Many University of Kentucky basketball fans seem joyful over the suspension of University of Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino in the aftermath of a federal investigation linking UofL to a bribery scandal.
For the record, this is the same Rick Pitino who resurrected the UK basketball program after the recruiting scandal during the tenure of former Wildcat head coach Eddie Sutton.
Considering UK’s legacy of basketball scandals, the Big Blue Nation would be well advised to withhold judgement on the Louisville Cardinals until all of the facts are disclosed.
Talk of a “death sentence” for the UofL program may be premature. However, if that happens, it won’t be the first for a major college basketball program in Kentucky.
That sad distinction belongs to UK.
The NCAA suspended Coach Adolph Rupp’s UK squad from all basketball competition in the 1952-53 season and the National Basketball Association (NBA) banned several UK players for life, all in response to the infamous point shaving scandals of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Seven institutions and 32 players were implicated in those incidents where gamblers bribed players to shave points, not throw games.
As for Pitino, his Hall of Fame coaching career likely has ended, despite 770 victories and two NCAA championships, one each at Kentucky and Louisville.
The 2013 crown at Louisville may be vacated under terms of an NCAA penalty, now under appeal, of an investigation into allegations of sexual favors for recruits and family members.
Pitino also avoided losing his job a few years earlier in a personal scandal involving another man’s wife and her subsequent abortion.
Legions of UK fans have never forgiven him for taking the Louisville job after a short coaching stint in the NBA.
We believe the accusation that a sports apparel company financed the bribing of student athletes and coaches is more evidence that college athletic programs must have closer scrutiny.
In our view, the first step should be an NCAA ban of corporate affiliations with college sports programs.