An independent commission placed Louisville’s men’s basketball on probation for two years and fined the program $5,000, but relieved the school — and former coaches Rick Pettino and Chris Mack — of significant penalties from the NCAA allegations following a federal college basketball corruption investigation.
The Independent Resolution Commission (IRP) announced Thursday that Louisville has avoided a post-season ban and other significant penalties in the wrongdoing case that began with the FBI’s 2017 investigation into corruption around college basketball and the school’s relationship with former star Brian Bowen Jr.
Louisville was also granted a two-week ban on unofficial visits and a public reprimand and reprimand. The panel concluded that the NCAA had failed to show “evidence” that adidas, which it cited as coordinator of a plan to transfer recruits to its partner schools, “was representative” of the university.
Former Louisville assistants Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fair, who have been accused by the NCAA of arranging payments to the Bowen family and another recruit’s family and providing false information to the NCAA about their relationships with the recruits, have been given a reason to offer two years of commission penalties for Level 1 violations.
These penalties will limit their collective ability to serve in college basketball during that time, although Johnson’s case specifically relates to his ability to enlist in live events during those two years. Johnson is a Rhode Island assistant on Archie Miller’s staff, while Phair recently worked on the AAU circuit. Violations that did not include Fair and Johnson were Level 3 violations.
The authority’s ruling cannot be appealed.
In 2017, the FBI alleged that Pitino and his staff worked with Adidas, the school’s clothing partner, to transfer payments to Bowen and another employee. Both Pitino, who is now Iona’s head coach, and former athletic director Tom Jurich have been fired.
The NCAA notice cited allegations that Pitino had failed to foster an atmosphere of compliance. Several people associated with Adidas have been charged and imprisoned for their role in the corruption scandal, but the commission determined that both Pitino and Adidas were not at fault.
“As a result, the hearing found no additional violations of Louisville related to actions by the apparel company or its employees in this case,” the commission said in a statement. “In addition, the hearing committee decided that there was no violation before [Pitino] Because it showed that he worked to foster an atmosphere of compliance.”
David Pink, senior vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary for the retail company, international and local arbitrator, and a member of the IRP’s lead team, said the panel viewed Adidas as nothing more than a company marketing itself in the Louisville case.
“Our interpretation was that it was just promoting their own brand,” Bank said Thursday at a press conference. Moreover…the Foundation did not ask for any assistance in recruitment.
The ruling could also bode well for Kansas, which faces similar accusations of using Adidas to influence recruits in a wrongdoing case that is also being handled by the IRP. Kansas announced Wednesday that it has imposed a four-game suspension on coach Bill Self and assistant coach Curtis Townsend, both of whom are named in the notice of allegations against the school.
While Louisville was working on the Bowen case, allegations of recruitment abuse against Mack, who left the program last year, complicated that chapter and extended it to Louisville. After former assistant Dino Gaudio threatened to expose NCAA allegations within the Louisville program after he was fired from Mack’s staff, he was charged in federal court with attempting to blackmail the program. He got a fine and probation.
Louisville later reported multiple recruitment abuses involving alumni directors and other employees involved in activities on the court and showing video clips to recruits who showed their names, photos, and the like.
But the IRP determined that these violations were “isolated and unintended and did not provide more than a minimal recruitment or competitive advantage, and, therefore, did not provide a sufficient basis to support this.” [Mack] He violated the responsibility of the head coach or failed to foster an atmosphere of compliance.”
The Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) was created in 2019 as an alternative for schools that wanted their cases to be heard by people outside of NCAA Division I athletics. The process was hampered by delays and complications, and the NCAA decided to cancel the IARP after it deals with upcoming issues.
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