Dark days face the University of Louisville men's basketball program and athletic department.
fans need to rally around the innocent
It's a dark day for the University of Louisville.
A week ago, it looked like the University of Louisville men's basketball team would be among the top of the nation. The Cards had a surprise All-American recruit, and were fifth in a preseason poll.
But then, an FBI investigation made public revealed that a school appearing to be the University of Louisville was involved with Adidas in a scandal totalling $100,000 involving the illegal recruitment of an All-American player. After news broke, the University of Louisville decided to start fresh. Men's basketball head coach Rick Pitino was relieved of his duties, along with the rest of the men's basketball staff. Athletic director Tom Jurich was also relieved of duties. Both were placed on administrative leave, and were all but fired. An era in Louisville athletics had come to a less-than-honorable close.
But Pitino and Jurich's departures aren't the end of this nightmare. It's just the beginning. The NCAA has not released what Louisville's penalty would be for their involvement. The death penalty for the program is a likely punishment.
There is an NCAA rule regarding which teams could receive the death penalty. According to the NCAA, the repeat-violator legislation is applicable if a school commits a second violation within five years of a starting date of a penalty assessed from a previous date.
The University is still appealing the penalties levied in the prostitution scandal earlier this summer. With an infraction of this caliber, the death penalty is coming. The only reason we will see basketball this season at the KFC Yum! Center is because the NCAA does not move fast. It will take time before the University will receive its notice of allegations from the NCAA, and before the committee on infractions levies its penalty.
It could take months, if not a year.
2017-18 may be the last time fans can watch Louisville men's basketball for quite some time. This scandal victimized fans, and players that had nothing to do with the issue. Much like March of 2016, the innocent have to suffer due to the actions of the few.
Despite all the bad blood, this city needs to rally around the basketball team. Players such as Deng Adel, Quentin Snider, Ray Spalding, and the rest of the men's basketball team still have to prepare for this season. It will be tough. The University may self-impose another postseason ban. But the team still needs the support of the community.
Fans need to support The Cards. If this is the last season Louisville basketball will play, then it needs to be a memorable one for the players on the court.
But that still doesn't specify what's next. Louisville still needs someone to run the basketball team, and the athletic department.
They need someone that is good to lead the team, at coaching on the court and in life. They need an ethical and effective person to lead the athletic department.
For the team, someone such as Scott Davenport, head coach of the Bellarmine Knights should lead the team. Davenport had led Bellarmine to much success in Division II, and will bring some to Louisville. He is a native, and would be the ideal candidate for interim coach.
As for the athletic director, there are a few names circulating around, the most prevalent being Junior Bridgeman. Bridgeman played for Louisville from 1972-1975, before playing 12 years in the NBA. He had produced a successful franchising empire, including over 100 Wendy's and Chili's, amassing a $600 million net worth. He is a current member on the University's board of Trustees.
It will take time for the University to heal. The University needs to hire people to build the program, ethically and athletically. The team also needs fans to come and support them in this dark time.
Dark days are ahead for UofL, but Cards fans should not lose support.