director Chuck Smart was hired by Louisville to conduct its internal investigation. Smart said at a press conference last week taking away victories and the title are possible penalties, but unlikely.
The NCAA’s list of charges include former assistant coach Andre McGee providing at least $5,400 in striptease shows and sex to 17 recruits. However, because the university redacted the names involved and the dates this all occurred, it’s impossible to know what players involved in the 2012-2013 title run were involved in the scandal.
Even though Louisville redacted the names, Katina Powell’s book Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen that broke the scandal wide open includes the names of several players involved and pictures of them as well. Some of the players listed are Montrez Harrell and Russ Smith, both of whom played a major factor in the team’s success in 2012-2013.
The NCAA does have precedent to take away wins. Since 2012, the NCAA has vacated wins from four schools for impermissible benefits that later made key players involved ineligible. Those schools are Syracuse (101 games), Southern Miss (62), Central Florida (52), and Arizona (19).