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NCAA Releases Significant Penalties For Louisville Basketball, Including Rick Pitino Suspension And Vacated Wins

The NCAA has handed down its penalties for Louisville basketball following the program's escort scandal, which broke in October 2015.

The scandal began with details of local madame Katina Powell's book Breaking Cardinal Rules, which detailed the sex parties thrown for Louisville basketball recruits.

Powell alleged that former U of L assistant Andre McGee had been setting up the parties for for years, and that up to $10,000 was exchanged. Multiple former Louisville players and recruits admitted to attending the parties.

Head coach Rick Pitino denied knowledge of the parties, but was hit with a Level I "failure to monitor" violation, among the most serious that the NCAA has for a head coach. As a result, he will be suspended for five ACC games this upcoming season.

The NCAA handed down the suspension, as well as other penalties for the Cardinals program today. From the NCAA:

Penalties prescribed by the panel include four years of probation for the university; a suspension from the first five Atlantic Coast Conference games of the 2017-18 season for the head coach; a 10-year show-cause order for the former operations director; a one-year show-cause order for a former program assistant; a vacation of basketball records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible from December 2010 and July 2014; men’s basketball scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions; a fine of $5,000, plus the university must return money received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in the 2012 to 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. The panel also accepted the university’s self-imposed 2015-16 postseason ban.

Also of note: the NCAA will vacate unspecified wins from between 2010 and 2014, a span that includes the 2013 National Championship. It is unclear whether or not the title is in jeopardy, but it definitely appears to be in play.

These penalties follow the self-imposed restrictions that Louisville placed on itself after the scandal broke, the most significant of which was a ban on the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Louisville took serious heat for that decision, as the team had taken in two graduate transfers that season—Damion Lee and Trey Lewis—who then had Tournament dreams pulled out from under them during their final seasons of eligibility.

The program also gave itself a scholarship and official visit reduction, as well as recruiting time for coaches.

We'll continue to update as more becomes clear here, but this is a very significant penalty.