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Louisville places Pitino, Jurich on administrative leave in wake of federal bribery allegations

University of Louisville head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and long-time athletics director Tom Jurich have been placed on administrative leave following allegations of bribery resulting from an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Southern District office in New York and the FBI.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon during a news conference conducted by Louisville interim president Dr. Greg Potel. The news conference was also attended by J. David Grissom, chairman of the U of L Board of Trustees.

Postel met with Pitino and Jurich separately Wednesday morning to inform them of the decision, which comes after allegations that a men’s basketball coach participated with an apparel company and others in a scheme to pay a recruit to come to the university.

The University of Louisville has placed head basketball coach Rick Pitino (left) and athletics director Tom Jurich on administrative leave after the school was accused of bribery after a federal investigation (UofL Athletics Photo)

In addition, according to Postel, “One student athlete is being notified that he is being withheld from NCAA activities, inclusive of practices and games, indefinitely. This decision will protect the interests of both the student and the University of Louisville.”

While neither Postel nor the U. S. Attorney’s office identified the player, it was widely reported that freshman Brian Bowen was “Player-10” who appeared in the criminal complaint.

“The allegations are serious,” Postel said. “It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to NCAA rules and, of course, federal law. Doing nothing would be a tacit endorsement of potential criminal and unethical behavior.”

Jurich has been suspended with pay, effective immediately, pending the next meeting of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Pitino has been suspended without pay, effective immediately.

Postel said he will work quickly to name an interim athletic director and, together, they will name an interim head men’s basketball coach. He said he hopes to announce those appointments within 48 hours.

Decisions regarding coaches named during the investigation will be made by the interim athletic director.

Postel stressed that the university will cooperate fully with law enforcement and NCAA officials.

Louisville won the 2013 NCAA championship with Pitino as the head coach. He also led the University of Kentucky to the 1996 championship and runner-up finish in 1997.

Louisville made the NCAA Tournament 13 out of the 16 years that Pitino was the head coach.

Pitino has been involved in a series of scandals, including an NCAA probe into the use of strippers and prostitutes to attract players to the program. Louisville was hit with strong sanctions and the program h ad to vacate wins that included the 2013 national championship. The university is appealing that action.

Pitino had a personal scandal in 2009 when he admitted to having sex with Karen Sypher, the wife of a University of Louisville equipment manager, after paying her $3,000 tpo have an aborition. Pitino said he was being extorted and Sypher was later convicted.

Pitino was the coach of the Boston Celtics for four seasons prior to coming to Louisville in 2001. He left Kentucky after the 1997 season to go to the Celtics, but never enjoyed the success he expected in the NBA.

Pitino has won 770 games at the college level, two national championships and seven Final Fours. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Pitino is also the highest paid coach in basketball, making $7.8 million a year, according to USA Today. Pitino has coached at Boston University, Providence College, UK and Louisville in college and the Knicks and Celtics in the NBA.

From Kentucky Today and staff reports

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