Pitino says self-imposed ban unfairly punishes players


University of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino asked fans to support the team in the final games of the season. Photo by Michael Reaves

News Staff

The University of Louisville basketball team will not be competing in post-season games, including the NCAA Championships, because of a self-imposed ban by university president James Ramsey.

This ban prevents graduate transfers Damion Lee and Trey Lewis from participating in their first NCAA tournament, but it may reduce punishment from the NCAA for allegations that the program’s former basketball staffer Andre McGee paid for prostitutes to have sex with recruits, and former and current players.

The Cardinals’ 19-4 record this season and recent victory against second seed North Carolina set them up as hopefuls for the tournament.

UofL coach Rick Pitino said he supports athletic director Tom Jurich and Ramsey, but said that the former was the one who ultimately made the decision to cancel the Cardinals’ post-season. 

According to ESPN, Pitino said the blame shouldn’t fall on Ramsey, and the system by which the NCAA punishes programs falls too heavily on players. He said the punishment should be $10 million fines on the programs and half salary fines on the coaches in cases of violation.