Sports Take: NCAA sets tone in vacating Louisville’s championship

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

The FBI investigation that rocked college basketball prior to the start of the 2017-2018 season has much more coming, according to Yahoo Sports, but the NCAA may have given a glimpse of what is to come on Tuesday morning.

The NCAA ruled that the Louisville men’s basketball program must vacate all of its wins from 2012 to 2015, including two Final Fours and a national championship in 2013, as a result of an investigation into the use of prostitutes and strippers to lure recruits to the program.

The school will vacate a total of 123 wins and pay fines totaling $600,000 after their appeal to the NCAA Infractions Committee, a process that began in June of last year, was rejected.

This investigation had nothing to do with Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino’s firing in October of last year. That was due to a report by the FBI that stated an Adidas executive, in cahoots with Pitino, agreed to pay a recruit’s family $100,000 in exchange for attending Louisville.

According to a report by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, the ball could drop on the FBI Investigation as soon as the current season ends, and the ramifications could be catastrophic for the sport.

“When this all comes out, Hall of Fame coaches should be scared,” a source told Thamel. “Lottery picks won’t be eligible to play and almost half of the 16 teams the NCAA showed on its initial NCAA tournament show this weekend should worry about their appearance being vacated.”

Despite a number of scandals in college basketball’s history, Louisville’s championship is the first ever to be vacated, showing us that the NCAA won’t play it soft moving forward.

If Thamel’s source is correct, the NCAA could be looking at many more upper-tier programs to investigate and sanction, and the precedent they set with Louisville will be important moving forward.

The Committee on Infractions stated in a release the that the penalties were “serious, intentional and numerous,” resulting in the vacating of wins from four years of play.

In order to stay consistent, if the FBI finds that multiple schools paid for players in recent years, we could see banners coming down and wins being erased from the history book, as acts like these would likely classify as serious and intentional.

Moreover, these changes would likely be permanent, as the NCAA played hard ball in Louisville’s case.

Louisville Interim athletic director Vincent Tyra said the Cardinals will have to face the facts after losing their appeal, since he believes another appeal would go nowhere.

“Honestly, I think it would be a difficult case,” Tyra told the Washington Post. “I would personally probably not be in favor of it at this point. I think the value of trying to beat the NCAA on guidelines is difficult. And I think there’s not a lot of precedent for that happening.”

While all of the FBI investigations are pending and we aren’t sure if any will actually come to fruition, the precedent set by the NCAA in Louisville’s case could make for an interesting future for college basketball scandals.