September 27, 2017, 3:29 pm
Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on leave following brief face-to-face meetings with interim president Gregory Postel on Wednesday.
Pitino's attorney called the move a firing and the coach will be unpaid on terms of what Louisville said was "effective discharge," according to Pitino's lawyer.
Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave until a university Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Oct. 16, where it is likely he will be fired.
Pitino reportedly stands to lose $44 million remaining on his existing contract, per Yahoo Sports, if fired with cause. According to his contract, Pitino must be given 10 days' notice before any firing can be official.
The monumental moves came one day after an FBI probe alleging coaches, agents and financial advisers linked to several different universities bribed collegiate basketball players. Louisville announced Tuesday it was informed the university was a focal point of the investigation.
Jurich was disciplined first Wednesday morning following a very brief meeting with Postel. Upon Jurich's exit, Pitino entered the president's office and walked out expecting it could be one of his final days at Louisville.
"I'm more angry than embarrassed," Postel said at Wednesday's news conference in reaction to the federal bribery investigation. "We will be looking for someone with integrity. There's no reason this team can't have a good season.
"It is vital for this university to strictly adhere to the NCAA rules and of course federal law. Failure to do that would be a tacit endorsement of criminal behavior."
Pitino on Tuesday said in a statement he was not aware of the fraud and corruption charges that brought the FBI to the campus as part of a national probe launched by the United States Department of Justice.
"These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino said in a statement. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorneys Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."
One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.
Already on probation for a scandal involving strippers and escorts entertaining recruits and other players in dorm rooms -- Pitino also said last year he was unaware of those actions -- the Louisville basketball program could face severe penalties depending on the outcome of the current investigation.
In a formal complaint released Tuesday before a press conference in New York, the FBI alleges Adidas director of global sports marketing James Gatto, Adidas employee Merl Code, former agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood aligned to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly touted recruit.
Jurich's daughter, 26-year-old Haley Marie Jurich, works for Adidas as NCAA brand communication manager. She posted on her LinkedIn profile and Facebook that she was hired in March. Adidas and Louisville struck a contract extension with the apparel company worth $160 million over the summer.
According to multiple reports, the highly touted recruit is five-star Louisville commit Brian Bowen, although he is not named -- nor is Pitino -- in the complaint.
When discussing Bowen's surprise commitment this summer, when Bowen went away from an expected commitment to Michigan State or DePaul, Pitino said Louisville had good fortune.
"We got lucky on this one," Pitino said. "I had an AAU director call me and say, 'Would you be interested in a basketball player?' I said, 'Who?' And I said, 'Yes.' I saw him play against another great player from Indiana and I said, 'Yeah, I'd be really interested.' But they had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotels, pay for their meals. So we spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40-some-odd years of coaching, this is the luckiest I've been."
Dawkins allegedly told investigators a Louisville coach instructed him to pay Bowen's family.