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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Archer Graham has never been more ready for a weekend. He’s already busted out his finest Homecoming outfit.

—Spread check: Louisville by 21.5.

—Your first chance to support David Padgett and his squad comes tonight at 7 with the Red-White Scrimmage.

—I have been trying to tell everyone for two and a half years that North Carolina basketball was going to skate. Today, North Carolina skated.

—On the same day that the NCAA OK’d 17 years of systematic academic fraud at UNC, it ruled an NC State freshman ineligible because he went to class.

If I’m Kevin Keatts I’m playing Braxton Beverly anyway. Also, if I’m ... whoever winds up being Louisville’s athletic director ... I’m not taking down a damn thing inside the KFC Yum Center.

—Seriously, North Carolina told the NCAA when it was allowed to let the rest of the world know that the Heels were getting off scot free.

—Sean Miller was bombarded with questions he didn’t want to answer during Pac-12 media day. The road ahead may be rough for the Wildcats coach, even though he has the support of the university.

—Joel Berry don’t care.

I’m not even mad at him. If Louisville had skated and Anas had posted something like this, I would have loved it.

—U of L football beat writer Jake Lourim likes Louisville over BC, 34-14.

—This is an awesome idea.

—I went on The Rusty Satellite Show to talk about my book, the radio move, and the current state of things at U of L.

—If your team has already been eliminated from the College Football Playoff (hey, that’s us!), SB Nation serves up six bandwagons worth hopping on. I refuse to even acknowledge three of them.

—Big time match tonight at Lynn Stadium. If North Carolina wins it will be one of the most significant victories of the season. If Louisville wins the NCAA will vacate it.

—Everyone is waiting to see who will flip first in the college basketball world.

—Rick Pitino’s old house in Louisville is up for sale.

—Pat Forde tees off on the NCAA.

That was the news Friday – in arguably its most anticipated ruling ever, the NCAA Committee on Infractions admitted that it is powerless to apply any real penalties to blueblood Carolina after more than 1,000 athletes got bogus grades for sham classes. And it followed the news Wednesday that the NCAA’s response to a massive corruption scandal in college basketball was to form a committee, while federal investigators do the spadework exposing a decades-old system of third parties buying players.

It’s a dirty sport. And the NCAA doesn’t even own a decent broom.

The North Carolina ruling was bound to infuriate people, no matter what the NCAA decided. It was a tricky, contentious case that did not neatly fit the association’s bulky rules manual. The intrigue was whether the COI could find a way around its own bylaw limitations to make a penalty stick, or let the Heels skate on a technicality.

They skated. The ruling was immediately hated. And the NCAA’s impotence can no longer be debated.

“It’s a bad case,” said Tom Yeager, former commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association and a former chair of the COI. “The optics of the academic thing is very bad right on the heels of all this payment [scandal in basketball], which is really bad. Again, to the general public, it’s going to be a one-two punch on the credibility of college athletics. It’s going to be a challenge to help try and restore that credibility, if it’s restorable.”

It may not be. The national outcry accompanying this ruling already is loud and angry – and not just from Joe Fan. A lot of coaches and administrators were watching this case intently. You can almost hear their faith in college athletics leaking.

And the NCAA is the target for a lot of the outrage, because it cannot create a level playing field.

—Trent Johnson has officially signed his contract with Louisville.

—Adidas exec Jim Gatto appeared in court Thursday.

—We had a choice to make ... we chose wrong.

—After 884 consecutive days of audits, the look into the U of L Foundation is finally over. It didn’t feel a day over 870.

—Sonny Vaccaro says shoe companies and universities are to blame for college basketball’s current woes. The irony of the source is not lost on me.

The past week has been a busy one for Sonny Vaccaro. Last Tuesday he was home preparing to visit a family member in his home state of California when, around 6 a.m. he began being bombarded with emails and phone calls about a bit of breaking news that made so many immediately think of him: the arrests of four college basketball assistant coaches and three shoe company executives on bribery and fraud charges. For some five decades Vaccaro has been in touch with reporters, but never has he had a week like the one that followed that news. Just about every day someone has been reaching out to him for his thoughts. He has received calls from people to whom he’s never spoken, and from overseas outlets he’d never imagined would care. He has been reading their coverage too, and has one qualm: Not enough attention has been paid to the root causes of the alleged illicit payments that many feel threaten to bring down, or at least massively disrupt, the sport.

