Rick Pitino Sounding off on Louisville Scandal: 'System Broken', Needs 'Change'By Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
Since the University of Louisville announced a self-imposed postseason ban on the men's basketball team to try and soften the blow of the NCAA's impending sanctions, head coach Rick Pitino has been vocal with his concerns over the process.
"The future is going to be bright for the University of Louisville," he said Tuesday morning on the ESPN's "Mike and Mike" radio show. "The system is broken, we need a president to step up and change this system, because it is broken. You see years and years of investigating... and not coming to a conclusion."
Those comments echo what he said over the weekend, in the more immediate wake of the self-imposed postseason ban. Though the NCAA may have imposed that sanction anyway, UL's preemptive move was a crushing blow for Trey Lewis and Damion Lee, who transferred to UL for their final season of athletic eligibility for the chance to play in the postseason.
Pitino had his own ideas for how the NCAA should hand out sanctions for those found to have violated its policies, especially when student-athletes are not to blame. The coach suggested schools should be "fined heavily" and coaches have their "salaries deducted."
Pitino has maintained all along he did not know one of his staff members was paying for strippers and escorts to entertain his recruits, but he indicated nonetheless he would take a harsher punishment to spare his players.
"I'd work for free if we could have this NCAA Tournament [for] these guys," Pitino told Mike and Mike. "My future is irrelevant and unimportant, it's the University of Louisville that I care about."
He also said he is not weighing retirement or an exit from UL as a response to the allegations against his program, instead telling Mike and Mike he thinks he will be "totally vindicated" and would let "the NCAA come to those conclusions."
"I'll just keep doing my job," Pitino said Tuesday morning. "The only thing I'm heartbroken about is I just have a difficult time talking to my team right now because I know their dreams have been shattered."