Rick Pitino, Louisville Refuting NCAA Allegations from Escort Scandal

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2017

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino in action during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Indianapolis. Louisville defeated Indiana 77-62. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Three months after the NCAA sent Louisville a notice of allegations for an alleged escort service paid for by former assistant men's basketball coach Andre McGee, the school and head basketball coach Rick Pitino have offered a stern response.

Per ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil on Wednesday, Pitino denied the NCAA's allegations that he didn't keep tabs on McGee as the alleged scandal was taking place, and the school does not believe it should be facing four Level I violations.

"The enforcement staff has overreached in this case," Pitino's lawyer Scott Tompsett wrote in formal documents sent to the NCAA. "Pitino should never have been charged."

When asked about the case Friday, Pitino told reporters it is the "furthest thing from his mind." He added they would deal with everything in May, when the hearing for the case occurs. 

As a result of the NCAA's year-plus-long investigation, the university faces significant violations, which it was first notified of in October, per Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports.

McGee was charged with two of the program's Level I violations for having allegedly "arranged for and/or provided impermissible inducements, offers and/or extra benefits in the form of adult entertainment, sex acts and/or cash" to multiple recruits and players now on the roster between December 2010 and April 2014. 

Pitino is facing one Level I violation for his failure to "frequently spot-check the program to uncover potential or existing compliance problems, including actively looking for and evaluating red flags, asking pointed questions and regularly soliciting honest feedback to determine if monitoring systems were functioning properly regarding McGee's activities and interactions with then men's basketball prospective and current student-athletes visiting and attending the institution."

Forde noted Pitino could face a multiple-game suspension, pending the outcome of a show-cause case that will likely be heard "in the spring or summer of 2017."

Tompsett argued the NCAA's enforcement staff "has not identified one red flag that put Pitino on notice of McGee's illicit activities," per O'Neil.

After the allegations against McGee and Louisville came to light in late 2015, the school self-imposed a one-year postseason ban that kept the Cardinals men's basketball team out of the NCAA tournament in March. 

In October, nearly two weeks before the NCAA sent Louisville its notice of allegations, Pitino told the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, the school's self-imposed postseason ban should be enough to satisfy the NCAA. 

The Cardinals own a 17-4 record in 2016-17 and are ranked 13th in the AP Top 25. 

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