Rick Pitino's Louisville Contract Officially Terminated with 'Just Cause'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 19:  Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals reacts to their 69-73 loss to 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

The University of Louisville board officially fired head basketball coach Rick Pitino with "just cause" Monday, acknowledging the school is under federal investigation for corruption. 

Louisville made the announcement Monday after a unanimous vote, per Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal.

“After proper notice and an opportunity to be heard, the University of Louisville Athletics Association has voted to terminate Richard Pitino under paragraph 6 of his employment contract for Just Cause,” the board's decision read, per Greer.

A just-cause firing means Louisville is not planning to pay Pitino for the remainder of his contract. Pitino would have been owed roughly $44 million on a standard buyout agreement and could have made upwards of $55 million. He was the highest-paid coach in college basketball. Louisville reportedly offered Pitino a settlement earlier in the afternoon, but he declined it, according to Rick Bozich of WDRB Sports.

The overwhelming odds are Pitino will challenge the just-cause firing and attempt to recoup some, if not all, of the money he is owed. Pitino has said he had no knowledge of any untoward behavior by his program. While not specifically named in the FBI charges that led to 10 arrests last month, a school that matches the description of Louisville is named in the documents for allegedly giving $100,000 to a recruit's family.  

Louisville has acknowledged that it is under investigation.

Jason Riley of WDRB.com obtained documents that said Pitino passed a polygraph test where he said he had no knowledge of any payments to a recruit. Odds are Pitino and his representation will use that polygraph to aid in their case.

The 65-year-old coach went 415–141 at Louisville and made three Final Four appearances, winning the 2013 national championship. 

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