On Tuesday, NCAA’s Infractions Appeals Committee that it has upheld the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ ruling that the University of Louisville must vacate 123 wins from 2012-15. This includes the school’s 2013 National Championship.
This is the first time in NCAA Division I history that a school has had to vacate a national championship victory.
The ruling comes as a penalty for the University of Louisville’s escort case. In October 2015, a book by Katina Powell titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” was published prompting an investigation by the NCAA. They found that the former Louisville director of basketball operations Andre McGee paid Powell and other women thousands of dollars to perform stripteases and sex acts for university basketball players. It became a Level I Violation which is the steepest penalty in the NCAA rules.
The committee also upheld the financial penalty incurred upon the University, who has to repay shared NCAA Tournament revenue that the school got from its 2012-15 Tournament appearances as well as any future revenue from those seasons.
Interim University President, Greg Postel, weighed in on the decision.
“I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong to have made this decision,” said Postel. “The university, under prior leadership, never made excuses for what took place. There was immediate recognition of the facts; the issuance of an apology; serious self-imposed penalties; extraordinary cooperation with the investigation that followed; and the strengthening of and creation of policies and procedures to make sure that this never happened again. Under the NCAA’s own rules, such cooperation should have been a factor in determining the severity of the punishment. Instead, it was ignored.”
Former Head Coach Rick Pitino had also served a five game suspension, but was fired by the school in October following an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting. He is expected to make a statement on Wednesday. ESPN also shared this picture of Pitino.
Interim Louisville Athletics Director Vince Tyra expressed his regret.
“This is where your emotions move to sad. I’m sad for our players. I’m certainly sad for our staff and those who helped create the success and our fans in particular who have been passionate about these teams and since then. It’s awful to have to go through.”
The Championship banner has already been removed from KFC Yum! Center.