Rick Pitino 'Shocked' over Louisville's Involvement in FBI Investigation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

FILE - In this March 19, 2017, file photo, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino walks off the court after a 73-69 loss to Michigan in a second-round game in the men's NCAA college basketball tournament in Indianapolis. The NCAA suspended Pitino, Thursday, June 15, 2017, for five ACC games following sex scandal investigation. A former men's basketball staffer is alleged to have hired strippers to entertain players and recruits.     (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino responded to the scandal that rocked the college basketball world Tuesday. 

William Joy of Wave 3 News shared Pitino's statement:

William Joy @WilliamKMBC

NEW: Here's the statement from Rick Pitino. Says he's shocked and blames "a few bad actors". @wave3news https://t.co/0m80Rtu0LS

This comes after the United States Department of Justice announced fraud and corruption charges against 10 people involved in college basketball, four of whom are assistant coaches. ESPN's Jeff Borzello reported the coaches are Auburn's Chuck Person, Arizona's Emanuel Richardson, USC's Tony Bland and Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans.

As for Louisville, Thomas Novelly of the Courier-Journal reported it was part of the FBI's "investigation into a 'pay for play' scheme involving highly prized recruits." Novelly noted university interim president Gregory Postel confirmed the investigation, which includes allegations an Adidas executive paid $100,000 to a highly regarded recruit's family in an effort to get him to Louisville and eventually sign with the shoe company later on.

Jason Riley of WDRB.com shared a statement from Louisville acknowledged it is under investigation and calling it "a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and university":

Jason Riley @JasonRileyWDRB

Statement from U of L acknowledges school is under investigation "involving criminal activity" with basketball recruiting https://t.co/309Thh8Jge

Novelly broke down many of the issues facing Pitino and the Cardinals, pointing out Adidas' head of global sports marketing James Gatto is heavily involved. The criminal complaint called Adidas—which has a partnership with Louisville—"Company-1" and said Gatto helped organize "some of the payments made from Company-1 to players and their families."

While the complaint only says "University-6," Novelly pointed out it is clearly Louisville and "Player-10" is clearly recruit Brian Bowen based on the dates and other information.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim described a reading of the legal documents regarding the scandal as a trip to "the dark underbelly of college basketball" during Tuesday's press conference, per Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports called for the use of the death penalty with Louisville and the firing of Pitino if the allegations are true.

"Louisville already was ordered by the NCAA in the spring to vacate its 2013 national title because of stripper parties for recruits and players funded by a former program staffer," he wrote."That was embarrassment enough."

Forde also mentioned there is allegedly video surveillance and audio of a Las Vegas meeting involving a Louisville assistant making an effort to convince a player from the class of 2019 to join the Cardinals. The assistant is said to have stressed the need for discretion when passing money because the school was already on probation.