Coach Rick Pitino

Cardinal Sin, Week 2: On Monday, the University of Louisville Athletic Association’s board unanimously voted to begin the process to terminate Rick Pitino “for cause,” reports ESPN.

The University of Louisville placed Pitino on unpaid administrative leave last week following allegations of a scheme with Adidas executive Jim Gatto to funnel $100,000 to the family of a recruit.

Athletics director Tom Jurich was also placed on paid leave following the allegations.

Yahoo Sports predicts a “contentious legal battle” between Pitino and the University. Pitino’s attorney has already delivered a breach of contract notice, asserting the university did not properly notify or give the coach sufficient opportunity to respond when it placed him on leave last week.

There’s also the matter of what’s owed on his contract, which The Washington Post describes as a “$43.99 million difference of opinion.”

Sporting News covered The Courier Journal’s report on Jurich’s pay and perks over his tenure at Louisville and it looks like he did just fine. They say he made more than the budgets of four of the university’s academic programs combined.

Which, hey — he’s great at his job, brings a lot of money to the university and the city, but it does highlight the system as it’s evolved. Which sounds disturbingly close to “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

I can’t believe I went there, either.

And then there’s this bit:

NBC Sports and ESPN say 98 percent of the money in the school’s existing deal with Adidas went to Rick Pitino.

Under the current contract, Adidas specified money went first to Louisville coaches, then what was left went to the athletics program.

The new extension is scheduled to begin July 1, 2018.

According to USA Today, Mr. Jurich said back in August:

“It’s for the athletic department. It’s for these student-athletes. It’s been earmarked for them.”

According to The Courier-Journal, Louisville Athletics Department spokesperson Kenny Klein said:

“Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes.”

Wow. That’s…bravo, sir. That is some next level spin. That is like, “I have traveled to meet the guru on the mountain top and when I returned, I returned a master” level of spin. You should use that power for good, Mr. Klein.

That’s absurdly close to the plot for the “Dr. Strange” movie.

So the house is on fire over at the University of Louisville; let’s meet the first responders rushing into that burning building.

First up, The Washington Post and CBS News report the Cardinals named David Padgett the interim head basketball coach. Coach Padgett played center for Louisville and returned as director of basketball operations in 2014.

And ESPN and SB Nation say the university named Vince Tyra as acting athletics director.

Mr. Tyra has not served as an athletics director prior, but sat on the University of Louisville Foundation board and played college ball himself up the road in Lexington.

Said Mr. Tyra:

“My initial concerns when I heard about all this? Frankly, the student-athletes. I’m hopeful that I can provide that leadership to the student-athletes, to the university, to the coaches.”

USA Today says if any college program has ever deserved the “death penalty,” it’s Louisville. Shut ’er down for a couple of years and start over completely.

CBS Sports, on the other hand, says, “It won’t take long for Louisville to recover from scandal if it hires the right coach.”

Both compare the situation at Louisville to the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, which came to light in 2011.

Following last week’s allegations, college basketball analyst Dick Vitale penned a piece for ESPN yesterday: “College basketball needs fixing.”

For more of that kind of insight, I invite you to tune in for “The Adventures of Captain Obvious and No Kidding Boy.” It airs pretty much all the time.

In fact, here’s a preview of the next episode: Louisville’s football team is having trouble with football.

Courtesy of UofL Athletics

Football: Your University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals are not so much with the fighting lately. Or the football. They lost to the Wolfpack of NC State last night, says CBS Sports, 39-25.

That’s all I have to say about that.

No More Free Lunch:
Vanity Fair and Politico say GOP donors are closing their wallets in response to recent legislative failures.

During an event for mega-donors at the home of billionaire Robert Day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told those present that legislation takes time and the president doesn’t understand that as well as he could.

Some people really do not enjoy that answer.

Said retired oil and gas investor Thomas Wachtell, a McConnell donor:

“Anybody who was there knew that I was not happy. And I don’t think anybody was happy. How could you be. You’re never going to get a more sympathetic Republican than I am. But I’m sick and tired of nothing happening.”

In response, some donors are threatening to pull support of candidates, just as we start gearing up for the 2018 primaries. The message they hope to send: if you can’t get things done, we’re going to put our money into challengers and super PACs to get around and ultimately replace you.

New York Magazine put it this way: “The GOP Donor Class Is a Pack of Ungrateful Brats.”

From New York Magazine:

Mitch McConnell could have negotiated a bipartisan agreement to appropriate funds shoring up the Obamacare marketplaces, in exchange for measures granting red states greater regulatory flexibility. Such a bill would have been closer to the substantive preferences of Republican voters than Trumpcare ever was. It would have stabilized the individual market and kept premiums in check. And it would have allowed the GOP to honor the Senate’s procedural norms, and collect the plaudits of the centrist press.

Instead, Senate Republicans chose to serially debase themselves, and their institution, in service of their donor’s fringe ideology.

It’s almost like their saying it’s the donors who are really pulling the strings and we don’t really have a government “for the people, by the people” because our representatives are less concerned with their constituency as they are the folks who bankrolled them into office to pass their own narrow agenda.

Almost.

Les Waters | Courtesy of Actors Theatre

Uncharted Waters: American Theatre reports Les Waters will leave Actors Theatre of Louisville at the close of the 2017-2018 season. After six seasons at the helm, Waters will devote more time to personal projects.

Said Mr. Waters:

“It has been a privilege to lead, along with Jennifer Bielstein and lately Kevin E. Moore, one of America’s great artistic institutions. I am deeply grateful to the board, staff, artists, volunteers, and audiences for all their support. Together we have had considerable success and we’ve made many great shows during my tenure. Actors Theatre is the cornerstone of new American theatre, and I look forward to returning as both a guest artist and visitor to experience its continuing artistic excellence and growth. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Actors Theatre.”

Waters will still lead up festival selection for the 2018-2019 season, announced in February. The board will bring on a firm to help find his replacement.

The Fall Lawrence Solstice: Well, friends — it looks like the biannual Lawrence Solstice is upon us and right on schedule.

For those who may not recall, the Lawrence Solstice marks the rare occurrence when Jennifer Lawrence is farthest from the Earth, leaving little to no media for a given week. It usually hits in six-seven month intervals often following a massive media wave for a big project.

The last Lawrence Solstice happened from March 10-17. When we talked about the phenomenon then, I incorrectly labeled it an annual occurrence, but we now recognize it visits us twice a year.

And as we said before, it’s not as though there’s no media, it’s just dubious. For instance, I have a couple of tabloids with zoomed in photos of her left hand with a ring on her finger, calling for wedding bells with director-boyfriend Darren Aronofsky.

Interestingly enough, during the last Solstice, we had sightings of stories indicating the couple had broken up.

And there’s a piece from Vogue raving about Ms. Lawrence and the latest It bag trend — which is simply carrying two bags.

That’s right.

The “latest styling trick” is just carrying an extra bag.

Who knew coming prepared for international travel could be so on trend?

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.


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