“I don’t think enough of you guys have hit on that,” Vaccaro said by phone this weekend from his home. “They caused it, the universities and shoe companies. They were the start of the whole problem.”

—Brendan McKay is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the New York Penn League.

—John Calipari rarely looks rattled behind the mic. He was rattled on Thursday when he kept getting questions about the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.

This might be a sign of things to come for the sport.

—U of L professor Carol Hanchette will be greatly missed.

—This is an absurd streak.

—The newly-formed “college hoops commission” is well intentioned, but ultimately it won’t change anything.

—U of L soccer’s Tim Kubel is a finalist for the Senior Class Award.

—Evan Daniels sits down with David Padgett in the latest episode of his podcast.

—Jeff Greer gives us five things he’ll be watching for at tonight’s Red-White Scrimmages.

1. How much does Louisville resemble Pitino's style?

It's crazy how long ago this feels, but a little more than two weeks ago, Pitino was preparing a top-10 roster for a promising season, peppering in wrinkles to his frenetic defensive scheme. This group, with six returning players, started to use Pitino's trademark 2-3 matchup zone and pressure defenses more toward the end of the season. (Pitino did say having five — now four — freshmen made it hard to do too much advanced stuff, though.)

So, what kind of basketball does Louisville play Friday night? Padgett said multiple times over the past two weeks that the Cards will still play a familiar style. That makes sense for two reasons: (1) It's the system Padgett learned as an up-and-coming assistant coach, and (2) the players know it.

—Bellarmine basketball will start its season as the No. 6 team in the country according to one poll. A reminder that the Knights will be hosting Mick Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats inside Freedom Hall on Nov. 1. Tickets for that exhibition game are now on sale.

—U of L is still “very appealing” to former commit Courtney Ramey.

—Deion Sanders’ son will be in attendance for Louisville-BC tomorrow.

—Crum’s Revenge has a great read on Quentin Snider over at The Crunch Zone.

This quiet unassuming Ballard High School superstar certainly didn’t sign up for all this, but he has remarkably cast it all aside to focus on getting better and help the team improve just the same. The distractions were just noise in the background. It hasn’t been easy. It is tough to lead even during the best of times. It is far more challenging to lead during the difficult of times. Quentin Snider led his team during arguably the most challenging times in the school’s history. He should be remembered for that.

This year, the Cardinals will start a new season unlike any other in school history. They are loaded with talent, light on coaches and loaded with distractions. Opposing fans will be cruel. Quentin has seen this all before. He has steadied the ship far more times than any player should be asked in his college career.

A quote from Matthew is tattooed on his arm: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He lives his life by this quote. It has helped him during the many transitions he has had to face over the past few years. Go in humble. Work hard. Lead.

Quentin Snider isn’t going to ask for anything from the fans. That’s not his style. But the fans who recognize what he has given to this program under the circumstances he has been dealt should give him the special senior season he deserves.

No doubt.

—Anthony Floyd, perhaps best known as Louisville’s all-time leader in interception and the man who picked off Chris Rix in OT of the Cards’ 2002 win over Florida State, will have his jersey honored on Saturday.

—John Clay over at the Herald-Leader likes the hire of Trent Johnson.

—The FBI has turned up the heat on Oklahoma State.

—You will be seeing this picture a lot for the next five months or so.

—U of L women’s soccer will host Pitt Friday night. Here’s a preview.

—Little known fact: Vince Gilligan based the character of Walter White on Mark Emmert.

The recent news of a federal investigation into fraud in college basketball made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly. Individuals who break the trust on which college sports is based have no place here. While I believe the vast majority of coaches follow the rules, the culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game. We must take decisive action. This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change.

I guess that makes us Tuco.

—The guys over at BC Interruption give some final thoughts and a prediction on tomorrow’s game at PJCS.

—And finally, R&R will start today with acting head coach David Padgett and new assistant coach Trent Johnson. After that it’ll be like two and-a-half hours of angry rants from me about the NCAA and North Carolina and Santiago from Friday Night Lights. Listen here.