Rick Pitino Suing Adidas for Damages Related to Interactions with Recruits

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 19, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Former Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino reportedly filed a lawsuit against Adidas Tuesday alleging the company damaged his reputation.

According to WDRB's Marcus Green, Jason Riley and Travis Ragsdale, Pitino alleged Adidas engaged in "outrageous conduct in conspiring to funnel money to the family of a college basketball recruit."

Furthermore, Tuesday's filing alleges Pitino has been "vilified, ridiculed, and criticized in the local and national media, on social media, and in public and private communications" and that it has become "difficult and painful" for him to appear in public, per WDRB. 

According to ESPN.com, Pitino is seeking unspecified damages. 

The legal action comes three weeks after Pitino was placed on administrative leave by Louisville following the release of a years-long FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball. 

While Pitino was not named directly in the investigation, the New York Times' Marc Tracy reported it implicated "two unidentified Cardinals coaches of directing money provided by the university’s apparel partner, Adidas, to two high school prospects." 

According to the Courier-Journal's Thomas Novelly, Adidas executive James Gatto was a focal point of the investigation, which showed that Louisville—listed as "University-6" by the FBI—helped funnel $100,000 to an unnamed recruit—"Player-10"—who has since been identified as 5-star commit Brian Bowen. 

Citing sources, ESPN.com reported Bowen has since been suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities. 

The athletic department also cleaned house on the bench and instituted David Padgett as its new acting head coach. 

Pitino, 65, was formally let go Monday. 

"We felt our initial decision ... was still in the best interest of the university," Louisville interim president Greg Postel said, according to the Courier-Journal's Jeff Greer and Justin Sayers. "That's why the resolution was put forward and passed."

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