Louisville Becomes Loserville: Must Forfeit 2013 Basketball Title

More College Basketball Drama If there’s a swamp that needs draining, it’s college basketball. Even the cleanest of coaches have some mud on their shoes, because there’s no way...

More College Basketball Drama

If there’s a swamp that needs draining, it’s college basketball. Even the cleanest of coaches have some mud on their shoes, because there’s no way not to get dirty wading through the muck of this sport.

The mess of recruiting and the violations that so often bubble up finally inundated the University of Louisville on Tuesday. The NCAA stripped the Cardinals of their 2013 men’s basketball title and their Final Four appearance the previous year after denying the school’s appeal of numerous violations. The Cardinals become the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Between the influence of AAU all-star teams and their coaches, “street runners,” and shoe companies, college coaches tread a narrow path through the mire. Louisville simply barged down the highway, coating itself and others in slime. The coach at the time, Rick Pitino, and the athletic director, Tom Jurich, were fired last year.

As the recruiting of high school prospects is already a danger zone, do not do what Louisville permitted but denied knowing about. These penalties, which the school called “draconian,” result from an investigation of (among other things) allegations that a former Louisville staff member arranged for striptease dances and sex acts for players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011 to 2015. As the TV news promo used to ask: It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?

The NCAA, which has been so good at enriching coaches and itself at the expense of the kids who play the games, gets to act holy again. Louisville can play the wounded party that knows it won that title on the court and consoles itself with the memory.

The rest of us get to shake our heads, and then tune in to the next game.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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