The NCAA upheld its punishment against Louisville basketball today. The Cardinals have to vacate wins.
Officially, Louisville must vacate all wins from 2011-12 through the 2014-15 seasons. Yes, that means the program's Final Four banner for 2012 and national championship banner for 2013 must come down.
Additionally, the school must return any money it received as part of conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA Tournaments.
While vacating wins is a usually a pretty hollow penalty, as you can't actually go back and change what happened on the court, having a national title not really count is pretty embarrassing for Louisville. That four-year stretch was an incredibly successful run for the Cards overall.
The reason for Louisville's punishment stems from the program's sex scandal. The NCAA ruled that a former Louisville director of basketball operations (Andre McGee) "acted unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others, and did not cooperate with the investigation." Because of this, multiple players competed during the aforementioned time frame while they were technically ineligible.
Here's more from the NCAA:
In its appeal, the university argued the vacation of records and financial penalty should be set aside because they are excessive. The university contended that the penalties were based on participation of student-athletes who were not culpable in the violations, received negligible benefits as a result, and for whom reinstatement would likely have been granted.
The Committee on Infractions responded to the appeal by stating the penalties were appropriate due to the serious, intentional and numerous violations orchestrated by a university staff member for nearly four years. It further argued that student-athletes do not have to be culpable for the vacation penalty to be appropriate, and because the serious nature of the violations resulted in the participation of ineligible student-athletes, the vacation of records penalty was appropriate.
The NCAA appeals ruling ends an ordeal that has been ongoing for over two years. The first reports of the scandal emerged in October 2015.
With these wins being stripped and Rick Pitino losing his job months ago for his alleged involvement in a pay-for-play scandal, Louisville has certainly seen better days.