Louisville confirms basketball program is included in federal fraud, corruption investigation

The skin that surrounds the white of his eyes is as red as a Louisville Cardinals road jersey. Whether it is because he was wrong, or because he was wronged, it is clear to see this has not been an easy time for Rick Pitino.

The University of Louisville has confirmed it is included in a federal investigation involving fraud and corruption in collegiate basketball.

Interim president Greg Postel released a statement confirming Louisville's involvement in the investigation; the school was never referenced by name, only "University-6" in complaints filed in the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ten people, including college basketball coaches, athlete advisors and officials of an athletic apparel company (implicated to be Adidas), were arrested on charges ranging from fraud to corruption.

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"Today, the University of Louisville received notice that it is included in a federal investigation involving criminal activity related to men’s basketball recruiting," Postel said in the statement. While we are just learning about this information, this is a serious concern that goes to the heart of our athletic department and the university. UofL is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules; any violations will not be tolerated.

"We will cooperate fully with any law enforcement or NCAA investigation into the matter."

The Justice Department alleges that at least one Louisville basketball coach approached Adidas officials in what essentially amounts to a pay-for-play scandal. The unidentified coach allegedly asked the officials to pay a top-flight 2017 recruit and his family for him to play at Louisville. According to the timing listed in the complaint — "in or around May of 2017" — that player is freshman Brian Bowen, who is currently listed on the Cardinals' 2017-18 roster.

Louisville signed a 10-year, $160 million deal with Adidas in August.

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Adding to the severity of these allegations is the fact the Louisville basketball program is currently under a four-year NCAA probationary period after it was discovered former Cardinals player and then-director of operations Andre McGree arranged for strippers and prostitutes to meet with recruits on visits from 2010-14.

Louisville faced a $5,000 fine, a reduction of six total scholarships over a five-year period and had 108 wins vacated — including the 2013 national championship — as punishment for that scandal.

Perhaps more pressing is what this means for Louisville coach Rick Pitino, already suspended five ACC games in 2017 as a result of that scandal. The NCAA maintained in that scandal that Pitino did not properly monitor the program.

Regardless, this definitely isn't a spot Louisville wants to be in — again — as the 2017-18 college basketball season approaches.

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