Louisville Basketball Announces Further Sanctions Stemming from Escort Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2016

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino sends a play in to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Louisville Ky. Louisville won 72-58. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

The University of Louisville announced further sanctions Wednesday as a result of the escort scandal involving the men's basketball team.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported Louisville will eliminate two scholarships, one in 2017-18 and one in 2018-19, and two official visits while reducing its recruiting days by 30. The Cardinals had already been forced the miss the 2016 postseason after a self-imposed ban.

Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com passed along the school's release:

Matt Norlander @MattNorlander

Louisville’s statement/latest update on NCAA investigation. Scholarship reductions, recruiting and visits also pared https://t.co/gLP21uVXZ9

Marissa Payne of the Washington Post noted in October that Katina Powell, who brought the allegations to light in her book Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, stated on The View that she previously tried to alert the NCAA about the issues:

I called the NCAA and I tried to tell them my story. I was asking them, what should I do? Who should I go to and talk to? They wouldn't give me any assistance. They didn't want to talk, they didn't want to hear about a college basketball team.

The NCAA did end up opening an investigation last fall. Louisville's self-imposed penalties are an attempt to handle the situation internally before the regulatory body acts on its own. The statement released Wednesday notes the sanctions have been a collaborative effort with the NCAA.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has attempted to distance himself from the situation. He's stated he wasn't aware of the parties and placed most of the blame on former assistant Andre McGee during an interview on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike, as relayed by ESPN.com:

You have your dorm security people, who are being interviewed by the NCAA, then you have your graduate assistant. One unfortunate one was [McGee], whose sole responsibility was to make sure the kids get to school on time, make sure they get up in the mornings when they have a presentation or breakfast with a head coach or family.

And then we have another graduate assistant. So the problem we had is, we did have people in place. And the one person we did have in place, whose sole responsibility was to make sure they do the right things, and unfortunately that was [McGee]. That was the problem there.

Whether that marks the end of the punishment related to the situation is unclear. Giving up the postseason was a major setback given the strength of the Cardinals squad. The team finished 10th in KenPom.c ratings, 14 spots ahead of Final Four participant Syracuse.

Forde reported a source stated the additional sanctions aren't a result of more violations, but rather, the decision was made after "taking more time to consider the facts."

There's no timetable for a conclusion to the NCAA investigation into the matter.