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Rick Pitino Could Face Suspension After NCAA Reportedly Rejects Rebuttal Of 'Failure To Monitor' Violation

Rick Pitino could face a multi-game suspension when Louisville basketball returns, based on a new report published by ESPN's Dana O'Neil.

According to O'Neil, ESPN has obtained documentation showing that the NCAA has rejected the rebuttal to the Level I "failure to monitor" violation submitted by Louisville and Pitino.

In documents obtained by ESPN.com, the NCAA affirms its position - and rejects a January rebuttal submitted by the university and lawyers for Pitino - that Pitino did not uphold his duties as head coach and in doing so, failed to discover that former assistant Andre McGee was paying for and arranging parties that included adult entertainment and sex acts for recruits.

As O'Neil notes, this could set the stage for a multi-game suspension if the NCAA upholds the Level I charge.

The NCAA's position sets up a possibly contentious Committee on Infractions meeting for Pitino. Under current NCAA penalty structure, head coaches can -- and have -- been suspended multiple games for failing to monitor their staffs properly.

Two other legendary coaches, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and former SMU head coach Larry Brown, were each suspended for nine games after being hit with "failure to monitor" violations in their respective schools' recent NCAA issues.

The Pitino charge is one of four Level I violations that Louisville faces, the most serious level the organization can levy against a program. The charges stem from the sex scandal, in which former assistant Andre McGee set up parties for Cardinal recruits, involving escorts and alcohol. The parties were brought to light in a book published by local madame Katina Powell, titled Breaking Cardinal Rules. Louisville self-imposed a post-season ban ahead of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Until the NCAA announces its penalty, it is unclear whether Louisville could face something even more severe, like a vacated 2013 National Championship, but if it holds, a nine-game suspension for Pitino seems like a pretty likely outcome. Of course, we are dealing with the NCAA, so prior precedent doesn't always matter.

[ESPN]