After spending the last 16 years coaching at the school, Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave by Louisville on Wednesday in the wake of the news about a major NCAA fraud and corruption scandal that reportedly involved the Cardinals basketball program. It will effectively end his coaching career at Louisville. Athletic director Tom Jurich has also been placed on paid administrative leave and is expected to be finished at the school.
Now official: Louisville has fired Rick Pitino as its basketball coach.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) September 27, 2017
On Tuesday, 10 men, including four college basketball assistant coaches and an Adidas executive, were formally charged with a slew of fraud and corruption charges and accused of using bribes to influence decisions made by collegiate athletes. The FBI revealed that at least three top high school basketball recruits were given money that was supplied by Adidas in order to encourage them to attend universities sponsored by the brand. One of those schools is believed to be Louisville.
While Pitino was not charged with any crimes stemming from the FBI’s investigation into the fraud and corruption that were reportedly prevalent at schools like Louisville, it took place on his watch and is the latest scandal involving the university. Pitino played a part in a very public extortion trial back in 2010 that saw him admit to having sex with a woman who eventually went to prison for asking the coach for money and gifts in exchange for her not going public about her sexual encounter with him.
If Rick Pitino can make it through an affair, a stripper scandal, and a bribery scandal involving the FBI, I am convinced he's invincible.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) September 26, 2017
Louisville was also at the center of an NCAA investigation in 2015 revolving around the Louisville basketball program’s alleged use of prostitutes in trying to entice recruits to attend the school. Pitino denied any involvement in the sex-for-pay scandal that rocked the Louisville campus, but the NCAA found that his former assistant coach Andre McGee helped organize it. Louisville self-imposed a 2016 NCAA Tournament ban in the hopes of avoiding further penalties from the NCAA, but there’s a chance the school could still be forced to vacate their 2013 NCAA title in addition to many of the wins accumulated during that time period.
Pitino attempted to distance himself from the latest scandal by releasing a statement through his lawyer on Tuesday and saying, "These allegations come as a complete shock to me." But apparently, Louisville had enough. Pitino met with Louisville interim president Greg Postel on Wednesday morning and was told that he wouldn’t be coaching the Cardinals during the upcoming season. The school then held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon and announced the decision to part ways with Pitino.
Rick Pitino has released a statement, per his attorney. pic.twitter.com/6a1semH4VL— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 26, 2017
Pitino will probably land back on his feet sooner than later, either by coaching at a smaller school or working in broadcasting for a few years. But for now, he has turned into a temporary punching bag for all of the people out there who are happy to see him lose his job after one too many embarrassing scandals. In the immediate aftermath of his firing, the internet did what the internet does best by roasting Pitino for everything from the scandals to that Louisville tattoo he has on his back that he’s probably going to want to get removed now that Louisville wants absolutely nothing to do with him anymore.
So you're telling me that this could be the last image we get of Rick Pitino as Louisville's basketball coach? pic.twitter.com/LejmVvAg5a— Alex Hider (@alexhider) September 27, 2017
This gif sums up Rick Pitino’s career in basketball... pic.twitter.com/8nhSYHVi3S— ruh-mel (@itsRamel) September 27, 2017
Pitino "didn't know" about the call girls for recruits....he "didn't know" about this scandal....but I bet he knows he f'ed up. #Louisville— @ItsMikeHill (@ItsMikeHill) September 27, 2017
"It was a complete shock to me."— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) September 27, 2017
FBI to Rick Pitino: pic.twitter.com/1GcqP2Vzc9
Rick Pitino practicing his shocked face when the allegations were brought forth. pic.twitter.com/dnsBySpPoj— Gremlin Bitch (@rockdaCASSbah) September 27, 2017
It's sort of a letdown that what finally got Rick Pitino was something as pedestrian as a bribery scandal.— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) September 27, 2017
Rick Pitino might be googling "tattoo removal in Louisville" right about now. pic.twitter.com/9OUDuhLXC7— Jamal Spencer (@JamalWZZM13) September 27, 2017
Rick Pitino's newest tattoo pic.twitter.com/jUQnTqraKD— One Take At A Time (@OneTakeAtATime) September 27, 2017
I'd say it's unfair for people to spit on Rick Pitino's grave, but he's a vampire so it's not like he's in it anymore anyway— Ryan DiPentima (@Ryan_DiPentima) September 27, 2017
People have also pointed out that head football coach Bobby Petrino—who is no stranger to embarrassing scandals himself—is somehow the coach who comes out of this whole thing looking like a model citizen at Louisville. Who could have predicted that?
Live look at Bobby Petrino after seeing Pitino and the AD were fired this morning. pic.twitter.com/CkkPUOKqCC— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) September 27, 2017
Amazing that the Louisville athletic department is burning down and the one guy standing unscathed....Bobby Petrino.— Kevin Rogers (@VIROGERS) September 27, 2017
Bobby Petrino, upon realizing he's not the worst person in the U of L athletic department: pic.twitter.com/N03XmssBnZ— Ron Terrell (@RonTerrell) September 27, 2017
When the university that employs Bobby Petrino fires you, you KNOW you've fucked up. #RickPitino— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) September 27, 2017
Bobby Petrino sitting in his office, watching the news like.. pic.twitter.com/dzPQ9mSZ2a— SauceMoss ✌🏾 (@FlyGuy_Rhy) September 27, 2017
Louisville is expected to name Pitino’s replacement within the next 48 hours. Until then, don’t expect the jokes to stop anytime soon.