Pitino, Jurich placed on administrative leave amid FBI bribery scheme investigation
LOUISVILLE, KY — UofL Interim President Greg Postel said coach Rick Pitino has been placed on unpaid administrative leave and Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich is on paid administrative leave.
Pitino released a statement through his attorneys Wednesday afternoon:
“The University of Louisville placed Coach Pitino on indefinite unpaid administrative leave today. It did not give him prior notice of the disciplinary action or an opportunity to be heard, as required by University policy and Coach Pitino’s employment contract.
“Coach Pitino has, in effect, been fired. The matter will now follow its legal course.
Coach Pitino stands by his previous statement — and that of the U.S. Attorney’s Office — that named and unnamed people perpetrated a fraudulent scheme on the University and its basketball program. The information disclosed thus far in the investigation is clearly insufficient to implicate Coach Pitino in any type of misconduct or other activity that would violate the terms of his contract. In sum, Coach Pitino has done nothing wrong and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. The rush to judgment is regrettable.
“Moving forward, Coach Pitino’s primary concern is for the well-being of the student-athletes on the University’s basketball team, and in getting complete and accurate facts in the ongoing investigation. Those facts will inevitably exonerate him.”
Jurich also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon through his attorney:
“For the last 20 years, I have dedicated my life to the University of Louisville. Disappointment does not even come close to describing my feelings surrounding the allegation that any member of the UofL basketball staff could be involved in the criminal conduct announced yesterday. My intent has always been to run every athletic program at the University in an honest and compliant manner. It is heartbreaking to me that the alleged intentional and secret criminal acts can bring such harm to our school. I love this University, the Louisville community and all of our fans. I plan to continue to help UofL overcome the challenges it faces and work cooperatively with the University with the support of the UofL Board of Trustees following their meeting on October 19th.”
The announcements come one day after an explosive federal indictment linked the University of Louisville to a basketball recruiting bribery scheme.
“Doing nothing would be a tacit endorsement of potential criminal and unethical behavior,” Postel said.
One player, presumably Brian Bowen, but not named, is being withheld for NCAA activities.
“This is a typical way that universities deal with a situation where there is an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation is not complete and individuals at this institution have not been formally charged. So, this is a typical response to that type of circumstance,” Postel said.
UofL hopes to have interim head basketball coach and interim athletic director named within 48 hours.
The difference in paid and unpaid leave is a difference in contracts with Pitino and Jurich.
The long-term future for the two is to be determined at a later time, Postel said. The Board of Trustees will discuss Jurich’s fate on or before its next meeting.
Officials said they believe the FBI has been on campus. The University of Louisville is seeking advice from NCAA on how to continue the investigation into the program.
Postel said there is no way to know if anyone associated with the university will be charged in the case.
He said decisions on other coaches will be made by an interim athletic director.
Board of Trustees chairman J. David Grissom said the board unanimously supports actions against Pitino and Jurich.
“While this may be a dark day for the University of Louisville, better days are ahead,” Postel said.
When asked if he was cleaning house, Postel said that answer should be obvious.
“I think it should be obvious that’s what we’re doing, an action sufficient to bring a room full of media together to make a clear statement we’re not gonna tolerate what we’ve learned about,” he said.
Pitino and Jurich each met with interim president Dr. Gregory Postel for less than 10 minutes Wednesday morning.
Pitino had nothing to say as he walked in or out of the building. WLKY’s Mark Vanderhoff said Pitino appeared to be fighting tears as he left Grawemeyer Hall.
As Jurich was walking into Grawemeyer Hall, reporters asked him several questions about his future with the university. Asked whether he’s concerned about his job, he replied, “I have no idea.”
After the brief meeting, reporters caught up with Jurich as he returned to his car.
Vanderhoff asked Jurich if he still had his job, to which Jurich replied, “They’ll be talking later.”
Mayor Greg Fischer released the following statement about the investigation:
“I believe in the University of Louisville. We all need to support its students, faculty, and staff who work hard every day. I have confidence that the Board of Trustees will take the necessary actions to lead the city’s flagship university to a bright future.”
The indictments detail bribes of assistant coaches and high school basketball players across the nation. It alleges employees with Adidas funneled bribes through third parties to steer players to Adidas-sponsored schools, like UofL, and to keep players with Adidas when they move to the NBA.
The indictment said two UofL recruits and two men’s basketball coaches were involved but does not name them.