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NCAA Experts Believe Louisville Basketball May Have To Vacate 2013 Title

Louisville sex scandal: NCAA enforcement experts believe that the program could be forced to vacate the 2013 National Championship.

On Thursday, Louisville released the Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA for the sex scandal that arose ahead of the 2015 season. Four 'level one' violations, among the most significant in the NCAA system, are found against current and former UL basketball coaches, including head coach Rick Pitino.

Specific penalties have not yet been outlined, but if the NCAA finds that the Cardinals played ineligible players, it could be forced to vacate wins, similar to penalties levied against Syracuse and other programs in recent seasons. Based on findings in the book Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, members of the 2013 National Champion Cardinals were seen in pictures with escorts provided by Katina Powell, who wrote the book that kicked off the Louisville sex scandal investigation.

The Courier-Journal spoke with various NCAA enforcement experts about potential penalties for the Cardinals, and based on recent penalty history, Louisville could be faced with surrendering wins during the 2013 season, including the NCAA Tournament.

If the University of Louisville men's basketball team used players who were ineligible during the 2012-13 season because they received improper benefits in the form of sex or strippers, the school’s national championship and other victories almost certainly will be vacated, NCAA enforcement experts say.

Two former members of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions say it is almost automatic for the panel to vacate victories from teams that used players later determined to be ineligible.

Key Louisville players, including Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell, and Russ Smith are in photos included in Breaking Cardinal Rules.

Vacating wins is a fairly standard penalty for ineligible players. In the past, including the Derrick Rose scandal at Memphis, that has included Tournament games, but the NCAA has not stripped a basketball team of a championship. It seems like a drastic step, but you never really know where the NCAA will come down on these things.

The 2012-13 Cardinals went 35-5 and defeated Michigan in the title game, 82-76.

[The Courier-Journal]