Rick Pitino on Louisville vacating 2013 national title: 'This is unjust'

Rick Pitino on Louisville vacating 2013 national title: 'This is unjust'

Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday that his "heart is broken and shattered for" the players on Louisville's 2013 national championship team, as he addressed reporters in NY on Wednesday, a day after the NCAA upheld its order that UofL vacate that championship.

"I had no knowledge of the reprehensible things that went on in that dormitory", he said. The removal of the 2013 national championship banner will not enable the organization to "rewrite history", he said.

The ruling was unprecedented: It marked the the first Division I men's basketball championship in modern NCAA history to be vacated.

The NCAA's ruling stemmed from revelations made in 2015 by escort Katina Powell, whose tell-all memoir detailed sex parties attended by UofL basketball players and recruits. Powell claimed she worked with basketball staffer Andre McGee, a former UofL player under Pitino, to arrange strippers and prostitutes for the parties, pocketing at least $10,000 for her services. "If I hired the wrong people at times, I take full ownership and responsibility for everyone I've hired".

"Did a few [players] partake in parties they didn't organize?"

"We led three different conferences in grade-point average", Pitino said. "But that had nothing to do with an extra benefit". "My heart breaks for them".

Pitino also denied any involvement in the recruit of Bowen, a five-star prospect that committed to Louisville in a deal that was supposed to get his family paid $100,000 from Adidas. Pitino has said he only learned about the bribe allegedly given to Bowen's family after the FBI revealed it last September as part of its investigation.

Speaking in New York, Pitino alluded to former Louisville assistant Jordan Fair, who was reportedly one of the coaches involved in the scheme. He either was the mastermind behind schemes that violated NCAA rules or he was clueless as to what was going on in his own program. I've run a clean program all my life. I can understand sitting in your seat and saying look what happened back-to-back in a very short span of time and I would agree with you. He also said his attorneys have met with federal prosecutors and Pitino has offered to cooperate with the investigation and "offer what I know from my 40 years of experience in the game".

ESPN asked Pitino if he has had any discussions with National Basketball Association teams or college programs about getting back into coaching. He said he had not but admitted that he misses it. "I miss it. I miss every minute of player development, every minute of scouting and game-planning to beat an opponent, I miss every minute of every timeout". "But what the NCAA did, this committee did, hurts".

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