The University of Louisville received its Notice of Allegations (NOA) from the NCAA this morning, leaving sportswriters scrambling to decipher the legalese and figure out just how much trouble the basketball program is in. I did my best to break down the NOA into seven takeaways for you:
1. The NCAA handed down four Level One violations
The NOA included four Level One violations, the most severe in their enforcement structure. Here's what they boil down to:
- Andre McGee violated the rules (1 Level One violation): The NCAA alleges that McGee "arranged for and/or provided impermissible inducements, offers and/or extra benefits in the form of adult entertainment, sex acts and/or cash" to at least 17 players or recruits, two AAU coaches, and one friend of a recruit. They found that 14 strip shows, 11 sex acts, and two declined sex acts took place between December 2010 and April 2014 at a value of "at least $5,400."
- Andre McGee did not cooperate with the NCAA's investigation (1 Level One violation): The second charge alleges that McGee did not cooperate with the NCAA's investigation, twice refusing to be interviewed.
- Rick Pitino failed to monitor McGee (1 Level One violation): The NCAA alleges that Pitino “failed to frequently spot-check the program to uncover potential or existing compliance problems, including actively looking for and evaluating red flags, asking pointed questions and regularly soliciting honest feedback” from McGee about recruiting activities.
- Brandon Williams did not cooperate with the NCAA's investigation (1 Level One violation): The NCAA alleges that Williams, a former assistant involved with recruiting, refused to turn over his phone records.
2. UofL plans to fight Pitino's failure to monitor charge
McGee and Williams face show-cause penalties, and because of the failure to monitor charge, Pitino may as well; therefore, UofL is planning to dispute Pitino's charge. From the UofL press release:
"We believe that Mr. McGee acted furtively and note that the NOA does not indicate that any other university employee besides Mr. McGee had knowledge of these activities. We are confident in Coach Pitino and we know he is and always has been committed to NCAA compliance."
They have 90 days to respond to the NOA, at which point the NCAA has 60 days to counter.
3. Regardless, Pitino will likely be suspended for some games
How many? If I had to guess -- and this is just a guess -- nine or ten. Why nine or ten? Nine would have him back in time for the Kentucky game, ten would mean he'd sit out the Kentucky game and therefore wouldn't have to take another loss to Calipari.
4. The team probably won't face any more suspensions
UofL was NOT charged with lack of institutional control, which means they probably won't face further suspension, especially because Louisville already gave themselves a postseason ban last season. However...
5. The 2013 banner may still be in play
The names of the 17 players/recruits involved in the stripper parties and sex acts were redacted on the NOA, but Katina Powell has gone one record saying some of those players were on the 2013 NCAA Championship team. If true, the NCAA has found that they received impermissible benefits, meaning they could
be found ineligible and the 2013 banner could be in jeopardy. It's important to note here that receiving impermissible benefits does not always lead to ineligibility, but that's up to the NCAA to decide when they hand down the penalties in a few months.
To give you a sense of how much of the report was redacted, here are the two pages detailing which players participated in the stripper parties and sex acts:
To read the entire report for yourself, click here
6. The NCAA has no idea how to deal with stripper parties and sex acts
The fact that the NCAA is treating the stripper parties and sex acts as "impermissible benefits" akin to free tattoos or gifts from boosters is kind of insane, but hey, it's the NCAA. They estimated the value of the stripper parties and sex acts at $5,400 (how they figured that out is a story all to itself).
For perspective, Ohio State had to vacate their 1999 Final four because Jim O'Brian gave a recruit $6,000 for living expenses. What will happen here?
7. The NCAA confirmed this actually happened
Sure, Louisville escaped the dreaded "lack of institutional control" charge, but the main takeaway I have from the Notice of Allegations is that the NCAA confirmed the sex scandal actually happened, meaning that all of those UofL fans who have had their heads in the sand the past year now have to face reality. Through its investigation, the NCAA confirmed that a former UofL coach -- who was on the university's payroll -- paid strippers to perform -- in the basketball dorm! -- fourteen times and engage in sex acts with players and recruits eleven times. That happened. Regardless of what punishments they face, that's a tough pill to swallow.