Rick Pitino Addresses IARP’s Louisville Ruling After Years-Long Probe
On the same day that the Louisville men’s basketball program avoided major penalties from the NCAA after a probe into the program stemming from a 2017 FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, former Cardinals coach Rick Pitino offered his opinions on the ruling and the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP). The IARP decided not to impose a ban on Louisville for the postseason, while Pitino (now at Iona) and former Cardinals coach Chris Mack both avoided NCAA penalties. The program will pay a $5,000 fine and take a minor reduction in available recruiting days, as well as two years of probation. Pitino spoke to media on Thursday after being exonerated by IARP. The IARP will soon be disbanded by the NCAA.
“The IARP apparently is going away, and I’m very disappointed in that for other coaches and other programs and other universities, because these are legal experts who are strict with due process,” Pitino said, per Brooks Holton of the Courier Journal. “They don’t believe in hearsay.”
The program had to vacate its title in 2018, a decision that Pitino is still upset over. The current Iona coach praised his decades of success, as well as former assistant coaches and players who went on to successful coaching careers. He also expressed his regret over former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich’s resignation after the FBI investigation.
“See Tom Jurich. He came to me three weeks before I was fired and said that two people, two people I don’t want the names of because I have such a dislike for them, said that Tom, Rick Pitino, if you don’t fire him, we’re going to fire you. But he said, “That’s not going to happen Coach. You won’t be fired. You did nothing wrong.’
“He came to me a week later and said, ‘Coach, they’re gonna fire me if I don’t let you go.’ I said, ‘Tom, that’s it. You’re firing you. You built this place.’ … Tom Jurich, and if you take 1,000 athletic directors–and you all know that listening to me–999 would have fired me, and I don’t blame them for doing so,” Pitino said. “Tom Jurich said, ‘I could not sleep at night if I let you go,’ and that’s the biggest regret I have looking back on the situation.”
After Louisville fired Pitino in 2017 once the scandal broke, Pitino coached EuroLeague team Panathinaikos in Greece before being hired by Iona in ’20. He expressed his desire to forget the Louisville drama and enter his third year with Gaels.
” So those two years in Greece were over, and I was able to return to Iona to coach college basketball again. They are also deeply appreciated. Pitino stated that now it was time to move on and that Louisville is behind me. “I wish them all the best. Kenny Payne, the current Louisville coach, is a friend. I want to see him have great success.”
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