Rick Pitino says U of L's 2013 banner can be regained — with Andre McGee's help

7:50 A.m.
November 8, 2019
A.D.M



His lawsuit settled and his chief antagonists no longer around, former University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has turned his attention toward reclaiming the 2013 NCAA championship vacated as a consequence of the school’s stripper scandal. No this is absolutely not a joke once again we have Rick Pitino opening his big mouth.  

I hope the university goes to get the banner back because I think they can,” Pitino said. “If they press the NCAA right now, they would get the banner back. They never really fought, in my opinion. 
“Seven players on that team didn’t know what was going on. None of the coaches knew what was going on. Someday, Andre McGee is going to talk. If he does, he can get that banner back. He got it taken away. He can get it back.”
Citing the precedent of Penn State, which was able to restore 112 of Joe Paterno’s vacated football victories in a legal settlement with the NCAA following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Pitino says U of L could accomplish something similar with a more aggressive attitude and the cooperation of the former director of basketball operations found to have arranged and financed strippers and prostitutes for Cardinal players.  What if (McGee) just comes out and says, ‘I did it by myself. Nobody knew. It was the wrong thing to do.’” Pitino asked. “If Andre comes out and just tells the truth, even if he doesn’t want to make a public statement, speak to the NCAA.”
Read this: U of L basketball's 2013 title isn't restored, but players' lawsuit against NCAA is settled


McGee’s attorney, Scott Cox, had no comment on Pitino’s suggestion. Because there is no statute of limitations on felonies in Kentucky, however, the likelihood of McGee incriminating himself would seem remote.
“I don’t think he will,” Pitino said. “I’m hoping he will.”
Less than a week after David Grissom’s resignation from U of L’s Board of Trustees, Pitino confirmed he was again willing to attend the Kentucky Derby now that Grissom and “Papa” John Schnatter are gone from the university administration. He was unable to envision a scenario, however, that would entail a return to the KFC Yum Center.  I’ll never go back,” he said. “Not because I don’t like Louisville. Just emotionally, it would take too much out of me.”
Pitino said the financial toll of his lawsuit was almost $1 million dollars, which would seem a high price to pay in exchange for a letter that characterized his very public firing as a resignation.
“The statement to me was the most important thing,” he said. “To me, it’s more valuable than money.”
He denied speculation that the settlement was prompted by a warning of Judge David Hale’s intent to declare summary judgment in favor of ULAA.  “(Attorney Steve Pence) was really against me walking out,” Pitino said. “He said, ‘We’ll win the appeal, even if we lose the summary judgment, I know it.’ (But) I didn’t care for the people I was battling.
“If they would have come in and said, ‘Coach, we really appreciate everything you did. We don’t have that much money. Here’s what we have.’ That’s not what they did. They were trying to fight me. If they were going to fight me and not be appreciative of what I did for the university, I’m walking out. That was my mindset going in.
“I just felt, look, without me that arena doesn’t get built ... Without me, they don’t get in the Big East. And we went to three Final Fours. There’s no such thing as a national championship being taken away. You can’t take away history. You just can’t.”
OPINION: Rick Pitino's settlement with the U of L Athletic Association seems more like surrender
Throughout the stripper scandal and the FBI investigation that revealed an alleged bribery scheme behind Louisville’s recruitment of Brian Bowen, Pitino has maintained his personal innocence. What upsets him, he said, was not U of L’s decision to fire him, but the way it was done, and implications of wrongdoing he blames on the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ”because they had all the wiretaps saying I was totally innocent.”   

U of L, he said, should face no further repercussions from the Bowen case.
“I don’t know what Louisville is guilty of,” he said. “They fired everybody right away. In my estimation, Louisville did nothing wrong, so I don’t know that they will get a notice of allegations (from the NCAA). I think you get a notice of allegations when they feel they have evidence that you’re guilty of something.”
More: Rick Pitino considers coaching Greece toward Olympics: 'That would be really special'
While he awaits resolution of the Bowen case, Pitino is considering an offer to coach the Greek national team as it seeks to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. At 67, his domestic coaching future remains murky.
“I think once the investigations are over, then I’ll be a live free agent,” he said. “But we’ve got to get by that.” 

Rick Pitino says U of L's 2013 banner can be regained — with Andre McGee's help Rick Pitino says U of L's 2013 banner can be regained — with Andre McGee's help Reviewed by Anson Moore on November 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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