UPDATE: Louisville Votes to Terminate Pitino’s Contract – Despite an argument from Rick Pitino‘s lawyers before Louisville’s athletics board on Monday, the board voted to terminate Pitino’s contract “with just cause.” Pitino, in an affidavit presented Monday to the University of Louisville Athletic Association, said he “had no part — active, passive or through willful ignorance” in the activities alleged in an FBI investigation. Pitino’s lawyers appeared in front of the ULAA on Monday, stating the Hall of Fame coach’s case against termination. Pitino did not attend the meeting, but his lawyers submitted an affidavit on his behalf. “I do not dispute ULAA’s right to terminate my employment at its discretion,” Pitino’s affidavit stated. “But I vehemently reject its right to do so ‘for cause.’ I have given no ’cause’ for termination of my contract.”
UPDATE: Pitino Took Bulk of Cash in Adidas Deal – Suspended Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino received almost all of the cash that Louisville received from Adidas in the school’s expiring deal with the shoe company, according to a report, though an Adidas spokesperson said all the money in the new deal recently signed is earmarked to the school. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Thursday that Pitino received 98 percent of the cash Louisville was to receive, which is roughly $1.5 million a year for five years through July 1. Adidas spokesperson Katja Schreiber told ESPN that the new deal with the school, a 10-year, $160 million pact that Louisville and the shoe and apparel company announced in late August has different terms.
Louisville Votes to Start Pitino’s Termination – The University of Louisville Athletic Association‘s board unanimously voted Monday to begin the process to terminate Rick Pitino “for cause,” which will take the school off the hook for the $44 million buyout in his contract if it succeeds. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave last week after he was tied to an alleged scheme to funnel $100,000 to the family of five-star recruit Brian Bowen Jr. with cash arranged by Adidas executive Jim Gatto. Attorneys for Pitino, according to WDRB.com, officially served a breach of contract notice to the school on Monday, which means Pitino and the university are likely headed toward a contentious legal battle over the millions he believes he’s owed.
Pitino and Jurich Out At Louisville – Rick Pitino is no longer the men’s basketball coach at Louisville, a source tells ESPN’s Michael Eaves. Athletic director Tom Jurich is also out at Louisville, a source tells ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, after the program was linked to a federal investigation into fraud and corruption in recruiting. Jurich and Pitino met Wednesday morning with Louisville interim president Greg Postel. After the meetings, Postel informed reporters that the school would hold a news conference at 1 p.m. and noted that Pitino and Jurich would not attend. Postel later confirmed Louisville is part of the investigation. It marked the latest case of Pitino and his Louisville program being in the news for impropriety.
NCAA Coaches Among 10 Arrested for Corruption – Federal prosecutors have announced charges of fraud and corruption against 10 people involved in college basketball, including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC. The coaches named in court documents are Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson and USC’s Tony Bland. It was not immediately clear who would represent them at initial court appearances. Other people charged in Manhattan federal court included managers, financial advisers and representatives of a major international sportswear company. Other people named in the documents include James Gatto, director of global sports marketing at Adidas; Merl Code, who recently left Nike for Adidas; Christian Dawkins, an NBA agent who was fired in May from ASM Sports for charging approximately $42,000 in Uber charges on a player’s credit card; Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of The League Initiative and program director of the Adidas-sponsored 1 Family AAU program; Munish Sood, a financial adviser; and Rashan Michel, a former NBA official who founded Thompson Bespoke Clothing, a custom clothier for athletes.
Trojans Blind Long-Snapper Olson Plays on PAT – Blind long-snapper Jake Olson is officially a letter winner at USC. Following a Trojans touchdown that put Saturday’s game against Western Michigan out of reach late in the fourth quarter, Olson came on and snapped for a successful extra point. Western Michigan was aware that Olson was entering the game and did not rush the kick. USC won 49-31. “I loved being out there,” Olson said. “It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever, getting to snap at USC as a football player.” Olson was born with retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer, and he lost his left eye when he was 10 months old. In 2009, at age 12, he learned he needed surgery to remove his right eye, which would completely cost him his vision. Olson officially joined the team in 2015, thanks to a scholarship with the Swim With Mike program, and he has snapped in the past two spring games.
Florida State Star QB Francois Out for Season – It would appear that Florida State‘s worst fears have been realized. Quarterback Deondre Francois is indeed out for the season with a patella tendon injury, according to the Tallahassee Democrat and Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman. Francois is expected to have surgery on his knee on Tuesday, according to the paper. Francois, a redshirt sophomore, had his leg rolled up on while he was being sacked during the fourth quarter of Florida State’s 24-7 loss to Alabama on Saturday in Atlanta. Francois stayed on the ground clutching his left knee and had to be helped off the field. He was put into an air cast on the Florida State sideline and carted off the field.
Ole Miss’ Freeze Quits; Escort-Service Calls Cited – Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigned effective immediately on Thursday night, with the Rebels’ athletic director telling ESPN that school officials found a pattern that included phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service. Assistant head coach Matt Luke, in his sixth season as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, was named interim head coach. Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, in a Thursday night news conference announcing the move, said Freeze, 47, resigned after confirming to him and athletic director Ross Bjork “a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards we expect from the leader of our football team.”