NCAA suspends Louisville' Pitino after escort investigation

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Also included was a vacation of basketball records while ineligible players competed from December 2010 to July 2014.

The ruling from the NCAA Committee on Infractions is the culmination of an investigation that dated back to late August 2015, when Louisville was first informed of a book written by escort Katina Powell that alleged former basketball staffer Andre McGee paid for dances and sex on behalf of players and recruits. Depending on the school's findings, the program might have to forfeit its Big East titles in 2012 and '13, their 2012 Final Four appearance and most importantly, the 2013 national championship, an 82-76 win over MI that took place during the period of alleged improprieties.

Nothing UofL could have said or did would have placated the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The key will be whether the NCAA rules that Cardinals players from either of those seasons had previously received impermissible benefits that would render them ineligible. And, though we won't know for certain until an appeal is heard, it doesn't appear it's going to work for Louisville's Rick Pitino either.

"The entire U of L community is saddened by what took place", Postel said. "What went on [the NCAA's ruling] was unjust, inconceivable".

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"We sat down and made some very tough decisions a year ago in imposing those penalties and it did severely hurt our program", Pitino said at a news conference Thursday. The NCAA's infractions panel said it also accepted that self-imposed penalty.

Read the NCAA statement here.

"The operations director arranged adult entertainment and/or sex acts for 15 prospects, three enrolled student athletes, a friend visiting with one of the prospects and two non-scholastic coaches".

Furthermore, Louisville will be on probation for four years, have scholarships reduced and forfeit money received through conference revenue sharing for the NCAA Tournaments from 2012-15. Additionally, the university will have no more than a total of 16 visits during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years (self-imposed by the university).

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The panel had harsh comments about McGee's actions in its decision.

Pitino hired McGee and placed him in Minardi Hall, the dorm where the basketball team resided. Powell went on to write a book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen" in 2015 that revealed many of these allegations. The NCAA had said it in an earlier response to the school that Pitino didn't seem to want to know what his assistant was doing.

But Postel repeated his support of Pitino on Thursday. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA agrees.

"The former director of men's basketball operations was the head coach's "watchdog" in the dormitory and an extension of the head coach", the report stated. The Hall of Fame coach and the school had denied that allegation. It imposed a postseason ban in 2015-2016 season, but participated in last season's Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Tournaments.

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The former operations director also violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he did not cooperate and refused to consent to interviews or provide requested records to the NCAA enforcement staff during the investigation. He says leaders "ask for forgiveness for what happened, for what one of your employees did, you're extremely contrite". I suppose we'll find out more in the hours to come.

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