Louisville announces more sanctions for men’s basketball

The University of Louisville has announced additional self-imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program in the wake of an escort's allegations, reducing scholarships for the 2017-19 seasons and restricting official recruiting visits and recruiting opportunities for staff.

The school announced Feb. 5 a postseason ban for the Cardinals after its investigation into allegations a former staffer hired an escort and other dancers to entertain recruits and players determined that violations did occur.

A media release on Wednesday stated Louisville will lose one scholarship in each of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with official visits reduced by one each in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Several investigations are ongoing into Louisville's program, including one by the NCAA. The governing body is expected to interview Louisville coach Rick Pitino this month about Katina Powell's allegations revealed in October.

Louisville coaches also have 30 fewer days to recruit prospects, a 24 percent reduction.

The release said the decision was reached through a "collaborative process" between Louisville President James Ramsey and several investigative committees; Chuck Smrt of The Compliance Group; athletic director Tom Jurich; and Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

University counsel Steve Thompson said in the release that after much deliberation, "the University believes that self-imposing these penalties is appropriate. While the University could elect to wait until the infractions process is complete, those consulted agree that these penalties are consistent with NCAA legislation, and imposing these penalties now is the right thing to do and may advance the University's goal of expediting resolution of this matter."

Louisville's athletic department is also taking additional steps to improve oversight of the program and ensure compliance with NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference rules, the release added.

The school plans no further comment until the conclusion of the NCAA's enforcement process. Ramsey thanked faculty and staff that helped in the decisions and cited Jurich and Pitino in particular in the release. The president said that "their integrity and decisive leadership have served the university well during these challenging times."

Powell alleged in the book "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen" that former staffer Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players' Billy Minardi Hall dormitory.

Powell's book was published by IBJ Book Publishing LLC, a sister company of Indianapolis Business Journal. Investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Dick Cady co-authored the book.

Pitino has denied knowledge of the activities Powell described in the book and said during an interview last month that he saw "nothing unusual" during occasional visits to the dorm. He has vowed not to resign in the wake of the scandal but said he would use part of the offseason to mull his future with the program, as he does after every season.

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