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Louisville basketball receives another Notice of Allegations from NCAA

It’s all for things that happened under the Rick Pitino regime, but for a program already on probation it’s a problem, and it might affect Pitino’s coaching status at Iona

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Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals reacts to their 69-73 loss to the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 19, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the University of Louisville Cardinals have received an NCAA Notice of Allegations regarding their men’s basketball program.

Today the Cards got dealt another blow, with four more major allegations from the NCAA being put in print. For a program that’s already on probation until June of 2021 because of women being paid to have sex with recruits amongst other violations, it’s not a surprise but it also could become yet another hurdle.

The major allegations include:

A Level I allegation that an improper recruiting offer, and subsequent extra benefits to the family of an enrolled student athlete; and a recruiting inducement to a prospective student-athlete’s non-scholastic coach/trainer, were provided by certain individuals, purportedly identified and defined by the NCAA as “representatives of the university’s athletics interests”, none of whom had traditional connections to the University beyond their affiliation with Adidas or professional athlete management entities, as well as by a former assistant coach and a former associate head coach;

A Level II allegation of recruiting violations by the same two former men’s basketball coaching staff members in providing impermissible transportation and having impermissible contact in the context of recruitment-related activities;

A Level II allegation that the institution failed to adequately monitor the recruitment of an incoming, high-profile student-athlete;

A Level II allegation that the former head men’s basketball coach did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance;

The Level I allegation, which is the one that should cause the most headaches for Louisville, is related to the recruitment of five-star prospect Brian Bowen. The guilt on this one seems extremely clear-cut.

The Level II allegation of a former head men’s basketball coach failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance will cause the most headaches for new Iona head coach Rick Pitino. The penalties could include a forced suspension from the sidelines for up to 50% of the Gaels games this season.

The good news for Louisville is that every single person implicated in wrongdoing here is no longer with U of L. From the university president to the athletic director and down to the director of basketball operations, everyone charged in the multiple scandals involving the later-vacated 2013 national champions is no longer on the payroll. However this is the NCAA, where the wheels of justice turn with the logic of a single roulette spin.

And the bad news is programs that are already on probation and receive major violations tend to get the hammer. It will likely be short of the death penalty, but the loss of postseason eligibility and multiple scholarships are in play here.

This won’t make things easier for Cardinals head coach Chris Mack, who had the #14 team in the AP Poll when the season stopped in March. But he will likely have to carry the burden of his predecessors. Athletic director Vince Tyra sounds confident they won’t miss the NCAA Tournament in 2021, but the hubris of AD’s in this same situation has happened before.

As with all NCAA investigations reading the tea leaves can be a fool’s errand, so we’ll see which way the wind is blowing on decision day.