Louisville Cardinals head basketball coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave for one year, following a spate of arrests and new details about a federal investigation into NCAA bribery of new recruits, the university announced Wednesday.
Both Pitino and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich were suspended, effective immediately, by the University of Louisville’s Interim President, Dr. Greg Postel.
“The allegations are serious,” Postel said in a statement. “It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to NCAA rules and, of course, federal law. Doing nothing would be a tacit endorsement of potential criminal and unethical behavior.”
Pitino, the team’s head coach since 2001, has been “effectively fired” according to his lawyer, Steve Pence, The Courier-Journal reported Wednesday.
Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich was suspended with pay.
A federal indictment from FBI and Department of Justice forces resulted in 10 arrests, including four NCAA assistant basketball coaches. Pitino is not explicitly identified in the documents disclosed by New York prosecutors, but appeared in one criminal complaint as “Coach-2,” the Associated Press reported.
The school, however, acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s basketball program was involved in a federal investigation into allegations of widespread bribery of new recruits to the NCAA.
In a statement released Tuesday by his lawyer, Pitino said the allegations from the FBI and the Department of Justice “come as a complete shock to me.”
“Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable,” Pitino said in the statement.
Postel said an interim head men’s basketball coach and interim athletic director could both be appointed within 48 hours.
Long before the FBI took action in its investigation, Pitino had been intimately familiar with scandals as head coach of the Cardinals. The Washington Post reported that Pitino had been embroiled in an adultery and extortion scandal involving a colleague’s wife in 2009, as well as a sex scandal in 2015.
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— The Associated Press and CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.