Suspended: The NCAA suspended University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino for Louisville’s first five Atlantic Coast Conference games next season in relation to allegations the program used escorts to incentivize recruitment, reports NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and The Chicago Tribune.
Those allegations date back to 2015, with the publication of Katina Powell’s tell-all, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” Powell claimed former University of Louisville director of basketball operations Andre McGee contracted her to arrange illicit parties for potential recruits.
The University gave itself a self-imposed ban on post-season play last season in response to the investigation. The NCAA considered that and other self-imposed penalties in its punishment, but weighed further penalties.
NCAA.com provides statements from the panel:
“Without dispute, NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts for prospects, enrolled student-athletes and/or those who accompany them to campus.”
“NCAA members agree that schools must provide a safe, healthy and positive environment for their student-athletes, not only academically, but in all facets of their lives. The former operations director, the individual entrusted to keep order at Minardi Hall, created an environment that has no place on a college campus and was directly at odds with college athletics and higher education.”
That first one, about rules not allowing stripteases for prospects, probably isn’t worded in the rulebook that way just yet, but I bet it’s coming. Every warning and rule you see out there comes from somebody doing the thing they’re saying not to do. So people have been angry enough to shake the soda machine to the point of catastrophe and someone has once said, “Well, space is limited. You know what? I’ll put the baby in the storage tub for now.”
All things considered, the five game suspension, which is getting a lot of the headlines, pales in comparison to another penalty. ESPN, USA Today and Yahoo! Sports report the NCAA has also demanded “a vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014.” That includes the 2013 National Championship.
So this is tough.
There’s more. Additional punishments include a four-year probation, a reduction in scholarships, a $5,000 fine.
The university will appeal.
Said coach Pitino:
“We sat down and made some very tough decisions a year ago in imposing those penalties and it did severely hurt our program. And none of us do not feel extreme remorse, regret in everything that — what went on inside that dormitory. We’ve said that many, many times.”
“But this is over the top. It’s to the point where it’s not even conceivable what I just read. We believe we will win the appeal because it’s right and it’s just.”
“I know the committee was sickened by it but so were we, but we did not deserve what they gave us and that’s the bottom line. They made a very large mistake.”
Coach Pitino, from start to finish, says he had no knowledge of anything related to the allegations; USA Today says the NCAA says that doesn’t matter. It’s not what he knew, it’s what he should have known.
And this ruling is having broader implications. Other programs under investigation — Ole Miss and North Carolina — are on notice of what’s headed their way, says Sports Illustrated. They quote former NCAA Committee on Infractions chair Gene Marsh: “The penalty structure now is far more fixed and there’s far less windage in it. The significant flexibility that used to exist no longer exists.”
Maker’s Mark: Forbes takes a look at “where manufacturing is thriving in the U.S.” this week, naming the top cities for industrial growth in 2016. No. 1 on the list: Louisville, Ky.
Since 2011, manufacturing employment in the metropolitan area has expanded 30.2% to a total of 83,300 jobs, led by a resurgent auto industry that accounts for 27,000 jobs in the area. Due to a slowdown in auto sales, the job count may be peaking, but the hub of the Bluegrass State has had a pretty good ride.
To compile the list, Forbes ranked 357 statistical areas based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, looking at recent trends, long-term growth and momentum.
Dave Armstrong: U.S. News & World Report notes the death of former Louisville mayor and Kentucky attorney general Dave Armstrong this week. He was 75.
Mr. Armstrong had myasthenia gravis, a debilitating chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease.
Mr. Armstrong was the last mayor of the old city of Louisville prior to merger of Louisville and Jefferson County in 2003 and played a key role supporting the ballot measure.
Andrew Melnykovych worked with Armstrong at the state Public Service Commission.
“He knew full well that if the (consolidation) referendum passed, it could mean the end of his career in elective office, but he set his personal considerations aside because he believed merger was the best thing for the community.”
Mr. Armstrong decided not to run against fellow Democrat Jerry Abramson, longtime mayor of the old city of Louisville, who went on to become the first mayor post-merger.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said of Mr. Armstrong:
“He had a vision for a vibrant downtown and passion for Louisville being a great place to live, work and play. And his dreams were realized.”
Godspeed, Mr. Armstrong.
The plane departed Louisville for Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on Saturday. About halfway through, somewhere between 31,000 and 38,000 feet depending on reports, the pilot reported a problem: one of the engines had failed. The pilots plotted an emergency landing in Buffalo, N.Y., during which the second engine failed.
A representative for Ms. Lawrence said in a statement:
“While in the middle of the unscheduled landing, the other engine failed. Despite the double-engine failure, the pilots landed the plane safely.”
And no one was hurt. Which is the best non-story kind of story really. Plane had problems, but it didn’t crash and no one was hurt. It’s the double-engine failure that gets some attention here and the FAA is investigating.
To that end, I did a bit more digging and came across a message board for pilots. They’re a snarky bunch, but it seems this particular plane, the Beechjet 400A, has had a history with this kind of issue. According to Aviation International News, this is the fifth in-flight engine flameout for a Beechjet, including three double-engine failures.
But Scott Wise, CEO of Travel Management Company, operator of the Beechjet, said that’s not what happened here. He says they landed and taxied and guesses that someone hearing the right engine power down, they assumed another failure. He suggests that a celebrity onboard might have led some media outlets to run with the story.
And he’s kind of right about that. Of all the stories I came across, only ABC News bothered to talk to anyone in aviation. And their expert said something along the lines of, “When both engines fail, it’s bad.”
Which we might have been able to piece together on our own.
A few outlets run the FAA’s statement:
“A Hawker Beechcraft B40 aircraft landed safely at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York at about 1:40 pm on Saturday. The crew diverted to Buffalo when they declared an emergency due to engine-related issues. The flight was heading to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey from Louisville, Kentucky. The FAA will investigate.”
But that says nothing about a double-engine failure, only engine-related issues. So the other outlets are just talking to the publicist, maybe. And the publicist is doing what a publicist is supposed to do, but maybe we could dig a little further is all I’m saying.
We say goodnight to Adam West this week. He was 88. Mr. West was the man who brought Batman to the small screen and is still — Keatons and Bales notwithstanding — the guy many think of when they think of the character.
Burt Ward, who played Robin, remembers Mr. West on CNN:
Said Mr. West of his iconic role:
“What I loved about Batman was his total lack of awareness when it came to his interaction with the outside world.
“He actually believed nobody would recognize him on the phone when he was Bruce Wayne, even though he made no attempt to disguise his voice.”
I leave you with the 1966 classic: Batman v. shark:
Godspeed, Mr. West. You brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.
See you next week.