Both Sides of the Rick Pitino Mess

straitpinkieCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 29:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals looks on against the Michigan State Spartans during the fourth round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The This Thing Is a Big Deal, Now What? Side

Pitino Steps In It Big Time; What Happens Next? 

Rick Pitino has really stepped in it. The man is the biggest celebrity here in this city and until recently had a stellar reputation during his tenure as Louisville basketball coach. Let’s review just what has come out and what we think is fact (I’m not going to address any rumors):

-In 2003, Rick Pitino had sex in with Karen Sypher in Porcini’s restaurant.
-As a result of that encounter, Pitino impregnated Sypher.
-Sypher and Pitino met to discuss how to handle the situation.
-Sypher said she was going to have an abortion.
-Pitino gave her the money to cover the procedure.
-Sypher divorces her husband, Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher.
-Sypher attempts to extort $10 million from Pitino.
-Pitino reports the attempted extortion to the authorities.
-After being charged with extortion, Sypher alleges Pitino raped her twice in 2003.
-Sypher claims one of the encounters was on a day when Pitino was proven to be in California.
-No one believes Sypher’s claims of rape.

Here is what we know, or at least what we think we know: Pitino is a sleazebag and Sypher engaged in criminal activity. While I am not trying to debate the merits of Pitino versus Sypher, I am trying to say Pitino is not a criminal for his involvement in this ordeal. However, Pitino takes a huge PR hit in this thing.

If the story was simply Pitino had sex with Sypher, then I think this thing goes away quickly without much publicity. However, the story being what it is, I think it may be too much for athletic director Tom Jurich to stand idly by and ignore.

As of right now, I have not heard any plans for a press conference by either Jurich or Pitino, and with the upcoming trial involving Sypher I doubt there will be one soon because of the legalities.

Rick Pitino has been the University of Louisville head basketball coach for eight seasons. In his time here, he’s rebuilt the basketball program, spearheaded financing for the YUM! Center, drove the push for the new basketball arena, and been a great ambassador for the university. 

And those things cannot be ignored, but the bottom line is, this thing will harm the Louisville basketball program, the only question is how much.

Athletic director Tom Jurich is in a very tough spot. Up until two years ago, Jurich was infallible, but with the disappointment that has been the Steve Kragthorpe era, Jurich has seen his invincibility questioned. And during the two years of sub-par football, Jurich has consistently lauded the efforts of Kragthorpe to clean up the football program (and rightfully so in my opinion).

However, with this Pitino thing, it does beg the question: Do you keep your basketball coach, a legendary and still successful one, after cheating on his wife, impregnating the woman, and financing her abortion,while doing nothing wrong legally?

Or do you say: I appreciate all you’ve done for our program and university, but this is such a big thing we cannot overlook it. We are committed to doing things the right way, we cannot have this distract our current team, and we cannot have it negatively affect our program as a whole and the direction we are trying to go as an athletic department. Therefore, we think it’s best if you step down.

If I am Tom Jurich (and for the record I am not), I choose the latter. Here’s why: This entire thing will hurt the program too much in my opinion to just ride it out. If Pitino stays on for the 2009-2010 season, he will face constant questioning about this, the player’s will face constant questioning, and the road games will be borderline unbearable for all associated with Louisville.

While I don’t think it will hurt recruiting too much, at least right now, I do believe it will hinder Pitino’s ability to recruit effectively at the highest level down the road.

Having said that, if the decision is made to ask Pitino to step down, there must be a replacement plan. While I have no idea what Tom Jurich or the UofL administration is thinking, and quite honestly it is way too early to speculate, I know what I would do.

After Pitino steps down, I would have Ralph Willard coach the team on an interim basis for the upcoming season. The man has won over 300 games as a head coach and for a brief period, he can get the job done.

However, the main benefit to having Willard coach is there will be a minimal amount of questioning regarding the Pitino ordeal as the story will follow Pitino and not the program. If Pitino removes himself from the situation, he will spare the team of having to deal with HIS issue. 

Plus, there will be a full season to narrow the coaching search, pinpoint the top candidates, and make overtures towards the candidates in order to expedite the process.

I believe Rick Pitino is one of the top five coaches in college basketball and he has done a great deal for the University of Louisville. However, this Karen Sypher deal can hurt the program too much in my opinion. I am not saying this cannot be overcome, it probably can, but I think it is time to start the process on his replacement.


The This Thing Isn't That Big of Deal, Let's Move On Side

Karen Sypher Takes a Ride on The Slick Rick Disco Stick (sans Rubber)

Now I’ve been forced to write a post about this. I wanted to leave it at the seven sentences I originally addendumed to Guy’s post on the facts coming out. Those were:

“Rick Pitino likes women. I don’t blame him. They are stunning inventions. This story has zero effect on Rick Pitino’s coaching abilities. I don’t think there was anyone out there that didn’t think Slick Rick railed Sypher. I’ve said all along I don’t care about this because it is his personal life and I have no business bein’ ‘all up in it’. That said, hopefully now that the facts are out this can all go away.”

However, to everyone who cares waaaay to much about this I say:
WHY DO YOU CARE??????!!!!!!!!

Can you all please GET OUT OF MY BEDROOM!?!?

Can you all please GET OUT OF MY BEDROOM!?!?

Pitino has done nothing wrong, nothing illegal. NOTHING. In response to my colleague Miller’s post about this I say:

Why does Pitino no longer have a stellar reputation??

Since when does who you have consensual sex with do damage to your reputation???

Why is Pitino a sleazebag??? HE. DID. NOTHING. Except get him some in a Porcini’s restaurant. Given the chance, if there was a broad I found hot that wanted to bump uglies in a restaurant, I’m fairly certain there would be zero hesitation on my part.

So Sypher said she was going to have an abortion (her choice) and Pitino paid for it. Again, nothing illegal and THEIR PRIVATE BUSINESS.

Miller correctly points out that Jurich now has two questions to consider: 1. “Do you keep your basketball coach, a legendary and still successful one, after cheating on his wife, impregnating the woman, and financing her abortion, while doing nothing wrong legally?” Or 2. “….We are committed to doing things the right way….it’s best if you step down…”

First of all, question No. 1 should end at “..and still successful one.” Cheating on his wife, impregnating the woman, and financing her abortion are irrelevant and inconsequential. AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Secondly, my esteemed colleague chose the latter…. SAY WHA?? What is “the right way”??? All those who are throwin’ stones at Pitino and judging him based on what they presume to be the right way because it is their way and their moral standards are the sleazebags. And hypocritical ones at that.

Why do we need to remove Pitino so he can deal with HIS issue? Why not leave him alone, and let him deal with HIS personal issue on HIS own personal time? Besides, this isn’t even an issue, never was.

****Just had a mid-post change of heart****

Actually, I think we should care and do have a right to know.

I demand Slick Rick release the times and dates of every sexual encounter he’s ever had, along with the girls’ names and photos.

I think the public deserves to know in what position did Sypher take the Slick Rick Disco Stick?? Standing up?? From behind??

Who was the first to teach Rick that the Dove is the bird of peace and love, but the bird of true love is the ’swallow’??

Who was the first girl that he finger-banged??

And why stop there? Why was he cheating on his wife? Was it cuz she refused to groom her cooch and he demanded she trim it into, at the maximum, a landing strip? Was it because she refused to take it in the butt?




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