The NCAA ruled on Feb. 20 that the University of Louisville men’s basketball team would be forced to remove its 2013 National Championship victory and 2012 Final Four appearance after they drew penalties levied against the school last year.
These charges came after an investigation that included allegations that a former staff member arranged for strippers to perform for recruits and players at dormitory parties from 2010 to 2014.
This penalty will force the school to vacate 123 victories, including 15 NCAA tournament wins. Former coach and Hall of Fame member Rick Pitino denies any knowledge of said parties. Along with this, the Louisville athletic administration disagrees wholeheartedly with the NCAA’s decision.
“We’ll remove the official recognition, but it won’t remove it from our hearts and minds,” Louisville interim athletic director Vince Tyra said, according to ESPN. “It brings closure to one of these situations. It’s not going to bring closure to the successes and memories our teams had. I’m sad for our players and certainly our staff members.”
The punishment involves scholarship reductions and requires Louisville to pay back any revenue made by the team 2012-2015. Administrators for Louisville say that the sum will be less than $1 million; however, some reports estimate the sum to be in excess of $15 million.
Louisville interim president Greg Postel has also expressed his disagreement with the NCAA’s decision.
“I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong,” Postel said in a statement, according to ESPN. “We disagree with the NCAA ruling for reasons we clearly stated in our appeal. And we made a strong case—based on NCAA precedent—that supported our argument.”
The Cardinals will become the first team to be forced to vacate a National Championship since the beginning of the Final Four Era.
Despite all of the dissent and disagreement, the university is ready to move forward with their basketball operations.
“While we disagree with the NCAA’s decision, it is time for the university to close this chapter and move forward with a stronger commitment to excellence on and off the court,” Postel said in his statement.
These allegations are another in the long list of issues that have come to light between the NCAA and the colleges that they represent. Pitino left Louisville after “pay-to-play” allegations, in which it is believed that Adidas conspired with the college to pay recruits some $100,000 to guarantee that Adidas represented them when they turned pro, according to ESPN.
The NCAA and college basketball teams are still at odds, as a new “pay-to-play” scandal has come to light. Yahoo! Sports published articles from an FBI investigation that showed that there may be more than 20 current players breaking NCAA rules.
Furthermore, the FBI intercepted a phone conversation between the University of Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins—a key figure in the NCAA college basketball corruption scandal—in which they discussed paying a top recruit upwards of $100,000 to ensure that he would come to play for the Wildcats, according to ESPN.
After this information was released, the college decided that it was in the best interest of everyone involved to not allow Miller to coach the game that evening against the University of Oregon.
As more information on the subject is becoming available, it is clear that there needs to be some reworking on all sides, as an organization this divided and seemingly corrupt cannot continue to be accepted as the norm.