University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino received a five-game ACC suspension on Thursday for his role in the Cardinals’ prostitute scandal, the NCAA announced.
Pitino will miss the first five conference games of the 2017-18 season as a result, and noted Louisville received four years of probation.
Louisville must also vacate wins that involved ineligible players, though it’s currently unclear if that applies to the Cardinals’ 2013 national championship.
Louisville president Greg Postel released a statement saying the school will appeal the sanctions, calling the punishment “excessive.”
Attorney Scott Tompsett released a statement on Pitino, per Nicole Auerbach of USA Today:
The Cardinals previously self-imposed sanctions related to the situation, which was brought to light in a book by former escort Katina Powell in 2015. She said former Louisville staff member Andre McGee hired her and others for recruits and players.
A postseason ban as well as a reduction in scholarships and recruiting trips by assistant coaches were among the sanctions the program voluntarily put in place, according to the AP.
Last March, Pitino appeared on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike and stated he felt the proper people were in place to prevent such an issue, per ESPN.com.
“You have your dorm security people, who are being interviewed by the NCAA, then you have your graduate assistants,” Pitino said. “One unfortunate one was Andre McGee, whose sole responsibility was to make sure the kids get to school on time, make sure they get up in the mornings when they have a presentation or breakfast with a head coach or family.”
He added: “And then we have another graduate assistant. So the problem we had is, we did have people in place. And the one person we did have in place, whose sole responsibility was to make sure they do the right things, and unfortunately that was Andre McGee. That was the problem there.”
Jeff Goodman of ESPN noted McGee received a 10-year show-cause penalty Thursday.
Louisville sat out the 2016 postseason as part of its self-imposed ban. The Cardinals returned to the NCAA tournament last season, losing to Michigan in the second round.