(EDITOR NOTE: TODAY'S ARTICLE BY JARED ANDERSON IS A LOT OF HIS OPINION BUT HE STARTS IT OFF WITH THE BACK STORY AND FACTS. A VERY FINE PIECE OF WRITING TODAY FROM HIM. -- PAULIE)
It's the pone most word that seems to be most common right now. With the fan base, media, observers. Not just Louisville, either
Everyone is shocked about what happened. It's the biggest news ever to hit the college basketball world and it has sent things spiraling out of control.
The country is shocked.
|"DeJuan...you ain't gonna believe this $#!*"|
Chuck Person (Auburn). Emanuel Richardson (Arizona). Lamont Evans Oklahoma St.) and Troy Bland (USC) will be known as the original "Filthy Four" and are the assistant coaches that have now found themselves faced with the distinct possibility that they'll be going from the hardwood to the prison yard.
The allegations state they they took cash bribes to send talented basketball recruits in the direction of certain schools. And agents.
The FBI and US Attorney's Division also stated that there were schools involved with "sportswear companies" and large payments were directed to recruits. The University of Louisville is not directly mentioned in the original allegations. It was, however, later confirmed that UofL was the school that gave a then-unnamed player $100,000 to come play basketball. It didn't take rocket science to figure out it was five-star recruit Brian Bowen...who, as of yesterday, was still on the Belknap campus and seen going into the YUM! Practice Facility .
In a press conference Wednesday, UofL interim president Greg Postal reported that Rick Pitino is on unpaid administrative leave and Tom Jurich is on paid administrative leave. Why the difference? Because of the difference in the nature of their contracts with the University. Postal said yesterday that he hoped to have an interim head basketball coach and an interim athletic in place within 48 hours. That time frame would make it sometime Friday afternoon.
BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER...please note that everything here on out is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of UofL nor the staff and writers here at CARDINAL COUPLE.
First, let's look at and talk about the recruits. These kids don't even have driver's licenses the first time a college basketball coach shows interest in them. They're still living the high school life under their parent or parent's roof. If I were in their shoes and someone offered me $100,000 plus a full ride to go play basketball at any school, I wouldn't hesitate in saying "YES". That money can go a long way for family -- especially for those that are less fortunate. And, most of the recruits don't know any better, anyway. I can't put the blame on them. After all, they are just kids.
Rick Pitino, you must go. Your time has come and gone. Thank you for your 16 years of dedication with the Louisville men's basketball program. However, I do not thank you for three scandals. In fact, your rear end probably should have been gone after the Sypher affair. But, you were successful. Tom Jurich stands behind his coaches.
I will give Pitino the benefit of the doubt on the Katrina Powell/Andre McGee issues where you pleaded ignorance. Evenif I find that hard to believe. But another major scandal involving huge sums of money and you are pleading ignorance again? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I'm not buying it this time. You were the head coach for a highly successful basketball program with a rich and proud heritage and history. You've been known to micromanage. There is "no way in hell" you knew absolutely nothing about this. Please stop threatening to fight this or sue UofL. If you are truly a Louisville First guy, then you should open your eyes and see what's best for this University and just go. No fighting, no whining. After all, you are getting a $4 million buyout.
I umpire baseball. Rick, three strikes and you are out. Go back to the dugout and no lip, please.
Tom Jurich...my best guess is that you are gone also and I support that decision. Giving Pitino chances two and three was ultimately your downfall. You've been known to give out multiple chances before (see Football and Lacrosse). At times, I agree that people deserve a second chance. Bobby Petrino has seemingly turned over a new leaf. Our beloved CARDINAL COUPLE leader Paulie speaks glowingly and positively on the culture and attitude Kellie Young has brought to Lacrosse. They changed and we have benefited from it.
In Pitino's case, though, it's nearly destroyed the reputation of the school.
There's a huge part of me that wants to thank you. Thank you for what you've done for this university. What you've done for UofL's Athletic Department is a true fairytale story. When you first put on the Red and Vlack in 1997, football was in shambles and was nervously building a new stadium with a sub-par coach at the helm.
In the twenty years that you've been here it's unreal how drastically things have changed, mostly for the better. Under your leadership we saw the finishing of Papa John's Cardinal stadium plus two expansions.
We saw the renovation of Owsley B. Frazier Cardinal Park. Ulmer Stadium. The Bass-Rudd Tennis facility, Trager Field, the Ralph Wright Natatorium, the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium, Jim Patterson Stadium, Lynn Stadium, the YUM! Practice Facility, Cardinal Arena renovation, the University Club, the University of Louisville golf club, the boathouse on the Ohio River for rowing, playgrounds, walking tracks, a new student-athletic facility on 4th street and the move from Freedom Hall to the KFC YUM! Center. Have I missed anything?
The way Tom Jurich has built this athletic program is unbelievable. Beside the facilities above (and it's been said that if there's not a crane in the air, Jurich is in despair.) we have seen nothing but the best coaches for each of our sports and not just the big ones.
Paulie tells the story of the early days when he was thinking about a website that features UofL women's sports. He went to two people back in 2008 and asked their opinions. One is no longer a part of UofL athletics but thought it had some merit. You, Tom, gave Paulie a big "thumbs up" and told him that you would be there for him if he ever needed anything. He hasn't ever had to play that "ace in the hole" card -- but it meant and still means a lot to him.
With Cardinal Couple being a UofL women's sports media organization, I do want to especially mention how he helped build women's basketball, field hockey, volleyball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and swimming into well-respected programs. You took a chance on a assistant from Maryland who stuttered a lot and was color-blind to guide the WBB program. You brought in established and well-respected coaches to build softball and lacrosse programs from the ground up. Currently, there are 12 Division I women's programs at UofL. They compete in one of the premier conferences in college athletics. We've gone from the MVC to the ACC.
But, Tom -- it's time for you to go, too. It is unclear how guilty you are in the matter or if you are just the sacrificial lamb or scapegoat in the whole situation, but we need to do what's best for this university and that is...
Cleaning the house thoroughly.
You gave a lot of coaches and players a second chance over the years. You stood by them. Will the administration and board give you the first second-chance you've ever required? Probably not. Your fate rests in the hands of others...something you haven't had to endure in a very long time.
Ah, the fans.
This is the trickiest for us. Beside the student-athletes, we're also getting screwed. As fans we had nothing to do with any of this but it feels like we're being punished the worst. Stress, humiliation, shock, confusion, uncertain, rage and disillusionment. Maybe we need a three-hour therapy session (free admission) in Papa John's in the near future. With an open bar.
One thing I have always said is that "true fans are there through the best and the worst of times." It's great and so much fun to celebrate the "highs" but we also need to be there for the "lows".
Welcome to the "Lows". And I'm not talking about the hardware store, either.
As fans, we are needed now more than ever. There is a university with students, staff, faculty and athletes that are hurting.
Here is my call to the fans. You, me, Paulie and all Cardinal fans. Support all of our athletes, not just men's basketball. They need you right now. Go to games. Go to more games than you normally do. Cheer harder. Cheer louder. It may not takeaway the pain entirely but this can help ease it. We must not give up on the University of Louisville. We are One. We are a FAMILY. WE ARE LOUISVILLE CARDINALS.