The so called city game. But out in the mid section, in rural Indiana and Kentucky, it is popular beyond belief. The high school tourney in each state is fervently followed, as popularized by the film Hoosiers. And at the college level, the teams have rabid followings of a fan base that is far beyond the alumni.
Part of this may be because both states pretty much sucked at football, Indiana being the doormat of the Big 10 and Kentucky the doormat of the SEC for years. And, neither state had professional sports for most of their history. Indiana-no-place managed to steal the Colts and grab a basketball franchise in the last few decades, but in the blue grass state the school game still reigns supreme.
Kentucky itself is a land of incongruities
One of the border states during the Civil War, it was split almost exactly 50/50 between North and South, sending roughly equal amounts of troops to fight for both sides. After the war, however, the state leaned Southern, somehow managing to join the losing side after they had already lost.
The state is also massively Baptist, with over 90 percent of its counties dry—selling no liquor—because of this. Yet with most of the population dedicated to a religion that forbids drinking, smoking and gambling, the state is best known for fine bourbon, moonshine, burley tobacco, and horse racing...in other words, drinking, smoking and gambling.
The states big time college basketball is similarly split. On one hand, you have the University of Louisville . Representing a city that is decidedly non-Baptist and is known as a party town, U of L has a history that includes two national championships, the 18th best record in college hoops overall, and numerous NCAA appearances. Pretty good.
But they are not the big dog in town
That would be Kentucky. The Wildcats are the holder of the most all-time victories in college hoops, both in all time wins and in winning percentage. The team also leads the NCAA in tournament games, tournament appearances, and has won seven titles, second only to UCLA.
And boy does Louisville hate em’
And vice versa.
Enter, stage right, Rick Pitino. An eye-talian raised on Long Island, his accent alone makes him noticeable in a state whose license plates should read “Eight million people, Five last names.”
Pitino came as the coach of Kentucky, stayed there eight years, and won a national championship. Quit, went and tried the NBA, and failed miserably up in Boston. So came back to the college game as coach of Louisville, where he’s been for the last eight years with great success.
So what do you do in a basketball crazy state, where you have coached BOTH of the leading programs, and pretty much defines the term “buckle of the Bible Belt”?
Shag a gal in a public restaurant
Knock her up. Then pay for her abortion. And wonder why people are upset at you.
Pitino, married daddy of five, admitted to having had a sexual encounter with Karen Cunagin Sypher in 2003 in a Louisville restaurant, Porcini, but insisted that it was consensual.
Several weeks later, she told Pitino that she was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion, but she did not have health insurance. Pitino paid her $3,000 for an abortion. In addition, Cunagin stated that her estranged husband, Tim Sypher, was paid to marry her.
At a press conference, Pitino made a statement and apologized for the affair and stated that he would remain as coach. While Pitino's contract allows for his firing for "acts of moral depravity or misconduct that damages the university's reputation," University of Louisville president James Ramsey announced, on August 13, 2009, that Pitino would be retained in his position.
Pitino demanded in a press conference that the media stop "reporting these lies." The conference was reportedly called against the recommendations of the University of Louisville and the Louisville police department.
OK, so knocking up a girl after doing her in a public restaurant is not moral depravity or misconduct
And the press should stop reporting lies when you’ve admitted that everything they are saying is true.
Well, either someone’s been smoking some kind skunk, or we’re like Alice in Wonderland through the looking glass. Because after all, it’s not how you play the game, it’s the winning that counts, right?
But I wonder if a professor that acted similarly would not be reprimanded? Never mind some kid on the team.
Can you say "hypocrisy?" Sure ya can.