Bozich: Damage to Louisville is Irreparable, It’s Time to Rebuild the Brand

Rick Bozich believes it’s time for major change at the University of Louisville. Bozich says it’s time to rebuild the brand at UofL instead of trying win an appeal against the NCAA.

In Bozich’s words, the damage here is irreparable.

Check out his thoughts:

Louisville officials were defiant. They said the NCAA ruling was overkill. They vowed to appeal. Good luck. A closer read of the infractions report makes an appeal seem like a longer shot than the double-digit comeback in the NCAA title game or the 16-point first half deficit against Syracuse in the Big East Tournament championship. Yes, Louisville overcame both of those in 2013. But the NCAA vacated both with a single ruling Thursday morning, and this comeback will have to happen in overtime.

No. The deal is done. The verdict is in. Today, the brand of U of L basketball is strippers and hookers. It’s time to rebuild the brand, and that brand won’t be rebuilt by some appeals process, no matter the outcome. The luster is not going to be restored to that Shining Moment. The damage here is irreparable.

To boil all this down to a simple statement, we stand here: For four years, a member of Louisville’s staff foisted a bunch of prostitutes on recruits and players; the head coach didn’t know about it; the NCAA is ticked off and, precedent be damned, this will not stand.

The NCAA on Thursday ordered U of L to vacate its 2013 NCAA championship, its 2012 Final Four, some 123 victories from 2010 to 2014, including 15 in the NCAA Tournament, that were earned with players deemed to have been ineligible. The NCAA also suspended coach Rick Pitino for the first five ACC games of the coming season. It docked the program four more scholarships over the next four years. And it ordered the school to repay any NCAA Tournament money it received from the 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’15 tournaments through conference revenue sharing.

Under the order to vacate, U of L must return all trophies, remove all public references to the championship, haul down that huge section of the Georgia Dome court from the KFC Yum! Center, wipe all statistics from the books, amend Pitino’s coaching record and strike any ineligible players’ statistics from the record.

If it stands, it will be the harshest penalty handed to a big-time men’s basketball program in modern NCAA history. And all because Andre McGee decided hookers were a better gift than noise-canceling headphones or even sex-free trips to strip clubs (see Miami 2013 and Alabama 2012 infractions reports, wherein penalties weren’t enhanced just because strippers were involved).

The NCAA wanted to send a message. Frankly, when you read the details of some of these recruiting trips in the infractions report, I can’t say that I blame them. Carol Cartwright, a current member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the chief hearing officer for the committee on infractions in this case, called the activities she heard about in this case “repugnant.”

I’m not the president of U of L. Fortunately for Louisville fans, I never will be.

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