By Mike Ferris
Another college basketball legend is now surrounded by controversy and skepticism.
Rick Pitino is the latest coach to join the scandals that have engulfed college basketball in the last several years.
Pitino has joined SMU’s Larry Brown, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim as great coaches who have found themselves on the hot seat in recent memory.
In recent sports news, it has come out that Pitino’s University of Louisville basketball program has been providing potential recruits with escorts at parties on their visits to the school.
It has been reported by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, that Andre McGee, a former graduate assistant at the university, was paying for the escorts.
The coaches who have preceded Pitino in scandalous behavior range in their violation of NCAA rules, but one characteristic links them all.
Brown was disciplined just a few weeks ago by the NCAA.
This came when it was unveiled that SMU was partaking in academic fraud pertaining to its basketball team.
The discovery by the NCAA was that a former basketball administrator was completing online courses for Keith Frazier to keep him eligible for NCAA participation.
Brown was handed a suspension for part of this year, a postseason ban for this year and was stripped of several scholarships.
Williams was involved in a scandal just in the last couple of years, where it was uncovered that the University of North Carolina was conducting fake classes for members of its basketball team to give them the necessary grades to compete in the NCAA.
North Carolina’s penalties were minor considering the magnitude of this scandal. It received a one-year placement on accreditation probation.
Boeheim was the latest coach to go down prior to this past week. His program at Syracuse University was providing players with stipends for their services in the community.
Boeheim received a penalty that stripped him of scholarships, suspended him for several conference games this year and vacated more than 100 of his wins.
The similarity between all of them is that they all remain coaches at the school they violated rules at and this has to have Pitino smiling.
Pitino isn’t going anywhere, despite ESPN’s Seth Greenberg saying that the coach “can’t survive” the allegations.
This isn’t Pitino’s first run in with controversy.
A Bleacher Report article states that “it was spring 2009 when the public learned of Pitino’s affair with a woman who later tried to extort him after he paid for her abortion.”
Pitino survived that scandal and has come out in the past few days stating that he will not be leaving Louisville after this development.
If Pitino doesn’t leave on his own, he sure isn’t going to get fired.
The other three coaches have proven that there is a problem with scandals in college basketball, winning cures everything.
Between Boeheim, Brown and Williams, the three coaches have combined for 1,849 wins and four national championships.
Pitino himself has 722 wins and two national championships and for that reason, he’ll move past this scandal relatively unscathed.
The NCAA is setting a precedent, winning tops moral obligations and the best way to recruit is to do it illegally.