Rick Pitino delivers formal statement following NCAA ruling

02/21/2018 04:56 PM

Former University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino responded to the NCAA’s recent ruling which upheld penalties issued in response to the program’s Andre McGee recruiting scandal.

On Tuesday, interim university president Greg Postel announced that UofL’s appeal of the NCAA’s original ruling, which was issued in June 2017, had been denied . Postel explained that the original penalties, including a vacation of wins and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, would stand.

From a law firm in New York City, Pitino formally addressed the media and responded to the NCAA’s decision.

“I take full responsibility for everyone I hire,” Pitino said. “To say I’m disappointed with the NCAA appeals ruling would be a gross understatement.”

Pitino praised his former players, saying they did not deserve to have the national championship title stripped from their records.

“They were hardworking young men who paid the price to be successful. They allowed me to push them to the limits they didn’t think would be possible and I loved them for that. Did a few of them partake in parties they didn’t organize? Yes, they did. But that had nothing to do with helping their eligibility or performance in winning that championship. My heart is broken and shattered for them.”

Pitino also provided details related to the day he and former athletic director Tom Jurich were fired. The events occurred after the FBI’s announcement that the university’s basketball program had been implicated in an investigation into a college basketball recruiting bribery scheme .

“They asked me to resign. I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I said I need to speak to my team. I spoke to my team and when I came upstairs the doors were being changed on my locks and that was the end of me,” said Pitino.

When Pitino was asked if he has engaged in discussions to continue coaching, Pitino said he has not.

“What the NCAA did hurts and it will take time to get over that hurt. I do really think it’s unjust but I do take ownership for the people I hire.”

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