The University of Louisville received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA on Monday, May 4. The NOA is the result of an investigation, which deals with the basketball program’s recruitment of former 5-star prospect Brian Bowen and the Adidas pay-for-play scheme, uncovered by the FBI in the fall of 2017.
Within the NOA, there’s one Level One allegation against Louisville (regarding impermissible benefits), which is the most severe, along with three Level Two allegations — one of which deals with former head coach Rick Pitino.
This is the substance of the Level I violation against Louisville. pic.twitter.com/VBlMRDirZG
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) May 4, 2020
In a release, university president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi and athletic director Vince Tyra addressed the situation and outlined how they plan to proceed. They made notes on the length of the process, along with pointing out that none of the basketball staff members in the allegations are currently employed by the university.
Head coach Chris Mack responded to the matter, too: “I am confident that the University will do what is right, which includes fighting back on those charges that we simply do not agree with, and for which the facts do not substantiate. The future is bright for Cardinal Basketball. Our focus will continue to be on our tremendous student-athletes.”
Louisville’s legal team has already started the process of reviewing the allegations. The university will submit a response within a 90-day window. The release from Dr. Bendapudi and Tyra is copied below:
Today, the University of Louisville received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA regarding the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 men’s basketball program. The issuance of the Notice comes after a nearly two-year long investigation by the NCAA enforcement staff into several college men’s basketball programs, all stemming from a Department of Justice investigation.
The allegations issued against the Louisville men’s basketball program include:
- A Level I allegation that an improper recruiting offer, and subsequent extra benefits to the family of an enrolled student athlete; and a recruiting inducement to a prospective student-athlete’s non-scholastic coach/trainer, were provided by certain individuals, purportedly identified and defined by the NCAA as “representatives of the university’s athletics interests,” none of whom had traditional connections to the University beyond their affiliation with Adidas or professional athlete management entities, as well as by a former assistant coach and a former associate head coach;
- A Level II allegation of recruiting violations by the same two former men’s basketball coaching staff members in providing impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact in the context of recruitment-related activities;
- A Level II allegation that the institution failed to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete;
- A Level II allegation that the former head men’s basketball coach did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance;
It is important to remember that these are allegations—not facts—and the University will diligently prepare a full and comprehensive response and, absent an unforeseen development, submit it within the prescribed ninety-day period. For those allegations that are proven to be factual, the University will take responsibility, as accountability is one of our core Cardinal Principles. However, we will not hesitate to push back where the evidence does not support the NCAA’s interpretations or allegations of charges. UofL has a right and a responsibility to stand up for itself when faced with unfair or unfounded charges and will always act in the best interests of the institution. Our legal team has begun the process of reviewing the Notice and will prepare a thorough response on behalf of the University.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, we are proud of how the University of Louisville has worked hard to transform itself into a model of compliance and ethical conduct and has not shied away from difficult decisions, going well-beyond reforms at any other involved institution.
- The University changed its leadership on campus, in athletics and in the men’s basketball program, as part of a series of personnel, systematic and cultural changes.
- Athletics Compliance now reports outside of athletics directly to the Vice President for Risk Management, Audit and Compliance.
- All counsel for Athletics now reports directly through the office of the University’s General Counsel.
- The University completely revised the Head Coach contract language regarding NCAA compliance expectations, particularly as it relates to Head Coach responsibility.
- The Department of Athletics enhanced rules education and compliance monitoring for all staff.
- Compliance staff provided in-person rules education to the University Board of Trustees and to the ULAA Board.
- Compliance staff provided in-person rules education to the President’s Leadership Team and to other key University offices.
- The Department of Athletics began an ethical leadership series required for all athletics staff.
- The University placed a renewed emphasis on the faculty-led Committee on Academic Performance.
- The University remains committed to complete and transparent reform.
- None of the men’s basketball staff members involved in the allegations remain at the University.
- Neither of the involved men’s basketball prospects referenced in the allegations ever represented UofL in competition.
The University of Louisville will always be guided by our Cardinal Principles and we must keep them front and center when confronting challenges. We will not allow others to define us, as those of us who are a part of this amazing institution know the greatness of the University of Louisville.