The question of the day for UofL athletics seems to be, "So... What now?" Everyone wants to know what happens next, whether that be with basketball, baseball, or any other sport in between.The answer to this question in many situations is vague, but I will do what I can to provide my thoughts on the coming days/weeks/months ahead.
The star of the show right now is basketball. That's a shame because the baseball team is currently in Omaha, Nebraska, on the cusp of fighting for a championship. However, news breaks when it breaks. It doesn't wait for it to be convenient. I remember when the story first broke. It was early on a fall Saturday morning. My friends and I were piled in a Corolla on our way to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game. News related to stories like this has a way of taking over. I challenge Cardinal fans to push it aside, at least for a couple of more weeks, while the Cardinal IX fight for their first title.
|The Cardinal Brass during their press conference. |
By the way, waiting a couple of weeks for this to envelope your thoughts will hardly make you miss anything. The answer to "what now" in the basketball saga is more waiting. Louisville fans waited for the official announcement for months, hoping that the day the NCAA finally came up with something would be the day this all ended. We were wrong, and now we must continue to wait. We would be waiting 45 days regardless, as that is the amount of time Louisville officially has to respond to the vacation of records infraction. However, Louisville didn't even wait for their scheduled press conference to announce that they would be appealing every aspect of the handed down sanctions. The appeals process has specific timelines, and I would expect that the NCAA and University will follow them to ensure that a hiccup in this process doesn't swing the appeal in their opponents favor.
Personally, I'm not very confident in the appeal. I think that what was done was terrible. There is no way around it, and if someone tells you otherwise, they're a fool. Andre McGee took advantage of players', recruits', other coaches', and the University's trust. And he did a terrible thing with that advantage. However, Louisville did what they thought was right to rectify the situation and the NCAA, claiming "no precedent," ignored it all and handed down extreme punishments. To those saying, "the punishments should be worse," what exactly does worse mean? Did you want the men's basketball program at UofL to be shut down? I know the acts were bad and gross and the details of the situation make me want to gag, but I hardly think that is warranted. That said, I think Louisville will lose this appeal because it's through the NCAA, and they make up all the rules themselves.
Losing the appeal won't end it all for Louisville, though. I anticipate them taking this to a legal court. I don't exactly know what their plan will be there, but they won't be the first school to pursue this route following NCAA sanctions. Penn State and Miami also took the NCAA to court over their punishments and won, at least partially. Louisville says they are appealing the verdict on all counts, but that doesn't mean they won't compromise, taking the fines, Pitino suspension, and probation in return for scholarship losses and vacation of records. They'll fight this hard.
So the answer to the question for basketball is that we kick back, wait, and see what happens. You, oh humble fan, can do nothing to affect this situation. I encourage you to put it out of your mind, enjoy the other sports we have still going on and the fall sports coming up, and ride it out.
Dan McDonnell has his team hot this postseason. We've talked about it many times. The Cards are 6-1 this postseason, with their only loss coming against a Florida State team that they've had trouble with all year and can't possibly see again until a championship matchup. Brendan McKay became the highest UofL baseball draft pick when he went fourth (after turning down a deal for first) and then won yet another college baseball award. McKay has been named the Player of the Year by every publication that has announced such an award and, although he is trailing in the fan voting for the Golden Spikes, it would be a shock for him not to win. McKay will be the starter for the Cards tomorrow against Texas A&M.
"So... What now?" Louisville will look to do what they haven't done before--win their opening game at the CWS. Choosing to pitch your lefty Ace against a lineup where lefties are the best hitters is Dan's start to that goal. We saw McKay work against left-handed hitters against Kentucky last week and everyone supporting the Cards will be hoping for a similar result.
What about the players? Louisville had eight players selected in the MLB draft this week. We know for sure that McKay (1, 4) and Ellis (2, 44) will sign their deals and be gone before they've exhausted their college eligibility. Louisville will lose their seniors, and those that were drafted will hopefully rise through the ranks. The Cards also lost a member of their incoming freshman class. Jo Adell, from Louisville's Ballard High School was selected to the Angels' organization with the tenth overall pick. He has already signed his contract with the organization. The rest of the players, including Kade McClure and Lincoln Henzman, have a decision to make. I honestly couldn't tell you what that decision might be for many of the players.
I do know that they're all focused on the College World Series first and foremost. Louisville opens play tomorrow against TAMU at 2PM on ESPN.
|Enjoy your summer as much as Olaf would.|
The rest of the sports have entered into the summer period. Fall sports are ratcheting up summer training, whether that is organized team activity or individual work in the dead period. The spring sports are just getting into the swing of their offseason, but they are likely working on perfecting their craft as well. Construction continues around campus, improving facilities and renovating offices. Some of these projects will be done this season, like volleyball, and some will be an eyesore for the rest of the year, like football. No matter, Louisville facilities expanding only means good things for the teams' current successes and their future successes in recruiting.
"What now for me?"
You, my dear readers, can now turn your attention to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We will, of course, discuss nearly all of what I mentioned in this article. By tuning in, you can hear a few more of my thoughts on the matters at hand than I've already told you. Jeff and I will be joined by the recovering Paulie and the ever lively Jared Anderson. This will be a show you don't want to miss. Tune into 100.9 WCHQ, the WCHQ app, or crescenthillradio.com at 11AM for our madness. My ability to follow FCC rules will be put through the ringer.
Until next time, as always, Go Cards!