Rick Pitino left the University of Louisville in shame, fired on Oct. 16 in the aftermath of the pay-for-play scheme that rocked the Cardinals program, the sneaker business and the NCAA as a whole.
That latest transgression under his watch came on the heels of an on-campus sex scandal that involved escorts in the basketball dorm.
Which was preceded by a separate sordid story where Pitino testified in court to having sex “very briefly” with a woman in an empty Italian restaurant who wasn’t his wife and later paying for her abortion. That woman, Karen Sypher, was eventually convicted of attempting to extort Pitino for cash and cars over the incident.
And now, for all of this, Rick Pitino expects to get paid. To the tune of $38.7 million.
Pitino is suing the University of Louisville athletic association for breach of contract.
“(Pitino) had no part whatsover in any scheme to pay the family of a UL recruit, or to otherwise improperly provide benefits to any recruit, as an inducement to join the basketball program,” a statement from Rick Pitino’s lawyer Steve Pence reads.
The $38.7 million figure was reached considering the remainder of his contract, valued at $4.3 million per year through 2026. Pitino has also filed a lawsuit against Adidas, claiming the apparel company damaged his reputation in the pay-for-play scandal.
The gist of Pitino’s argument in the Adidas and escort scandals was that he was not involved in either situation. He placed the escort scandal at the feet on then graduate assistant Andre McGee and denies any knowledge of wrongdoing that involved players’ families getting paid.
That may or may not be true. We may never know the depth of Pitino’s direct involvement in either case. It makes sense that he would take a stance of willing ignorance in both instances, letting subordinates handle the dirty to work for this very legal reason.
But the fact that all of this happened under his watch should be enough justification for Louisville to have fired Pitino. Whether that holds up legally is yet to be seen.