With yet another scandal rocking Louisville’s basketball program, it might be time for a punishment we haven’t seen in decades: the death penalty.
“The death penalty was instituted basically as a way of saying, ‘Schools are so out of control with rampant cheating, they can no longer police themselves – so we literally have to shut this thing down and start over from scratch,’” Kentucky Sports Radio college basketball writer Aaron Torres said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I’m not saying the death penalty should be implicated or involved here, but this is about as cut-and-dry as we just explained: a program that is already on probation getting caught breaking NCAA rules, let along federal laws. If we don’t use the death penalty on this, we might as well just take it out of the rule book because I don’t think it will ever be used again. This is as cut-and-dry of a death penalty case as, frankly, I’ve ever covered since I’ve started covering college sports.”
Either way, it’s difficult to see Rick Pitino surviving yet another scandal, especially one involving a federal investigation. Louisville reportedly paid $100,000 to a recruit and $150,000 to another – all while on probation for using prostitutes to attract top prospects.
If Pitino survives this, Scott Ferrall said, it’s possible he could get away with murder and not lose his job.
“I think there are some coaches like Nick Saban who could probably get away with murder, but this guy has gotten away with so much through the years,” Torres said. “Louisville is in a unique place because they have an inferiority complex as an athletic department in a state that is massively dominated by the University of Kentucky, and this guy, he and Bobby Petrino – a less than stellar pillar of the community himself – have brought this school basically unprecedented athletic success. But it’s been one scandal after another. He has gotten away with a lot because he continues to win at a high level. But he’s done. I just can’t imagine a scenario (in which he keeps his job).
“This is bad enough to get any coach fired as it is,” Torres continued, “but the program is already on probation. I just don’t see any scenario where he survives this. Even Louisville fans have turned on him. They are a very patient bunch because of what he’s won, but they’re tired of it. They’re tired of having their school, their university, and their city dragged through the mud, and this guy is always at the center of it. They’re ready to move on, and I think everybody else is, too.”