Louisville Cardinals Basketball

Rick Pitino's Shame

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 29:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals walks with his head down 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)
Ryne E. HancockCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2009

When Rick Pitino came to Louisville in 2001, it was probably the biggest thing to hit Louisville since the first Kentucky Derby.

After so many years of torment as the “little brother” of Kentucky, the U of L hits a homer, allowing Pitino, who had an unforgettable run in Boston as head coach of the Celtics, to return to the Commonwealth, thereby tipping the tables in power in Kentucky.

Since 2001, the Cardinals have been in the Final Four, appeared in three Sweet 16s, and two Elite Eights, while making the transition from Conference USA to the Big East a smooth one for the program, topping that off with a school-record 33 wins in 2008-09 and a Big East title in 2007-08.

Not only that, Pitino’s name alone has brought notable recognition to the Falls City in his time in Louisville and with his presence at the Kentucky Derby and other events would have made him a shoo-in to run for mayor of the city.

Reminds you of anyone?

Anytime you represent a university, you have to not only represent it on the court, but off the court as well.

Thanks to a decision by Pitino in a restaurant, a rather dumb one at that, Pitino’s good name in Louisville could be soiled because of something called the morality clause in his contract.

According to the Tennessean, anytime Pitino does something to embarrass the university and it garners media attention, the University of Louisville has the right to fire Pitino on those grounds.

Example of such would be cheating on your wife, having sex with a woman in a restaurant and then paying $3,000 for an abortion.

I understand wholeheartedly that Pitino deserves forgiveness. Trust me, none of us are perfect.

But anytime you do something like this and you represent the university in a high-profile manner, then maybe the morality clause in your contract should take effect and slap you in the face.

Personally, I don’t want to see Pitino fired. He’s done a great job with bringing back the glory of the program, but looking at the broad picture of this ugly episode, the university and Pitino needs to make a decision before practices start in October.

And if they fire him, then that itself is going to present a boatload of problems for incoming recruits and players.

Oh well.

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