Is This the End for Louisville’s Rick Pitino?

Charles Bowles
(Photo: Getty)

Rick Pitino’s career will likely come to end due to “friends with impermissible benefits.”

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino can deny all of the allegations about the alleged sex scandal that has affected the University of Louisville, but that won’t be enough to save him and his job. It’s over. This is the demise of Rick Pitino.

If you avoided ESPN today, then you missed an Outside the Lines Investigation where five players and recruits told ESPN’s John Barr and Jeff Goodman they attended parties that included strippers paid for by former graduate assistant and Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee. One of the recruits said to Outside the Lines, “I knew they weren't college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”

Outside the Lines also interviewed Katina Powell, author of “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” whose book gave the initial allegations of the sex parties at the University of Louisville. Powell showed OTL journals, text messages and phone records showing her communications with McGee. OTL confirmed messages that came from McGee’s cell phone and a wire transfer of $200 from McGee to Powell.

The Outside the Lines investigation is the latest information to come out in the alleged University of Louisville sex scandal.

“I don't know if any of this is true or not,” Pitino told ESPN's Dana O'Neil by phone Tuesday. “There's only one person who knows the truth, and he needs to come out and tell the truth to his teammates, to the University of Louisville, to his fans and to his coaches that have taught him to do the right thing for years and allowed him to be part of something special here.”

One question that remains unanswered from this whole scandal is where all of the money came from to pay for the “services.” McGee could not have paid for this on his own and had to have received outside help. Where this outside help came from is still unknown.  

Pitino’s contract requires him to “diligently supervise compliance of assistant coaches and any other employees for which (Pitino) is administratively responsible.” It also requires him to “demonstrate acute sensitivity to and support of the core values of the academic institution.” He has failed in his duties in both of these clauses in his contract.

Pitino may have had no clue about the scandal, but in all of his public statements, he has never denied that the alleged activities occurred. That is concerning and getting harder to believe because the allegations took place on university property.

What’s worse is that no matter what, Billy Minardi Hall, named after Pitino’s brother-in-law, will now be associated with the alleged sex scandal, and not Minardi who lost his life in the September 11th terrorists attacks. Minardi was Pitino’s best friend. It has to weigh on Pitino’s conscious that if he stays, he will betray the memory of his best friend just for his job. Would Pitino really do that to his best friend?

If Pitino won’t go out on his own, the NCAA will likely make him pay the price for his lack of oversight. The NCAA has punished Larry Brown and Jim Boeheim over academic scandals. They will likely cite Pitino for a lack of control over his program and “extra benefits” given to his potential recruits and players.

Even if Andre McGee falls on his own sword for Coach Pitino, it will not save him. His time in college basketball is over.

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