The once proud Louisville basketball program has hit rock bottom. The NCAA announced this week that the school’s 2013 NCAA Championship is being taken away, along with all the wins head coach Rick Pitino’s team had that season.
The penalties stem from a sex scandal that involved prostitutes, strippers, recruits and players. Pitino, who ironically was asked to leave the university last summer for an entirely different scandal, still claims his innocence. Yet, he left behind a scandalous chapter of the Louisville basketball story. There were chapters of winning it all and other chapters of national embarrassment.
There can be no other way to view Pitino’s 16 years with the Cardinals. Often thought of as one of the top 10 coaches of all time, his legacy is tarnished forever. Pitino harmed Louisville in many ways, tarnishing its reputation while being involved in multiple investigations.
There is the sex scandal that led the NCAA to vacate a college basketball title for the first time in history. Then there was a recruiting scandal that led to his departure, after an FBI investigation into bribery and fraud in college basketball implicated Louisville.
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Pitino still pleads innocent while saying he did not know what was going on within his program. Most find that hard to fathom. Especially anyone who read the entire 35-page report from the committee on infractions. Former director of basketball operations Andre McGee was the ringleader in arranging more than a dozen sex parties featuring strippers and prostitutes for players and recruits, many underage.
And that could be just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI findings are going to be released soon and it’s quite possible the NCAA will come back to Louisville again. Many credible sources are saying that there could be NCAA violations by as many as three dozen Division I programs including upwards of seven of the current top 16 schools in the nation.
One of the mighty has fallen. And there could be more. Stay tuned.
First Round Kicker
Remember back in the year 2000 when the Oakland Raiders shocked the NFL world when they drafted a kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, in the first round of the NFL draft. Yes, a kicker. It had never been done before and has not been done since.
Well, Janikowski, has been with the Raiders ever since, at least until last week when the team released him. Though owner Al Davis was ridiculed for the selection, it turns out the pick may have actually paid off. Bear with me. Here are some numbers.
No one has recorded more 50-plus yard field goals. Janikowski went 55-for-100 from that distance for the Raiders, including a 63-yarder in Denver that was then an NFL record. He made 80.4 percent of his 515 field goal attempts and 98.9 percent of his extra points. He played in one Pro Bowl (2011). But here is the stat that bears out the fact that Janikowski was a good choice. Only one other first round draftee after him made the Pro Bowl. That was runningback Shaun Alexander.
Even so, I do not see a kicker going in the first round again. Trivia players, file Janikowski’s information away. The only kicker ever chosen in the first round of an NFL draft.
Sebastian Janikowski, #11, at work