RAW VIDEO |Take-aways from NOA Press Conference

10/20/2016 02:18 PM

On Thursday, the University of Louisville addressed the release of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations after its investigation into claims of sexual misconduct within the university’s basketball program.

The press conference, which included acting UofL president Dr. Neville Pinto, Athletics Director Tom Jurich, head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, Chuck Smrt, a former NCAA employee who led UofL’s internal investigation and attorney Steve Johnson, revealed little information that the documents released by the NCAA didn’t include. However, the press conference did shed some insight into Jurich and Pitino’s thoughts on the allegations.

Pinto opened the press conference, acknowledging that the NCAA’s findings aligned with their own and made it clear that they were and still are fully cooperating with the NCAA. (:11) He also made it clear the actions alleged in the documents did not align with the University of Louisville’s beliefs and that, “this can never, NEVER happen again.” (3:03)

One remark from Pinto sums up the entire scandal: “This is a sad and unsettling chapter in UofL’s storied basketball program.” (2:55)

Tom Jurich spoke next, reiterating that university officials are cooperating with the NCAA and that the NCAA does not allege, “a lack of institutional control”, which comes as a sigh of relief for both the university and fans. (4:12) The NCAA does allege, however, that Pitino failed to demonstrate that he monitored Andre McGee – an allegation Jurich says they will, “dispute and dispute strong.” Jurich added that he considered whether or not Pitino could have known what was going on and came to the conclusion that he could not. He also added that he was shocked that in a social media era, none of this was ever talked about online. (4:46)

Pitino began his statement by explaining the significance of where these allegations took place- Billy Minardi Hall. He explained that his brother-in-law was killed on 9/11 and then-president James Ramsey allowed Pitino to build the dorm and name it for Minardi. Minardi’s children were living in the dorm during the alleged period of violations. (7:32)

It was reiterated throughout the press conference that there was round-the-clock security in the dorm and that, combined with managers living among the players, would combat anything like the alleged incidents from happening. The university officials added that they are stepping up security and compliance.

Of the allegations, Pitino said, “I think they were fair, but do I agree with the failure to monitor one of my people? No I do not.” He continued by saying he is, “guilty of trusting someone.” (11:15)

Pitino said moving forward he plans to have a conversation with his current team about accountability and taking care of your teammates and program to prevent anything like this from happening again. (26:04) He insisted that this scandal does not “tarnish” his legacy because he has always been compliant with the NCAA. (32:39)

The university officials present at the press conference were apologetic to the fan base and to last season’s team for the post-season ban.

Smrt insisted that the players involved were prospective players and not student-athletes, meaning if they received money it was a recruiting violation rather than illegal benefits. What they would not address, was whether any of these players became student-athletes later, or if any were involved that played- specifically in the 2012-2013 season. (24:15) Smrt acknowledged that the 2013 National Title could potentially be vacated, but in his professional opinion would not be appropriate in this case. (19:35)

Pitino also faces being suspended, which they said the ACC has left to UofL and the NCAA to decide, but Jurich said this will not end his career because they “don’t believe it.” (30:16)

Overall, UofL did not seem surprised by the Notice of Allegations, as it aligned with what they said they already believed. This was a Level 1 infraction, meaning the NCAA decides whether it is standard or aggravated. However, it was a sigh of relief for some since Pitino was only accused of not monitoring McGee rather than a lack of institutional control. But with UofL planning to fight that allegation, it appears as if this issue is far from over. UofL has 90 days to respond so no new information is expected to be available immediately.

You can read more about the allegations from the NCAA given to Louisville and Louisville’s statement here .

Watch the full press conference below:

Lyndsey Gough

Lyndsey is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News. You can catch Lyndsey’s work on Sports Night, the only nightly show dedicated to covering everything from high school to college sports in Kentucky. She loves covering all sports but it’s the personal stories that really stand out to Lyndsey, like the story of a community coming together to remember high school track start Trinity Gay who was killed. Lyndsey came to Spectrum News from WBKO in Bowling Green where she was an Anchor, Reporter and Producer covering news and sports. She’s a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of UK. Sports Night airs at 6:30 and 10:30 weeknights on Spectrum News and you can watch the shows anytime with Spectrum on Demand. If you have a story idea for Lyndsey email her at Lyndsey.gough@charter.com.

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