Louisville, KY- It was a week that started off picture perfect for the Louisville Men’s Basketball team. An upset win over the second ranked North Carolina Tar Heels at the KFC Yum! Center had the city buzzing. But the taste of victory was abruptly scrubbed out of the Cardinals mouths on Friday afternoon when head coach Rick Pitino called an urgent press conference.
When Pitino addressed the media Friday afternoon, he stated that the Louisville Men’s Basketball program would self inflict a post season ban on the program, meaning that the Cardinals could not compete in any postseason tournament or the ACC tournament in Washington DC.
The ban was a result of the accusations in the book Breaking Cardinal Rules which author Katina Powell stated that she received money from former assistant coach Andre McGee to have sex with recruits on their visits to Louisville. The girls involved included Powell’s two daughters. The assistant coach and ex-Louisville guard Andre McGee, who Powell stated was the coach that paid for the girls, stepped down from his assistant coaching job at the University of Missouri-Kansas City after these accusations were made. He has yet to comment on this situation during the 4 months it has been public.
Graduate transfers Trey Lewis and Damion Lee came to Louisville to play in the NCAA Tournament. In a press conference held late Friday afternoon, which the whole team attended to support Lee and Lewis, the seniors handled themselves well stating mature and intelligent answers to the media’s questions. Rick Pitino referred to the NCAA system for punishing scandalized schools as “broken” in a press conference Saturday after the Cardinals home win vs Boston College.
None of the players or coaches on the current roster took part in these illegal events that led to the post-season ban. Cardinal fans have been calling for the head of James Ramsey, who brought forth the idea to Pitino and Athletic Director Tom Jurich of the self-inflicted ban. Ramsey has made some questionable decisions that affected the University in the past, so Louisville supporters have good reason to be frustrated with him.
Rick Pitino said that the Cardinals “Have nothing to look forward to besides the 4 (now 3) home games we have left.” However, Louisville has a big time matchup with the struggling Duke Blue Devils Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Cards will now look to finish the season strong and prepare for the 2016-17 season that includes promising recruits and another senior graduate transfer.