| February 23, 2018

Opinion: Leaving a Tattered Legacy

October 2, 2017

University of Louisville basketball is in the news yet again for another scandal, and this time around it resulted in the firing of head coach Rick Pitino. His Legacy may now be in question when it is all said and done.

The FBI recently discovered through an on going investigation that many of the nation’s top basketball programs have been involved in corruption, bribery and wire fraud.

This isn’t anything new — it has been rumored for years that top basketball prospects get paid to go to the top schools. It is something fans have never wanted to believe, but the thought has lingered in the minds of many college basketball fans.

Louisville is one of the first programs to enter the spotlight, furthering the scrutiny the program has already been under for the last few years.

The year after Louisville put a self-imposed postseason ban on themselves after a sex-for-pay scandal by a Louisville assistant, they find themselves in trouble again. The difference between now and then is the FBI is involved this time.

A company payed a five-star basketball recruit $100,000 to play at Louisville and sign a shoe deal with Adidas. This is the second embarrassing scandal to hit Louisville in the past few years. Pitino claims he was unaware of the bribery, but was still let go by the university.

The incident occurred when the FBI secretly videotaped a July meeting in a hotel room involving another Louisville assistant, discussing a plan to give money to the family of a recruit, a plan funneled by Adidas, according to ESPN. When the Louisville assistant left, a sports agent and director of an AAU Adidas program continued to scheme with an undercover agent about a $100,000 deal with the athlete’s family.

That makes two of Pitino’s assistants in two years that have had great scandals at the university. Pitino claims he had no knowledge of the situation, just like he said a year ago with the sex-for-pay scandal. This time though, Pitino could not wiggle his way out.

Pitino had a tremendous tenure at Louisville, leading them to multiple final four appearances and a national championship win. On the court, Pitino is regarded to be one of the best college coaches in basketball. With his scandal-driven falling out, his legacy may be in question.

Rick Pitino has been one of my favorite coaches to watch over the years, as well as Louisville basketball, and this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, like many others around the nation as well.

The NCAA has a history of issues with scandals, mostly with its football and basketball programs. This adds to the argument tcollege players should be payed or not, but having unfair advantages with recruiting is not the answer.

Louisville and many other teams, are about to get hit hard with massive penalties and it is a rough time for the integrity of college basketball. As for Pitino, this leaves him jobless and with perhaps a legacy in question.

Chris Deremer can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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