The University of Louisville was dealt another massive blow of punitive action from the NCAA on Tuesday. They have been stripped of every win from the 2011-2012 season to the 2014-2015 season. Included in those 123 wins are four NCAA tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteen appearances, three Elite Eight appearances, two Final Four appearances, and one National Championship. In addition to the games forfeited, Louisville must relinquish $600,000 in tournament payout.
Beyond actions by the NCAA, Louisville imposed sanctions on themselves for the current season, excluding themselves from the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament.
The discipline stems from buying strippers and prostitutes for recruits and players. In 2015 the owner of an escort service accused Andre McGee, an assistant coach, of purchasing prostitutes for recruits in on-campus dorms. These allegations were investigated by the FBI and found to be true. These improper benefits made the players ineligible and, therefore, all victories in which they participated were no longer valid.
The news is a tremendous blow, but not necessarily a shocking one. Former Head Coach Rick Pitino resigned from the job amid an FBI investigation in late 2017 from a separate recruiting scandal. In that case, it was discovered that Pitino funneled money from their sponsor, Adidas, to the families of recruits.
Pitino also took former athletic director Tom Jurich down with him in what is undoubtedly the most disgraceful scandal in the history of college basketball. Never before has a team been forced to vacate a National Championship victory.
Louisville’s fall from grace may be the first of many. Assistants at Auburn, Oklahoma State, USC, and Arizona were arrested in September of 2017 for taking cash bribes to steer recruits towards agents and apparel companies. As the FBI probe continues to dig, the long-standing corruption in college basketball may finally be uncovered in its entirety. The onslaught of punishment has teams scrambling to assess their compliance operations to see if they could be next.