The University of Louisville has announced additional self-imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program in the wake of an escort's allegations, reducing scholarships for the 2017-19 seasons and restricting official recruiting visits and recruiting opportunities for staff.
The school announced Feb. 5 a postseason ban for the Cardinals after its investigation into allegations a former staffer hired an escort and other dancers to entertain recruits and players determined that violations did occur.
A release on Wednesday stated Louisville will lose one scholarship in each of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with official visits reduced by one each in 2016-17 and ’17-18.
Several investigations are ongoing into Louisville's program, including one by the NCAA. The governing body is expected to interview Louisville Coach Rick Pitino this month about Katina Powell's allegations revealed in October.
Louisville coaches also have 30 fewer days to recruit prospects, a 24 percent reduction.
The release said the decision was reached through a “collaborative process” between Louisville President James Ramsey and several investigative committees; Chuck Smrt of The Compliance Group; Athletic Director Tom Jurich; and Pitino.
University counsel Steve Thompson said in the release that after much deliberation, “the University believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate. While the University could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do and may advance the University's goal of expediting resolution of this matter.”
Louisville's athletic department is also taking additional steps to improve oversight of the program and ensure compliance with NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference rules, the release added.
The school plans no further comment until the conclusion of the NCAA's enforcement process. Ramsey thanked faculty and staff that helped in the decisions and cited Jurich and Pitino in particular in the release. The president said that “their integrity and decisive leadership have served the university well during these challenging times.”
Powell alleged in the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” that former staffer Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players' Billy Minardi Hall dormitory. Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities Powell described in the book and said during an interview last month that he saw “nothing unusual” during occasional visits to the dorm. He has vowed not to resign in the wake of the scandal but said he would use part of the offseason to mull his future with the program, as he does after every season.
Drew to coach Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has lured Bryce Drew away from his alma mater at Valparaiso to coach the Commodores men's basketball team.
The Commodores announced the hiring Wednesday with a series of tweets on their Twitter account starting with video of their mascot welcoming Drew at the airport. That was followed by a photo of Drew with athletic director David Williams and then a post asking fans to welcome their new coach.
Drew will be Vanderbilt's 27th head coach and will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Drew, 41, just won a school-record 30 games in his fifth season as head coach at Valparaiso, which ended with a loss to George Washington in the NIT championship. Drew is 124-49 overall with two NCAA tournament berths in his tenure.
He takes over a Vanderbilt program that went 19-14 under Kevin Stallings, who left for Pittsburgh on March 27.
Michigan sophomore Aubrey Dawkins is transferring to Central Florida to play for his father. Johnny Dawkins was hired as UCF's coach last month after being fired by Stanford, and now the 6-foot-6 Aubrey is set to join him. Aubrey Dawkins started 22 games in two seasons at Michigan. He averaged 6.5 points a game this season. ... Point guard Tyler Ulis became the third Kentucky player to join the exodus to the NBA when he announced his intention to turn pro. The 5-9 Ulis was a first team All-American after averaging 17.3 points, seven assists and a team-high 37 minutes a game while breaking John Wall's single-season school record for assists with 246. ...
Former UConn basketball player Donyell Marshall has been hired as head coach at Central Connecticut. Marshall replaces Howie Dickenman, who retired following a 4-25 season, his 20th season at the school. ... Virginia Tech says sophomore shooting guard Jalen Hudson has asked for, and been granted, his release from the program. Hudson appeared in 67 games in two seasons, including 27 starts. He averaged 8.4 points and 2.3 rebounds this season. ... Murray Wier, the first Iowa basketball player to be named a first-team All-American, died Wednesday in Georgetown, Texas. He was 89.