Mens basketball

Louisville places two assistants on leave

Louisville has placed two assistant coaches on leave amid the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball as the university continued its investigation into NCAA violations involving paying a recruit.

The suspensions leave the program with only acting head coach David Padgett to lead the Cardinals as practice for the 2017-18 season begins.

The university announced associate head coach Kenny Johnson and assistant coach Jordan Fair were placed on paid administrative leave.

The investigation by the university led to the suspensions and potential firings of head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich after the FBI alleged members of the team's basketball program used money from apparel sponsor Adidas to pay prospective recruits.

"We are in the process of executing our due diligence as it relates to an ongoing investigation and feel that this (is) an appropriate step at this time," Louisville acting athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement about the suspensions of Johnson and Fair. "Our university will continue to fully cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation."

Padgett, 32, was named the Cardinals' interim head coach a week ago. He will rely on his father for guidance in the coming weeks and months, according to ESPN. Pete Padgett, a former standout at Nevada and Division I assistant coach, will be a consultant with the program.

Four assistant college basketball coaches were among those arrested on federal corruption charges on Sept. 26 after they were caught taking bribes to steer NBA-destined players toward certain sports agents and financial advisers. Court papers showed the FBI has been investigating the criminal influence of money on charges and student athletes affiliated with the NCAA since 2015.

The assistant coaches arrested were Chuck Person (Auburn), Tony Bland (USC), Emanuel "Book" Richardson (Arizona) and Lamont Evans (Oklahoma State).

Suspended Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino received 98 percent of the money from the university's current contract with Adidas, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Thursday.

According to the newspaper, Pitino got $1.5 million of the money as part of his personal services agreement with the shoe and apparel firm, with the school getting only $25,000. The prior year, Pitino received $1.5 million and Louisville got $10,000, per the Courier-Journal.

The contract with Adidas expired on July 1. In August, Louisville announced a new 10-year, $160-million deal with the company. ESPN reported that the deal is the sixth largest shoe and apparel deal in college sports.

At the time, athletic director Tom Jurich said the proceeds are "for the athletic department. It's for these student-athletes. It's been earmarked for them."

Since making that statement, Jurich was placed on paid leave after an FBI probe revealed corruption, bribery and fraud involving a number of the top college basketball programs.

An athletic department spokesman defended Jurich and Pitino.

"Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes," Kenny Klein told the Courier-Journal last month before the FBI investigation resulted in suspensions of Jurich and Pitino.

Interim Louisville president Greg Postel said the university is trying to determine if the Adidas money is "tainted" in any way.

The Courier-Journal provided details of the new Adidas contract, which calls for the company to give the Louisville program $79 million in cash over 10 years, as well as shoes and apparel. It is unclear how much of the money under the new deal would go to coaches.


October 6, 2017

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