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Louisville Board of Trustees Chairman Issues Statement of Support for Rick Pitino

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

If support from the U of L board of trustees was going to play a factor in Rick Pitino's decision on whether or not to return to Louisville, the head coach got a major nudge in the direction of staying in the Derby City Friday night.

"I am deeply convinced that the NCAA findings will clear Rick Pitino of any knowledge of the alleged scandal," board of trustees chairman Dr. Larry Benz said in a statement. "Our genuine hope is that coach Pitino is our coach for as many seasons as he wants. We join our Athletic Director, Tom Jurich, in our complete support of him."

Benz's words come two days after trustee Emily Bingham included Pitino in a statement voicing her concerns about the leadership of U of L President James Ramsey. Pitino responded directly to that criticism on his own Website on Thursday.

Two things are apparent with the release of this statement on the eve of Louisville's final 2015-16 basketball game: 1) There was an intent here to make Pitino know before he heads into the offseason that he will have the complete support of the U of L board if he returns. 2) He also continues, and will continue, to have the complete support of Tom Jurich.