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Report: Louisville Accepted NIT Bid Despite Players Voting Not To Play

Louisville's basketball court from midcourt in the stands.

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 15: General view of the arena of the Louisville Cardinals game against the Samford Bulldogs at KFC YUM! Center on November 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Louisville men's basketball team will take the floor tonight against Northern Kentucky for the team's first game of the National Invitation Tournament. However, according to a report from the Courier-Journal, the player voted not to play in the NIT.

After tumultuous season in which former head coach Rick Pitino was ousted, the Cardinals allegedly voted not to play in the NIT, but will do so anyway. Why?

According to the report, the players initially voted against playing in the NIT before the ACC tournament tipped off. Yet, following the ACC tournament, and the Cardinals' failed ability to land a spot in the NCAA tournament, the players came together for another vote.

Multiple sources who have knowledge of the players' wishes but were not authorized to speak publicly about them told Courier Journal the players prior to the ACC Tournament voted against playing in the NIT and then held a players-only meeting on Sunday night after they were left out of the NCAA tournament.

Senior center Anas Mahmoud had the following to say about the decision.

"When you're emotional, you're still sad about all the NCAA Tournament stuff, and you make assumptions — you make decisions — that you don't know what the consequences are. But when we went to sleep and we woke up (Monday) morning and we met again as a team, we started thinking more broadly of the consequences of our actions and that it's not just going to affect us right now — it's going to affect the whole city and the whole program.

We realized playing and participating and actually putting in the effort to do what we came here to do was the best decision."

Mahmoud and the Cardinals will play at least one more game this season - at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Northern Kentucky at the KFC Yum Center. The next question is whether David Padgett will return for another season, or head to a new program.

[Courier-Journal]