The University of Louisville Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to limit its appeal to the two harshest penalties handed down by the NCAA infractions committee against the men’s basketball program, while head coach Rick Pitino would have to appeal his five-game suspension from conference play in the coming season on his own.
Approving a recommendation made by UofL’s interim president, Greg Postel, after meeting in closed executive session for over an hour, the trustees voted to appeal two aspects of the penalties handed down by the NCAA on June 15: The forfeiture of all revenue the program received through its conference revenue sharing agreement in the 2012 through 2015 men’s basketball tournaments and the vacation of all regular season and postseason wins in which ineligible players participated during a period stretching from 2010 to 2014, which included its national championship in 2013.
After the meeting, Postel told reporters that UofL had until Friday to notify the NCAA of which specific penalties it would appeal, but the university would now have 30 days to prepare its official, detailed appeal to submit to the NCAA. Referring to this as “a matter of ongoing, pending litigation,” he said it would not be appropriate to get into the details of why only these two penalties would be appealed and not others, such as the four-year probation and reduction of four scholarships over that time.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks to think about this, and we’ve conducted a thorough study,” said Postel. “We’ve spoken to many people inside and outside of the institution, we’ve sought the advice of counsel. So this is a studied response, as much as you can, in a couple of weeks. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction. There is rationale to support it.”
Asked how much money would have to be forfeited due to the NCAA’s financial penalty, Postel said that figure was still being calculated, but it numbered “in the millions” of dollars.
“It’s a little difficult to say in total because those revenues come in over time and there are trailing proceeds at this point — even still — from those,” said Postel. “Obviously, at the time of the appeal process we’ll know the exact number.”
UofL athletics director Tom Jurich told IL he was fine with the decision to limit the school’s appeal to two penalties. Asked about an appeal of Pitino’s suspension, Jurich said: “He would have to do that himself. He can’t be represented by the same group,” which was confirmed later by Postel.
Pitino himself was in the trustees’ closed session for a portion of that meeting, and UofL Athletic Association spokesman Kenny Klein confirmed to IL later in the afternoon that Pitino “does intend to file a notice of appeal by Friday.”
Pitino and Jurich both vigorously criticized the NCAA at a press conference shortly after the stiff penalties were handed down on June 15, related to the scandal involving UofL’s former director of basketball operations Andre McGeee hiring strippers for players and recruits. That day, Pitino argued that there was no way he could have known about those activities, saying “we did not deserve any of this at all and we will fight every single bit to the end.”